Contradicting Popular Opinion
An Enquiry Concerning Why Your Favorite Movie Sucks: A Beautiful Mind Edition
Intro has nothing to do with the movie in question today. Deal.
Went to the lovely Cascade Drive-in Friday for the double feature of Transporter 2 and Red Eye. If I gave reviews here, and I don’t, I would give them about a 3 and about a 6 respectively.
Transporter 2 is an incredibly silly movie that will actually lower IQs. It contains horrible dialogue, cartoonish violence, a complete misunderstanding of everything science, fight scenes edited into epilepsy, characters too cliche for an Arnold movie, and the goofiest, most unwatchable movie climax in recent memory.
Red Eye suffered from a clunky script and a certain lack of menace, BUT it earns points from me in a couple of ways. First, it is a step in the right direction for Wes Craven after Cursed. Second, Brian Cox. Third, its violence has consequences. Every act of violence in Red Eye matters. When a head butt is thrown, the attacker bleeds too. When a person is stabbed, they get hurt. When a person gets shot, they suffer and bleed. The movie is not happy about the violence. It isn’t for show.
That’s all I have to say about that. Let’s get on with the show.
A Beautiful Mind
I hate this movie. I remember hating this movie. I first saw A Beautiful Mind outdoors in a big group. Didn’t pay it much mind. Every time I bothered to pay attention I was treated to bland shots of idiot man-child Russell Crowe muttering to himself for a couple of minutes. Then the shot would dissolve to a slightly closer shot of Russell Crowe muttering to himself. Then some nonsense about love was spouted. Then mercifully it ended.
In the interest of fairness, I rented the movie for the purposes of this column. I mean, after all, the damned thing did win several Academy Awards, including best picture. It beat out fellow nominees, uh, f*ck, a bunch of movies I never bothered to see, the first Lord of the Rings, and the obnoxious remake of Moulin Rouge.
A friend of mine bought me the biography A Beautiful Mind some years back. I believe she said something along the lines of, “This is because I know you like movies, and I know you like math.” I knew full well what she meant to say was, “This is because I saw a lot of these books at the store and they were cheap.”
Oh well, I have a handy dandy notebook with which to play the game of Bio-Pic Fact Checker! You know, just in case the damn film bores me out of my skull.
The experience doesn’t start well. We get one of those annoying scores where a lady sing “ah oooh” and the like in front of a bunch of orchestra music. The title card hasn’t come up and I’m already annoyed. But come on, we’re giving this thing a chance.
All right, we’re at Princeton, and we see a mid-thirties Crowe playing a teenaged John Nash. Knock it off, Kennedy we’re giving this movie a chance! Suspend disbelief for a second!
Okay, we’re outside now. Hey, it’s the kids from Dazed and Confused and the guy from “Monk.” Good, we’re back on track. Hey wait a second! The trees have shadows on the ground, but their leaves don’t! They CGIed leaves onto the trees! What! They seriously CGIed winter trees to look like the trees of September? What the f*ck?!
We’re going to give this movie a chance! Suspension of disbelief in 5,4,3,2,1-
Hey they are playing that weird ass game like in Pi . Decent flick. I could be watching that instead. What do you think? It had maybe 1/100 of the budget of this movie? I’m thinking 1/1000.
A Beautiful Mind proving to be so lame. It’s full of this crappy pseudo-intellectual dialogue. Nash is arrogant and seems only interested in recognition. Plus, his accent seems to go in and out. Character flaws make main character unlikeable instead of intriguing. hmmmf…
Yada yada yada, Alex from “Taxi” likes his paper on game theory, blah blah blah. Nash becomes a professor. He breaks a code for the Pentagon by means of glowy CGI and more muttering. Okay we see Ed Harris. I like Ed Harris.
Wait a second movie? What do you mean Nash has no friends or family? In reality at this point his parents are still alive. He has a sister. In movie-land he has his surrounded by his college buddies Sol and Bender. Plus he has his best-friend/ old roommate, Charlie the figment.
Okay, and Ed Harris injects him with a radioactive digital watch. So at this point he’s obviously delusional. I mean, this is the problem with it being a biopic. We know that this technology is pretty goofy anachronism and his super-secret hush hush mission doesn’t really make any sense within the context of history.
He’s looking for patterns that aren’t there, and he’s going to find them. (Turn me on deadman!) But we dwell on this for too long without the movie questioning his sanity. Meanwhile by the time he is dragged into the nuthouse, we can pretty much reverse engineer that his roommate and the roommate’s niece aren’t real. They have never interacted with anybody but Nash, they haven’t aged or changed. Fight Club kinda put us all on the lookout for this sort of thing, right?
I mean we should really have some fun with the crazy man. Why treat the delusions with so much plausibility? It’s not really shocking that Nash is crazy. The covert ops missions and Ed Harris stuff is far too cheesy and silly to be “real.” You’re already crazy, have some crazy fun. C’mon, in reality, Nash turned down a position at my beloved U of C. As his reasoning he wrote that he was too busy as the emperor of Antarctica.
Can’t he kick some penguins or fight some ninjas or do something awesome by now?
Anyway, Nash meets and marries Alicia as portrayed by Jennifer Connelly. Wait, Nash’s wife is from San Salvador. What the f*ck? Selma Hayak and JLO must’ve been busy I guess. I mean there aren’t any other Latina actresses right?
Let’s be fair though. Real Alicia is described as having pale skin, dark eyes and short dark hair. Connelly is sort of like that I guess…
Movie Nash is marrying her in 1954. But in real life they married in ’57. Why would the movie change that? That seems silly. Wait a second, Nash already had a son by the time he married Alicia. The movie treats him like he’s a virgin. Gah! Knock that off movie!
Hey, he had homosexual encounters too!
Oh I see. They took the gay stuff out of the movie because they didn’t want to imply that homosexuality was correlated to schizophrenia.
Wait what? Real-life Nash often made some antisemitic comments, referring to colleagues as “Jewboy”and referencing Krypto-Zionist conspiracies. I guess those were taken out to avoid correlating antisemitism to schizophrenia.
All right, nuthouse time. Nash is getting his insulin coma therapy. Hey this really happened! Good work movie! Real-life Nash describes the experience as being hell. Of course the movie feels the need to exaggerate here. Nash received the treatments 5 times a week for 6 weeks. The movie, for some reason, ups it to 10 weeks. Weird. Movie, I thought I told you to knock that shit off.
The film also shows insulin as instantaneously creating horribly violent convulsions. As a diabetic I find this baffling. Mild shaking, trembling, can occur in cases of insulin shock, but nothing quite like that. The treatment pretty much would result in a numbness, usually in the lips and extremities, a sensation of heaviness, followed by a period of paralysis. It would also be terribly uncomfortable to come back to one’s senses. The movie however treats it as if it were shock treatment.
(In all fairness, violent convulsions can occur when one is deep into an insulin coma, but it would take a long time for the insulin to lower the blood sugar to a comatose level, particularly with the quality of insulin in the 1950s.
Normally with this treatment the patient is free to wander around his or her room, gradually growing more delirious from insulin shock. After the low blood sugar coma occurs, a nurse administers glucose to the patient via nose tube or injection.)
Shock Corridor, now that is a cool movie. I could be watching that instead.
Which one was Sol and which one was Bender again? I wonder what happens to those guys? God this script is so lame. Who talks like that? Who wrote this crap?
Akiva Goldsman,eh? Akiva even won an Oscar for the writing. Gosh, that’s sad. Akiva Goldsman, Akiva Goldsman, where have I heard that name before?
Oh… My… God…
Akiva Goldsman wrote Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. The person that wrote Batman and Robin has an Oscar. An Oscar for writing. An Oscar for writing movies.
My world makes less sense… Maybe there are some redeeming scripts on the resume. Practical Magic, Lost in Space, I, Robot, The Client?! Get out of my tape player DEMON VHS TAPE!!!
Okay, need a break for this movie. Let’s remember the good times that, this film’s director, Ron Howard has given us. “Arrested Development” is pretty funny. “Happy Days” and “Andy Griffith” are part of my childhood.
Of course, there is that big old How the Grinch Stole Christmas thing staring me straight in the face. God, what a f*cking turd that was. Ugh, and Ransom that movie irks the shit out of me. The Paper is just boring. Backdraft is pretty much just a silly movie.
Then there is Willow. Damn you OPIE!!
Hours pass. Must finish this movie. Must get my $2 worth or else Hollywood Video wins…
Okay back on track, just keep watching, watching, watching.
Nash’s crazy pills make him impotent. Of course, we’ve never really seen them be passionate before, but well whatever. The movie picks up its pace and plows through thirty years worth of Nash’s remission.
As the years pass, Nash’s accent gradually grows thicker, and Jennifer Connelly looks vaguely more Hispanic. So it goes. Apparently love was the answer.
The movie ends by destroying the last bit of goodwill it has from me. How does it manage this thing? Well, during Nash’s Nobel prize speech, the camera pulls back. We see that the podium reads Alfred Nobles instead of Alfred Nobel.
Fuck you movie.
What to Watch Instead
Let’s see. I don’t really like any Russell Crowe movies (TheQuick and the Dead has its moments). Can’t really recommend any Ron Howard movies either.
Biopics usually annoy me too. They are either grossly inaccurate or glorify the person in question or try to shove 50 years time into one movie.
Raging Bull, Goodfellas are the only great biopics I can think of at the moment. Citizen Kane is a pseudo-biopic of Hearst, so we’ll say that one too.
As for crazy-people movies, I’m gonna go ahead and say Spider.
Oh and hey, Charlton Heston plays a Mexican in Touch of Evil. Noir fun!