One of the more significant takeaways from Truman Capote‘s “In Cold Blood” was a belief or theory that on their own, neither Perry Smith nor Dick Hickock would have killed the Clutter family in November 1959; but together they formed a combustible third personality. They goaded each other into a homicidal frame of mind.

By the same token I think that the popularity of bad, coarse or synthetic high-impact films happens due to groups of under-25s choosing to see them because the films are reductive and lowball and crowd-friendly and can be more readily “enjoyed” by a group of three or four than smarter or more subtle or serious-minded films, which are primarily made for and aimed at semi-thoughtful individuals or couples.

On their own Beavis or Butthead might not be all that interested in seeing The Immortals or Jack and Jill; but as a moviegoing wolf pack they form a more primitive third personality that prefers to see something that, yes, might be ludicrously awful but which they can at least have fun reacting to, going “tee-hee-hee” together and snorting between sips of Coke and so forth.

So it’s not really under-25 viewers on a personality-by-personality basis who have idiot taste buds but groups of under-25s — that’s the thing. A smart film like Moneyball will play well with singles and couples, but not so much to young wildebeest herds.