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"A Beautiful Mind" (2001), Biographical Drama Directed and Co-Produced by Ron Howard, Starring Russell Crowe, Academy Award for Best Picture


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I have been blissfully ignorant about "A Beautiful Mind" since its release (it was released at a time when I was too occupied to care about films), and other than that "it was about some smart guy and it starred Russell Crowe," I knew nothing about it - I didn't know it was directed by Ron Howard, and I didn't know it won four Academy Awards in 2001, including Best Picture.

Seventy-five minutes into this movie, I was dismissing it as "Hollywood at its worst," and then I got sucker punched - I had *no idea* that what I had spent the past hour slowly stewing over had been sending me down the wrong path.

And then, I had sixty more minutes to go of "Hollywood at its most typical." I've tended to watch (and write about) movies here that are, in a sense, pure Hollywood, but they also don't take themselves too seriously, and they're essentially cheap escapism; "A Beautiful Mind" acted like it wanted to be Big and Important, and that it tried to Teach me Something, and that annoys me to no end when it doesn't work. In over two hours, I learned two things from this film: John Nash was at Princeton and won a Nobel Prize for Economics, and Insulin Shock Therapy was a modality for treating schizophrenia in the 40s and 50s. That's it.

While I won't come out and say this was a "bad" movie (it wasn't), I am astonished that it won "Best Picture," but then again, why would I be? I agree with the "Best Picture" choices about 20% of the time, and all the Academy Awards are, are a celebration of "Hollywood at its most typical," which is to say, "movies for the masses."

I put "A Beautiful Mind" about where I put "The English Patient" and "Shine." Do I really need to expand on this statement?

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