"If you don't make it yourself, it isn't fun. It's entertainment."
I apologize to my colleagues and readers, because most film critics, reviewers and cinephiles have been known, at least at one point in his or her life, to call a movie "fun." I certainly am guilty of it somewhere, in some review or blog post or whatever. But I'm here to finally set the record straight, even though David Mamet clearly already informed us via the quote above, which is spoken by his wife, actress Rebecca Pidgeon, in his 2000 film State and Main. A movie can not be fun, it can only be entertaining. That is, if we're merely watching it on the screen and had no involvement in its production. Actually, even if we make a film ourself, watching it afterwards should technically still be considered entertaining rather than fun.
Of course, a movie experience can be fun. I have fun at a lot of movies I attend, but not because of the movie I'm watching. Like in the case of my recent experience with The Strangers, the movie was not what was fun, not even my observance of the audience was officially fun. But for me, the ticket buying, the popcorn eating, the sitting in the dark is all fun. And the movie was entertaining, as was the crowd. I guess that the experience of watching a movie at home or on your iPod can also be fun, but still in any scenario, the actual movie itself is never fun; it's only entertaining.
I bring this up now, because it's the middle of the summer movie season, and as is the case every year, summer blockbusters are called "fun" more than any other kind of movie (usually in the fall, made-for-Oscar movies are considered to be the opposite of fun). Well, this week Hancock seems to be receiving less "funs" than is usual for this sort of movie.
So, if you're looking for actual fun this summer, you may find it at the movie theater, but you're more likely to find it at the amusement park, or while playing sports or doing something more productive. Maybe even go ahead and make your own movie. If you're looking for entertainment, definitely go see one of the summer blockbusters, and don't feel bad about the passiveness of the experience.