Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Was I Hallucinating When I Hated "A Beautiful Mind?"

Okay, here's one more example of my old writings, just cuz, reading over it, I remembered just how much I hated this piece of crap movie. So it's not exactly timely, unless you catch it sometime on TNT. Sorry if you were hoping for a review of Evan Almighty. (Tell you what, here's a quick one for Because I Said So: The wife and I walked out after half an hour, and I would rather eat my own shit than see the rest. With freezer burn, no less.)

Anybody see A Beautiful Mind? I just did. Hoofah.

Best picture, huh? How about best TV movie of the year... on Lifetime... maybe. I read a review of a book about Nash a few years ago, and was gonna pick it up cuz it sounded like it would be fascinating. Judging from this movie, though, you would think he is the world's least interesting schizo. His hallucinations are pedestrian at best, and we know from very near the beginning that they are precisely that, hallucinations. This makes the two fucking hours we watch him talk to them tedious to say the least.

The premise of the movie, as best as I can figure, involves Nash's wish to come up with an absolutely original idea, ironic in that there is not ONE inspired moment in the movie. There isn't the vaguest indication of why he does what he does, why he finds economic theory so consuming, other than the obvious---he's ca-ca coo-coo.

You might begin to believe that, in addition to several key characters, his genius is all in his head as well, as we are never let in on what his eventual breakthrough is. I don't think this is because the filmmakers were afraid the audience would be too stupid to appreciate it so much as the screenwriter was too stupid to convey it. His major credits are, after all, Lost in Space and Batman and Robin, making him the man that killed the Batman franchise (along with, fair enough, Joel Schumacher). He, too, got an Oscar for writing this shit. Reason enough to never bother watching the Oscars again. [2016 add: He is also credited as a co-writer on Larry "Bud" Melman's "Couch Potato Workout" video. So I take it all back.]

The penultimate, allegedly heart-tugging scene involves an act meant to demonstrate Nash's belated and long-desired acceptance by his peers. He reacts by saying, "That was unexpected." In fact, it is the most predictable scene in the flick, telegraphed not twenty minutes in. Spoiler alert: the coveted pen is not even an Erasermate.

Russell Crowe is okay, with his mushy suthin' accent and twitchy mannerisms and... well, that's it. When he flops around on his electro-convulsive therapy gurney, all I could think of was an old music video of his I saw once, where he was earnestly gyrating in a hilarious, apoplectic approximation of Elvis' swagger. His acting in the ECT scene looked exactly like a horizontal version of that video, without the chinos and ducktail.

Jennifer Connelly deserved that Oscar, though--man, she sure can cry! Cry, cry, cry! Like, she can get that one tear to sit right at the edge of her lower eyelid, quivering, until it slides to her lips at just the perfect moment. She can also repeatedly punch a mirror without incurring so much as a scratch on her hand. Good actin'!

Ron Howard hasn't directed better since he popped the clutch and told the world to eat his dust! Just kidding--Eat My Dust! was a hundred times more satisfying than this pic. (Oh wait, he directed Grand Theft Auto. He only starred in EMD! Never mind.) This one looked like it was directed by committee, with the intention of carefully avoiding arousal of any complex emotion. Howard's Grinch had more depth, and that sucked mightily as well.

I swear to you I went in with the expectation of at least seeing a well-crafted movie, not looking to savage it as popular crap. But there it was, pooping up the screen before my very eyes, to what I learned upon exiting was a very receptive and moved audience. I had to wonder, is it me who's seeing unreal and totally implausible things? You guys would tell me, right, if it was just me? Right? Coo-coo! Coo-coo!


Blogger MO'SH said...

I still have avoided that film based on your review. And based on my never watching anything anymore except CSI:Miami.

Thu Jun 28, 10:10:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Brian Kunath said...

It was no hallucination, my friend. There was nothing beautiful about this roasted turkey.

I'm like Shalit to your Ebert!

Thu Jun 28, 10:39:00 AM 2007  

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