Thursday, August 4, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks-Math in Movies


I hate math! I don’t just dislike it...I hate it and it showed in my grades which were usually a straight D average. Funny, when you know I am a Credit Counsellor but budgeting is just adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying...there are no bloody fractions, integers, calculus, trigonometry, algebra or any triangles or trains going to Chicago. Wandering through the Shelves picked a unique theme this week and, to be honest, I was stumped at first and then my first pick came into my head followed by a ton more. I’m not trying to imitate anyone else and will only comment on their beautiful mind rather than the hidden figures each one wishes we had. Here are my 3...


Being a Jimmy Stewart fan, it’s little wonder I would pick this cute comedy where James Stewart plays a poet professor who has a son with a gift for math. His kid can figure out the equation before the computer can. The only thing the boy wants to do is meet Brigitte Bardot...yup the nerdy mathematical kid has the lusts for Brigitte. We also see how he helps other people win bets at the track etc... it’s not the best Stewart comedy but it’s sweet and it stars Bill Mumy just before he he got Lost in Space.


Finally, Robin Williams won an Oscar for his role as the psychiatrist who helps a nasty little shit see the light played by a young Matt Damon. Matt Damon is a janitor at MIT who solves this very difficult math equation which alerts a Math prof. To the talent of this young janitor. This kid has a major chip on his shoulder but with the help of his best friend, played by Ben Affleck and his girlfriend, Minnie Driver ( who started going out with Matt before being unceremoniously dumped by him), he begins to see that he should not throw his gift away. He gets the help from the psychologist, played by Williams, and becoming friends in the process. Damon and Affleck wrote the screenplay and won the Oscar for this. Williams is excellent in this but I still feel he should have won for the Fisher King.


A young Jake Gyllenhaal plays the son of miner Chris Cooper who has aspirations of leaving the dusty mines and finding a life outside of black lung disease. It is set in 1957, when a group of kids decide to build and fly a rocket after being inspired by Sputnik. Jake plays the real life Homer Hickam who wants to find a better life but finds a huge barrier, named his dad, who thinks his kid is wasting his time and should work in the mines. Only their high school teacher believes in what these small group of kids want to do. It is quite a good movie that should be better known. 

Which movies can you think of that involves math?


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    Heck, dear friend, it doesn't matter to me that you aren't a champion mathlete. I was interested in figures on the ladies, but when it came to arithmetic, I wasn't the sharpest crayon either. In fact, the dunce cap was an essential part of my daily school uniform. What? You say you maintained a straight D average? Lucky you! I only dreamed of grades that high! :) Yet, get this. My best friend and I used to take our slide rules and books to the Shady Dell at night, sit at a table in the restaurant section and pretend to be doing complex math problems, hoping to attract girls who favored smart boys. The scheme was a great big fail. No takers. It's a good thing too because, as a poser and pretender, I never would have been able to work out a problem if a curious girl had asked me to.

    I love Jimmy Stewart films, but somehow missed Dear Brigitte. It's a hoot to see Billy Mumy as a brainiac kid Lost in Brigitte's Bosom and crushing on the iconic French sexpot. I want to see this movie!

    In the late 90s, I watched Good Will Hunting with Mrs. Shady. I always liked Robin Wms. more when he took serious roles like the one of the psychologist. His zany, "always on" shtick got old after a while. I also admired Minnie.

    Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal are an awesome pair of acting sibs, and I am interested in all of their movies. I need to see October Sky because the theme is a great one, I admire Laura Dern and I am particularly fond of period films of the 1950s.

    I'm sure others will name Hidden Figures and A Beautiful Mind If the judges will allow, I would also like to mention NUMB3RS, the crime drama TV series of the 2000s. Mrs. Shady and I watched it regularly and I was enthralled by Navi Rawat as Amita.

    I've been missing you at Shady's Place, dear friend BB. It's not the same w/o your comment. I know you are busy and I hope you will visit soon. I value your friendship and support. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend!

  2. I love math! Does that make me a geek?
    Anyway, Hidden Figures and The Imitation Game come to mind, as does NUMB3RS.
    Yeah, geek.

  3. Birgit,

    October Sky (book title The Rocket Boys) was written by Homer Hickam from southern WV not too far from where I grew up. The movie was shot just north west of Knoxville and the film debated here in town. It was a fun movie and I actually read the book. :)

    Incidentally, I hated math when I was in school and am still not a fan of numbers unless I see a lot of them in my bank account. :D

  4. Elizabeth asked me to pass on this info: Bleubeard and Elizabeth are still unable to access her computer but want you to know they are not avoiding you and will visit once they are back online.

  5. I know the last two well - good picks.
    First one that came to my mind was Hidden Figures.

  6. Oh I can sympathise with you, could never do math either, I hate numbers and have a real block with them, comes with being belted three time a week for not being able to do mental arithmetic. I can add, subtract, multiply and subtract, but don't ask me about percentages or fractions.
    I'm afraid I've never seen any of these films. I have seen Enigma though, and that was all about numbers... I think. Hope all's well with you, Kate x

  7. Hidden Figures. I loved, loved, loved it.
    Have a great, pain free day.

  8. A Beautiful Mind was the first movie that came to mind for me. Moneyball also rates an obligatory mention given my passion for baseball. The game has been driven as of late by an analytics movement and this movie illustrates the conflicts between old school and new school.

  9. I have seen all three of those. Yes, even the first one. Since you already alluded to the ones that first came to mind, I'll add in Stand By Me. AP Calculus for the win.

    I love math. I was thisclose to getting a math minor in college (but I would have had to take one more semester--in the end not worth it). I mean, the BS in physics is enough for my geek cred I would think.

  10. Good Will Hunting is a phenomenal movie that came to mind for me too.
    Be well, friend.

  11. Oh I LOVE Dear Brigitte!!! You're right it's such a sweet little comedy, hardly earth shaking but so good-natured and loaded with wonderful actors it's irresistible. Love Glynis Johns as Jimmy's level-headed, incredibly patient and long suffering wife, love that the kids names are Erasmus and Pandora (though why they call her Panny rather than Dory I'll never understand!), love John Williams as the very proper conman, love that they capture Bardot at the peak of her beauty in her adorable cameo and even though he wasn't much of an actor (or singer honestly) I love Fabian in this period of his career.
    Jimmy of course could have played this part in his sleep but he still makes a good job of it. And Bill Mumy is endearing as the easy going Raz who has a yen for Brigitte.

    I also adore October Sky. But where Dear Brigitte is gentle and dear October Sky is smart, involving and for the most part gripping. Jake is strong in his first big part and he carries the picture well but without all the quality surrounding him the film would be so much less. Chris Cooper is brilliant as the father and the film just conveys such a spirit of American can-doism it just sweeps you along. \

    I like Good Will Hunting but nowhere near as much as the other two. I enjoyed it in the theatre and have seen bits and pieces on and off through the years but never return to it the way I do to Jake and Jimmy's films.

    This one is a challenge. I did think of Hidden Figures right off. I remember going to see it in the theatre with low expectations since I didn't really know much about it but was so pleasantly surprised by how involving and fascinating the film was. Then I ran into a wall. I do recall that obscure gambling movie where some MIT students became card counters under Kevin Spacey's tutelage so some such's been years so my memory is foggy. I suppose my third would be Little Man Tate. Again it's been some time and I know the boy was an all-around genius but if I'm remembering right he was especially strong in math.

  12. I've seen your last two picks and they are good ones.

    Films where math was involved that came to my mind were Proof (2005), A Beautiful Mind (2001), and Pi (a 1998 film that really made me think).

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  13. I also hate math! Was never my strong subject.

  14. Thanks everyone for your great comments. Hidden Figures is popular for this week as well as Good Will Hunting, A Beautiful Mind, and Moneyball to some extent. I am glad you like my picks. I bow my head to the math geeks out there:))

  15. I like Maths, not because I love Maths, but because it was the subject that I could score well.

  16. Oh, I completely forgot about the existence of October Sky!