Featured DVD Review: Boredom

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Boredom is the latest documentary from director Albert Nerenberg. Albert Nerenberg specializes in making movies about parts of humanity that are truly universal, likely Stupidity. Even the smartest among us have moments when we do something stupid. Or laughter. You could be stuck in a foreign land and not know a word of what people are saying, but you will still recognize when someone is laughing. Or hating Toronto. There are tribes in the Amazon rain forest that have never seen the outside world, but they still hate Toronto and think you are a fool if you think the Maple Leafs will make the playoffs this year. So will this film entertain and educate you? Or will it live down to its name?

The Movie

The movie begins talking about riots in the U.K. where one of the possible explanations for the riots was simple boredom. The first person Albert Nerenberg talks to is Alan Caruba, the director of The Boring Institute. Unfortunately, Alan Caruba isn't a scientist, but works in public relations. One day, he wrote a list of the Ten Most Boring Celebrities, which went viral. Suddenly, he was being asked real and very serious questions about boredom and he had no real experts to talk to.

Fortunately, since the first list was released, there has been more research on the subject of boredom, so Albert Nerenberg has a lot more people to talk to, including psychologists, neuroscientists, education experts, oncologists, and more. The documentary focuses a lot on the health effects of stress as well as what causes boredom and where people are most likely to be bored. (If you guessed people are most bored at school or work, you are correct.)

I'm of two minds on this film. On the one hand... Albert Nerenberg tends to be a little over-dramatic when talking about these subjects. If you don't like his style, it can be a turn off. On the other hand, this is a truly fascinating documentary. We do get some answers to a few of the questions that are asked, but the questions that we don't yet have answers to are just as intriguing. Some of the answers we do have are a little frightening. Being bored increases the level of cortisol in your blood and cortisol has been linked to many, many diseases. Boredom has been linked to addiction. Boredom has been linked to shrinkage of the brain. Boredom has been linked to a lower life expectancy. This is certainly an area that needs more research.

The Extras

Extras on the DVD begin with an accelerated version of the movie that plays 10% faster for those who need more stimulation to get through a documentary. I think is a good example of the sense of humor in the movie. There are also two deleted segments that run a combined six minutes.

The Verdict

Boredom is a fascinating documentary about a subject everyone is familiar with, but even experts don't truly understand. For those interested in the subject, or have enjoyed some of Albert Nerenberg's past films, the DVD is worth picking up.


- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-08-10