This is not to frighten you out of your wits. Neither is it meant to challenge your mind. Whatever genius you were born with… [bless you]… if you are the type to hound for more knowledge – even if you would have to kick 90% of your social life to the curb to arrive at the concrete conclusions or answers – your stubborn encephalon keeps on running that you end up being the subject of a scientific experiment in a mental haven.
And that’s when you decide to hit the theaters instead to flaunt your faculty as the mind scavenger that you are.
Movies are to entertain, absolutely! Movies are to make you see or even understand yourself, let’s toast to that! Movies are a wonderful escape from all the hullabaloos in the outside world, thank goodness! Movies are to rivet your mind, even more exciting! But movies to stuff your head with significant information that you might have missed out on your academic quest and spin your consciousness with absolute pleasure? Uh – Yeah! They’ve been around, chasing after you. Admit it, sometimes when you watch a movie, your mind ignores some critical aspects that may be too far-fetched for you to grasp. They may appear complicated. But with diligent attention, you will eventually catch pieces of genius. You may argue, since when have I found the relevance of Mathematics or classic literature in my life when I’m the one responsible for my own destiny to begin with! Perhaps, this list may change your mind. Here are the movies that could make you the smartest star in your circle.
10. Music – Amadeus 1984
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may shock you with his arrogance. Why not? He’s a musical genius after all. Antonio Salieri has composed March of Welcome for Mozart’s arrival. Mozart finds it to be just another mediocre knickknack. And so he imprudently creates his own arrangements. And how does he do it?
The march is in C major. The chords and the melody are ought to be played simultaneously – mostly down to the last bar. Though it’s in andante, the piece can easily bore its audience. Mozart applies the magic touch of arpeggio piano scale technique instead, expanding the entire piece and turning it into an enriching and vibrant sound. Jumping from the middle C to perhaps C3, running the chord notes ruthlessly and ending it with a chilling C in the lowest octave. And that’s just another secret of how to become an effective piano player.
9. Mathematics/Science – Little Man Tate 1991
Keep sinking in your seat as your buddies flip their lids over Math-spark games. Not anymore. You’ve got something to throw in now.
How many minutes are there in 48 years? It’s 25,228,800 minutes, which should be 151,368,000 seconds. What are the factors of 3067? You can’t factor it because it’s a prime number. A prime number, therefore, is always gonna give you a remainder for a quotient [as it is only divisible by 1]. How do you factor? It’s multiplication. Factor a 4 and it’s 2 x 2. So the factors of 4 are 2 and 2.
One more thing, a lepton is a z particle that is smaller than a proton and an electron. And they gawk at you, ‘What are you some, some kind of a wizard now?’ It’s your turn to roll in the aisles, ‘Huh! I’ve just watched a little movie and kind of unearthed a little on the side on my own.’ And you may actually just win the night. Thanks to Little Man Tate.
8. Literature – Finding Forrester 2000
William Forrester [Sean Connery] challenges you with an ironic advice – that the first draft should be written with your heart, a re-write with your head, and that the first key to writing is to write and not to think. Studying literary techniques may feel like a power drill sucking into your brains. This discipline requires a demanding mind expansion. Jamal Wallace strives to understand the underlying meaning of it all as he explores his own voice. Do you think William Forrester is right?
Arguably, yes. Though not thoroughly significant in the film, the portraits of notable authors displayed on the classroom wall are there for a reason. They manifest symbolism of different voices. You have read their works, consumed them with passion, and wished to become like one of them even – but Forrester teaches you that you are in power to create your own literary technique yourself through the voice that gushes out of your heart, and that those portraits are simply other voices that the world has already heard and come to admire. And that’s exactly what Jamal Wallace has done.
7. Mathematics – Good Will Hunting 1997
Dare to chop off a tiny chunk of Will Hunting’s [Matt Damon] genius and bury it in your Mathematics flair? Without a doubt, you can. So stop scratching your head and poking your temples.
In the movie, you see him solving a Math problem with lines and dots. [Let’s just call them lines for edges and dots for vertices]. It’s called homeomorphically irreducible trees. What? Initially, your eyes bulge with complete wonder and you call him a divine whiz. Maybe he is. But upon your deep analysis, you’re surprised to know that it appears to be a riddle after all – or however you perceive it to be with your own endowed kingpin.
You have 10 dots wandering around above your head. Now connect those dots altogether by joining them with lines. Each dot must be linked to only one dot. One line with only two dots on each end. The objective is to make sure that all the dots are attached together by bridging them with lines. No repetitions. And that’s a dash of Will Hunting’s prodigy.
6. Physics – The Theory Of Everything 2014
How did the entire universe come about? Stephen Hawking [Eddie Redmayne] introduces you to Time Singularity. Once upon a time, there was a black hole loaded with gravitational forces. In the middle of it was called singularity. Since it couldn’t contain its heavily condensed components anymore, it exploded and formed into galaxy and everything else found in nature. Such explosion is what you’ve already heard of – the big bang theory. He explains it in a non-linear way and even appalls your basic knowledge in cosmology. He is reversing time with all these elegant mathematical equations! But how would he discover the beginning of time if he wouldn’t do that? Exactly why he wrote the book, The Brief History of Time. And that’s just the basic concept of how the entire universe was born.
5. Economics – A Beautiful Mind 2001
Stop arguing. Yes, John Nash [Russell Crowe] is a Mathematics genius but his amazing theory in Economics is what makes him a worldwide sensation. This theory is used everyday. It is his own concept of governing dynamics.
It happens in a bar scene where a beautiful blonde becomes the key to his breakthrough. He states to his friends that if they all go for the blonde first, then no one gets her. So then if they pursue the blonde’s friends after, they would all just walk away as they already feel insulted for not being the first choice. However, if only they all cooperate and settle for the blonde’s friends instead, then they all win. And this is when the game theory is implied.
What about the blonde now? Tricky, huh? Remember, John Nash’s friend blusters at him that he’d just go for the blonde himself thereafter. So next time you make a crucial decision involving other people that would benefit you more, apply John Nash’s theory.
4. Mathematics – Proof 2005
When your friend swaggers about Math in your face, you can only retaliate with – Uh, are you talking Martian with me? After watching this film and hacking the trick, you will finally have something to rave back.
In a scene where Robert [Anthony Hopkins] and Catherine [Gwyneth Paltrow] mention 1729 as the smallest number expressed by the sum of 2 cubes in 2 different ways such as 12 cube + 1 cube = 1729 and 10 cube + 9 cube = 1729, your anxiety to prove it yourself plagues you.
And you thought it was brutal. It’s only slick multiplications and additions. [1 x 1 x 1 = 1] plus [12 x 12 = 144 x 12 = 1728] So then 1 + 1728 = 1729. [10 x 10 = 100 x 10 = 1000] plus [9 x 9 = 81 x 9 = 729]. And 1000 + 729 = 1729.
Now for the first time in the history of your adult events, you know your cubes.
3. Physics – I.Q. 1994
Do not be fooled by this movie’s genre, as it literally fuses you back to your Physics class – in a falling-in-love kind of way, that is. It’s like a torpedo of chapters, rocketing out of books. Now fuel your brains up with some of its Scientific facts:
Ed [Tim Robbins] suggests you must question everything – which is the basic foundation of discovery. A comet’s tail is actually gas, spitting out 11,000 molecules per centimeter per second. Protons are a lot smaller than light waves. When you fall, it’s 2 feet per second. Everything affects everything in nature. Cold Fusion is only hot air. To become a genius, you must come up with an interesting concept. And what about relativity and time?
Ed provides you with a spellbinding explanation:
Two guys – let’s call them M1 and M2. M1 flies up into space. M2 stays behind. Many years later, M1 comes back to earth, still looking young and strong. M2 is now old. Which one is happier? M1 or M2?
It’s M2. Because he has experienced the beauty of life all through those years.
2. Computer Science – The Imitation Game 2014
Stumped! Help! Christopher – Alan Turing’s [Benedict Cumberbatch] machine – has cracked Enigma. How exactly does he do that?
The machine is a simulation of Enigma’s actions, except that it is built to scale down those scrambling letters. The settings should be determined first, otherwise you can’t adjust Christopher to make him do his job. In this case, it’s the weather report.
Enigma has three rotors. Let’s call them rings made of redundant letters. Notice that Alan turns over the left-ring first. That’s the most critical one of all, as it is wired to the other two rings. Now to decode.
When the left-ring is turned, the other two rings double step it with two notches. The right ring result is then directed to Christopher to decode it by reducing irrelevant letters until the remaining ones form a word that makes sense. Until the entire message is finally revealed.
1. Mathematics – Pi 1998
Max Cohen is a sagacious number theorist who believes that nature is designed with mathematical patterns. Euclid – Max’s computer – is able to predict the stock market results accurately with a 216-digit number. Is it a fluke? Not known in the film. The golden spiral that Max notices around him is dominated with a unity of number dynamics similar to chaos theory – the key to unlock patterns – somehow.
Lenny, the Jewish character, is immersing himself into the Torah [the Holy instructions of being a righteous Jew], hoping to crack the code that is believed to be a message from God. He shows you Gematria – words or phrases in Hebrew consisting of numerical value. Here is when the Fibonacci Sequence clues in. Eg. 55, 89, 144 – Add the two numbers preceding the last one you’ve got in your list and you get the sum [55 + 89 = 144]. What are the numbers before and after 144? The sad thing is, the numbers from 144 will never end, thus creating the spiral.
Perhaps, the most witty theory that you might come up with is this: [Don’t worry about Sol strongly opposing the concept of Numerology] Pi is roughly estimated to be 3.141. Add all the digits up, you get a 9. Meanwhile, when you add 216 together as singular digits, 9 tosses in. 9 symbolizes resolution in Biblical sense and it captures the emerging facade of a spiral. Though it is not revealed in the movie, you may probably have a feeling that the reason why Max gives up on his mission is because he has embraced his spirituality, unifying himself with the number written in his head.