Unless this article is satirical, which I don't think it is, this is quite frankly the dumbest article I've read all the way through in a farily long time. He's actively wishing for popular movies to be less smart. He also seems to think that a film being intellectual precludes being emotional, which of course, is nonsense.
I'm with smirnoff here. I really don't think this Slate writer is saying he wants movies to be dumber, and I don't think he's saying the intellectual precludes the emotional. He just wants movies that are smart to be emotionally engaging as well - offering heart-felt emotion, rather than the distant, self-aware, ironic kind that's often found in films like Wes Anderson's.
". . . the Coens, David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, Steven Soderbergh, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson—they all fight shy of the kind of direct strike
on an audience's emotions that is usually Hollywood's raison d'etre. They excel at distance, dislocation, anomie, alienation, emotional cauterization, and cosmic melancholy, with a light dusting of irony covering all. Feelinks, not so much."
You seem to be saying, with your Serious Man
example, that movies that are intellectually engaging are necessarily emotionally engaging? I don't think that always follows though it certainly can and often does. Lots of things can be philosophically or intellectually engaging without being emotionally engaging. I think A Serious Man
was one of the smartest, best films of the year last year, but quite honestly, I wasn't very emotionally engaged with the characters, so I get what this writer is saying. I wouldn't necessarily want A Serious Man
to be any different, but I guess, I have found myself wishing that some of the films those directors make could have irony, alienation, emotional cauterization, and
more direct feeling, too.