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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Movies, Trivia and an Egyptian God?

Serket's Movies: Commentary and Trivia on 444 Movies
By Cory Hamblin
RoseDog Books
ISBN: 978-1-4349-9605-3

Reviewed by Wesley Britton

It’s difficult to pin down the intended audience for this collection of capsule movie reviews. It’s clearly not researchers. I’m not sure it’s film buffs either. In fact, author Cory Hamblin candidly admits he’s not a film expert, “just a guy from a small town who enjoys watching movies.” Admitting his major source is his aunt’s DVD collection, he adds that he’s not interested in films with political messages. “Most Americans from small towns . . . are just looking to have an enjoyable experience at the movies. What we would like to see are more movies with positive portrayals of America, our military, families, men, and God.” Illustrating the informal nature of his reviews, Hamblin states the title of the book draws from his “online moniker”: “Serket is the name of one of the earliest recorded Egyptian kings . . . it has no direct correlation to the contents of the book.”

Hamblin also stated his choice of movies had much to do with the amount of trivia he could find on them, and trivia is really what his book is all about. The “commentary” is about as long as your average Tweet. A case in point is Hamblin’s overview of A Beautiful Mind which reads, in whole:

This is a noteworthy movie based on a true story. Brilliant mathematician
John Nash (Russell Crowe) is on the brink of international acclaim when he becomes entangled in a mysterious conspiracy. Only his devoted wife (Jennifer Connelly) can help him.

I have a bachelor’s degree in economics, and during my last
Semester I took a class on industrial organization. We learned
about game theory and the Nash equilibrium.

The film was inspired by the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-nominated
1998 book by Sylvia Nasar. The scene in the movie in
which mathematics professors ritualistically present pens to Nash
was completely fabricated. No such custom exists. What it symbolizes
is that Nash was accepted and recognized in the mathematics
community. The scene in the movie when Nash thanks his
wife, Alicia, for her continued support during his illness is also
fictional. At the Nobel Prize award ceremony, His Majesty, the king of
Sweden, hands each laureate a diploma, a medal, and a document
confirming the prize amount. The laureates do not give acceptance
speeches. Laureates are each invited to give an hour-long
lecture; however, the Nobel committee did not ask Nash to do so,
due to concerns over his mental health.

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