Rocket science just isn’t that easy, especially when you think of all that math and potential alien overlord type repercussions. Intelligence becomes a bane for these seven movie geniuses whose gift is also their downfall.


John Nash, “A Beautiful Mind”.

The same mind behind a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences gave John Nash a growing paranoia and hallucinations that would see him hospitalized. A movie genius of the highest order, Nash’s mental gift in “A Beautiful Mind” is a double-edged sword that harms its wielder more than it protects. The scene where Nash gets implanted with a radium diode while an imaginary Parcher looks on shows a battle where illness has conquered reality in his brain.

Wolfgang Mozart, “Amadeus”.

True genius moves people. When watching Salieri look at Mozart’s first drafts of his musical compositions, the sense of encountering magnificence is palpable on screen. Wolfgang’s genius-inspired arrogance was to be his downfall when he enraged the wrong people, thus pushing him into a downward spiral. “Amadeus” is a film that shows the brain of one man reaching the souls of countless others, for better and for worse.

Lazlo Hollyfield, “Real Genius”.

A brilliant man who broke like a toy prize from the dentist, Lazlo Hollyfield ended up in a hidden university basement focused not on saving humanity, but on winning a prize drawing. Intelligence has its boundaries. Once Lazlo got pushed too far beyond the lines, he retreated into a world of unimportance. Watching him pull away in his RV with prizes in tow is disheartening as his mental gifts ended up breaking the man he was.

Lord Voldemort, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”.

Evil genius has a great ring to it, and Voldemort fits that name perfectly. Who else would have the foresight to have their soul scattered in pieces, secured behind layers of traps and secrecy? His genius did spawn the seeds of an arrogance that became the vulnerability some meddling little kids took advantage of, but without them he might’ve ruled the world. Watch his plan to end Harry Potter culminate as Potter gets transported right into Voldemort’s clutches through the clever ruse of a port key.

Doc Brown, “Back to the Future”.

He invented a time machine, but somehow his genius didn’t grasp the rather simple concept of not stealing nuclear materials from Libyan terrorists. Gifted for sure, Brown’s intelligence covered up a common sense blind spot that gave the rest of us an awareness to stay away from overly sensitive groups of people who love violence. Check him out as a willing conductor of lightning at the finale to get a grasp of how dangerous his genius truly is to his own well-being.

Charles Bishop Weyland, “Alien vs Predator”.

Discovering the location of an ancient alien adulthood ritual is pretty damn genius. Going there instead of sitting in a comfy living room on another continent is the definite downfall of Weyland’s genius driving him to see what he has found. Even his death scene was a matter of intelligence, as he quickly figured out how to get a Predator’s attention via a homemade flamethrower.

Danny Greene, “Kill the Irishman”.

Greene’s manipulation and anticipation of the obstacles in his way are quite genius. Book smart with little education, Greene rose to be a criminal mastermind by combining his wits with his fists. His preemptive bomb killing of his old friend showcases his logical assessment of a future vulnerability in a violent scene.