Scott Hardie | December 31, 2001
I just watched Russell Crowe earn another Oscar.

Not that I think he deserves to win. His was an excellent performance, but little Haley Joel Osment outshone him this past summer. Russell will get the Oscar, and I'll have to be happy just to see little Haley get nominated, IF that happens.

Why mention the Oscars right up-front when I'm supposed to be talking about A Beautiful Mind? Well, I think they're the only reason this movie exists. (For the record, let's see Jennifer Connolly win a statue. She deserves it.)

It is a good movie. Most of the hype is true. It's not one of the best movies I've seen this year. (By my standards, it's a 2002 movie anyway.) Most of the problem is Ron Howard. He can't stop being Ron Howard. He has to make everything plain and simple, for the simpletons in the audience. It's embarrassing to go to a movie about a genius that treats you like a simpleton. We get the lay-lay-lay-person's version of his mathematical theories, and the same for his paranoid schizophrenia. This movie has a more fictionalized dramatization of paranoid schizophrenia than Fight Club had of multiple personality disorder. Ron Howard has to be so damn literal about everything.

On the bright side, Crowe is indeed damn good. He demonstrates a wide variety of emotions (apparently he is capable of smiling) all consistent with this one man. Ed Harris gets second billing but has little to do. Jennifer Connolly is outstanding. There's a scene in the middle of the night when she vents some stress about their problem, and it seems put in just to get her that Oscar (maybe now I'm the one getting paranoid), but heck, she does deserve it.

The only other thing that's worth mentioning is the script, which is witty and funny, and gives the characters moments of silence to let the actors express things without words. Who would have thought Akiva Goldsman could have written this?

Anyway, I'm rating this a very low "It ruled." Instead of just throwing my shoe at the TV screen when Ron Howard wins Best Director, I think I'll take the time I've got until then to constuct a shoe catapult.

Matthew Preston | December 31, 2001
This is a movie that I would like to see. I am out the door soon to see Ali. It is either this or A Beautiful Mind, but I have a coupon for a free large popcorn at the theater showing Ali. It is however not showing A Beautiful Mind. Okay, here is where I get to complain about Vegas theaters.

There are 4 prominent theaters in the Vegas area. Each has at the very least a dozen screens, some even have eighteen. What really annoys me is that they rarely share movies. Each theater has set aside 4, 5, even 6 of their screens for each new release. Only one of the 4 theaters is showing Ali (4 screens), one is showing Harry Potter (6 screens), one is showing Oceans 11 (6 screens) and I think that two of them are showing Lord of the Rings. At the theater I went too, they had it playing every 15 minutes, so I am guessing at least 6 screens, if not more.

What really peaves me off is that it is so rare to be at a theater that has two good movies to watch. More than half of it is set for one blockbuster and then one screen each for something else small. I can only guess that they are in cahoots with each other, or perhaps law forbids two theaters from showing the same movie within a certain distance. Or maybe it is to cut back on theater hoping, which is damn easy in this town. No one pays attention and the booth to buy tickets is sometimes apart from the theater completely. Ah well.

Scott Hardie | December 31, 2001
I don't think that it's against the law for the theaters to arrange the movies like that. In the two years that I've lived in Macomb, I have never once seen the two theaters in town book the same movie, even on different weekends. It's almost impossible for the four theaters to all be showing different movies like you described without them planning it.

I remember when multiplexes were new. They told the public that the multiplexes could show a wide variety of films, from mainstream films to art films to classic films. Well, what we get is twelve screens divided between 2-3 blockbusters, with the other four screens showing blockbusters from three weeks ago. The lack of variety is not just annoying, it hurts the moviegoing experience. I'd rather be able to choose from six different movies altogether than six different showings of Lord of the Rings. But, they're a business, and they need to make their money.

My advice: Find a small theater that makes an effort to show art films and lesser-known movies. Patronize that whenever possible, even when it shows the blockbusters. And buy lots of popcorn. :-)


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