Comfortable and Furious

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind is based on the life of Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash. Opie (Ron Howard) directed it. Russell Crowe starred as the title character. The supporting cast was basically A-list folks (Although I don’t know what list Adam Goldberg belongs on) and it won some Oscars – including Best Picture. However, screen writer Akiva Goldsman left out a few things. See, both in the movie and real life, John Nash is a delusional schizophrenic. In the movie though, his schizophrenia was limited to seeing three people. A made-up best friend and roommate, said friend’s little niece and Ed Harris. However, just doing a simple little search on good old Google revealed this:

During his decades-long struggle with schizophrenia, Nash had paranoid delusions in which he saw himself threatened by Jews and the State of Israel. He also claimed to be an Arab refugee, Job, the left foot of God and the emperor of Antarctica.

In other words, Hollywood put its kid gloves on and told a more sanitized version of John Nash’s story. Is this important to the overall success of the film? All I’m saying is that it would have been real funny to watch Crowe manically shout things like, “These differential equations are meaningless when these Zionist bloodsuckers are controlling math!” Or if he had shouted, “You fucking kikes will never get the secrets of my Antarctic army or variable calculus!” Wouldn’t that have been funny? My father was a research psychologist who wrote his thesis on “Electro-Dermal Response In Latent Delusional Schizophrenics.” That’s right, shock therapy. So, I know a little more than your average Joe about the disease. It is never as pretty and as easy to overcome as depicted in this movie. Also, John Nash must have one of the mildest cases of schizophrenia possible.

And what of the actual movie? It was fine. Howard makes good, solid films celebrating our American way of life and A Beautiful Mind fits nicely into his portfolio. Russell Crowe is a great actor and with the exception of L.A. Confidential, this is his best performance. Much more Oscar-worthy than Gladiator. I still maintain that Crowe’s best picture nod was actually latent guilt about not giving him the award for Bud White or his performance in The Insider. Jennifer Connelly is as good as the script allows her to be. She’s interesting and alluring in the beginning, boring and predictable at the end.

As fate would have it, I wound up watching A Beautiful Mind the same day I re-watched Sexy Beast. You want to know something? Sexy Beast is a much better movie. Further proof that Hollywood supports its own. The Oscars are a farce. Sexy Beast wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture. Only Ben Kingsley was nominated, and he lost. Out of the actual nominees for Best Picture, both In The Bedroom and Gosford Park were better and more deserving movies.

Apparently John Nash is really important as far as academics go. His economic theories have influenced everything. They gave him a Nobel Prize. Of course, as my father used to say, Jews are less than one percent of the world’s population, yet they make up one-third of the Nobel Prize winners for math and science. And if wasn’t for Swedish anti-Semitism, it would be half. Great movies make up one-third of all Oscar winners. And if it wasn’t for Hollywood idiocy, back scratching and laziness it might be half. Let’s call a spade a spade; A Beautiful Mind is good, but it surely ain’t great.

Ruthless Ratings

  • Overall: 6
  • Direction: 6
  • Acting: 8 (Crowe is a 10, the rest of cast is a 6)
  • Story: 6
  • DVD Extras: Who cares?
  • Re-watchability: 5

Special Ruthless Ratings

  • Number of times the oppressive soundtrack made you reach for your knife: 100 – A Beautiful Mind has one of the most disgusting, self-congratulatory and over bearing scores inn recent history. Apparently, every scene in the film is epic. On par with Road To Perdition in terms of shear heavy handed-ness.
  • Number of times the idealized version of college life in the fifties made you ill: 47
  • Number of times you thought Russell Crowe did a great job: 34
  • Number of times you realized that Ed Harris is a creep, both on screen and off: 34 (I sat next to him on a plane once…)
  • Number of times you realized that A Beautiful Mind was severely over-rated: 15