Let's assume that by "art" we're talking about the stuff that hangs on the walls in galleries and museums (or else we'll get tangled in a semantic quagmire over whether the craft and/or commerce of cinema might aspire to such a description). Putting aside the obvious disparities in the amount of attention most exhibitions receive relative to the opening weekend buzz of, say, Catwoman, we're left with the essential differences in the delivery systems.
Movies get talked about the way they do because they are, whether their makers live their whole lives without ever suspecting what I'm about to reveal, dreams made public. Want to fly? Seduce an exquisitely beautiful member of the opposite (or, if you prefer, same) sex? Climb Everest, steal the Crown Jewels, save the world, travel to the far side of the galaxy? Movies are the medium which most closely resemble what goes on each and every night in our exotic, erotic, tell-me-a-story subconscious. And by being ubiquitous, by thrusting onto 4,000 screens all at once, these market-tested collective dreams inevitably command our attention.
A painting, by contrast, is less a dream than a snapshot of a dream. With the proper application of understanding and receptive emotion, it's certainly possible to experience a suspension of disbelief that will trigger all the desired responses. But, bluntly put, art takes more work. You'd have to be a cheeseball not to be immediately knocked out of your socks when confronted with van Gogh's Starry Night, or Munch's The Sick Child. But those are the exceptions that prove the rule. Movies are the ultimate trance induction. Art—well, you've got to stand up, and you've got to apply your will. It's so much simpler to slouch in the dark, sated with salt and sugar, and let the enormous images and Dolby sound pull you in, deeper, deeper.
—John Boonstra, Film Critic at the New Haven Advocate