This is what I call fashionably late. It's still Thursday, and this is another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, but it's about twenty-three hours after I would normally post for this weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Wanderer of Wandering Through the Shelves. The topic she has chosen for us this week is movies depicting a prodigy, or genius. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. After all, I is highly edumahcated. Um...yeah...let's just get to the movies.
Searching for Bobby Fischer
(1993)Josh Waitzkin (Max Pomeranc) is a little boy with a big talent for chess. He wants be a champion like his idol, the legendary Bobby Fischer. His parents do their best to help him achieve his dream. What he didn't realize is how much pressure comes with such great ability. It's based on a true story, and is a wonderful tale, wonderfully told. The cast is excellent, too, and includes the likes of Joan Allen, Ben Kingsley, Dan Hedaya, and William H. Macy. Oh, almost forgot, Laurence Fishburne plays a mentor, of sorts, for our hero, a guy who hustles chess games in the park.
Akeelah and the Bee
(2006)Some kids are chess geniuses, others are spelling whizzes. One such prodigy is Akeelah (Keke Palmer). She appears to be just a regular kid in South Central, Los Angeles. She gets bitten by the spelling bug and becomes determined to win the National Spelling Bee. Of course, this doesn't always sit well with her pragmatic mother (Angela Bassett) who wants Akeelah to concentrate on the rest of her schooling. Laurence Fishburne plays a mentor, of sorts, for our hero, an English professor who decides to coach her.
(2008)Some kids are chess geniuses, some spelling whizzes, others are flat out mathematicians. That's the case with Ben Campbell and a roomful of his friends. Unlike the other folks in this post, they decide to use their powers for evil...depending on your point of view. Campbell and company take their skills to Las Vegas and promptly rip off the casinos with a massive card-counting scheme. Like the first movie, this is based on a true story. White-washing aside (most of the people involved were of Asian-American descent, yet most of the cast is white), it's a film better than often given credit for thanks, in no small part, to Kevin Spacey's performance. Oh, almost forgot, Laurence Fishburne plays a mentor, of sorts, for our heroes...wait, that's not quite right. Fishburne is most certainly in the movie, but he's no mentor. He's a casino security chief desperate to shut down our heroes.