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5 Things Hollywood Gets Wrong About Smart People

(spray paint tin whooshing) (upbeat rock music) – Welcome to Reckless Disagreement, the only show on the
Internet you can trust. I’m your host, the sexy genius, and I’ve spent the day memorizing poetry because of this scene
from Good Will Hunting. – As a matter of fact I won’t, because Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social– – Wood drastically
underestimates the impact of social distinction
predicated upon wealth, especially inherited wealth. You got that from Vickers, Work in Essex County, page 98, right? – Because Matt Damon is a
brilliant mathematician, he has apparently memorized
entire history textbooks right down to the page number
of certain important quotes. Hence. I figure if memorizing history textbooks makes you a good mathematician, memorizing romantic poetry
will probably help me figure out how to escape
from this YouTube bunker I’ve locked myself in. That logic follows, right? (chuckling) I’m getting a little desperate. So let’s just get right to
discussing all the weird assumptions Hollywood
makes about smart people. (thudding) (clicking) – It is a melancholy
truth that even great– – Great men have poor relations. Dickens. – Oh no, I know Hamlet, and what he might say with
irony, I say with conviction. What a piece of work is man. – I get what they’re going for here. If your brain has all this extra space, you may as well fill it with expensive sounding words, right? But the ability to repeat
things other people wrote down doesn’t necessarily mean you’re smart. Think of all your friends
who can recite Bill Pullman’s speech from Independence Day. – We will not go quietly into the night. – Which is actually pretty
close to what’s happening in this famous scene from Tombstone. First, Doc Holliday’s
like, “In vino veritas.” Then real quick, Ringo’s
all “Agi quod agis.” Then Holliday gives him a look, takes his time, and says,
“Credat Judaeus Apella, non ego.” Ringo takes a second, then “Iuventus Stulturum … magister.” And then Holiday’s all,
“In pace requiescat.” That’s not a conversation, “Credat Judaus Apella non ego” is a semi-antisemitic line
from one of Horace’s satires that means let the Jew
Apella believe it, not I. Holliday says, – Evidently, Mr. Ringo’s an educated man. Now I really hate him. – But really, they’re just
throwing semi-relevant famous quotes at each other like a couple of 19th century Jake Peraltas. – Welcome to the party, pal. – Besides, what kind of loser
would spend all his time memorizing lines from his favorite… (buzzing) Well, this is a little bit different, but you know whenever a
genius movie character quickly solves a Rubik’s Cube? (jazzy music) – Basic link. – Solving the Cube isn’t an insane feat. Anyone can do it provided they
read the instruction manual that comes with every Rubik’s Cube. It’s a party trick, like knowing origami or quoting Dr. Strangelove. ♫ Da da da da da da – Yee-haw. – Oh, and I’ve decided
after very little research that this phenomenon can be traced back to J. Robert Oppenheimer, who reacted to the first ever
successful nuclear bomb test by remembering a quote
from Hindu scripture. – Now I am become death,
the destroyer of worlds. – He didn’t actually say
it, he just remembered it. Because if he had really responded
to the first ever nuclear explosion with, I am become
death, destroyer of worlds, everyone would’ve been like,
(scoffs) shut up, Julius. (thudding) The J in J. Robert
Oppenheimer stands for Julius. (clicking) Was that clear without me explaining it? Here’s an incomplete
list of smart characters that are also huge dicks. You’ve for your Dr.
House, your Tony Stark, your John Nash from A Beautiful Mind, Mark Zuckerberg from Social Network, Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady, Nathan from Ex Machina,
Caleb from Ex Machina, Ava from Ex Machina eventually, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock
Holmes, Sherlock Holmes. Alan Turing, Julian Assange,
Dr. Stephen Strange, Khan, wait. How many Benedict
Cumberbatches have we had here? A whole batch of Cumberbatch (laughs). Well that was terrible. I should learn how to edit
so I can cut that out. In real life, you can be a
genius and cool to people. It’s true, I’ve seen it happen. In fact, the tendency is
toward the opposite of this. The smarter you are,
the more aware you are of your own shortcomings,
and the knowledge that you don’t have. It’s dumb people who tend to be cocky and overestimate their own intelligence. This is called the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The people who think they’re wicked smart are actually wicked dumb. For example, see men explaining
jokes to women on Twitter, most of Reddit, or the
people correcting my abridged definition of the Dunning-Kruger Effect in the comments below. Yeah, I know about you. I understand that there
really have been smart people in the world who were also dicks, but the infatuation with
them that movies seem to have is still pretty baffling to me. It’s like we think the
best part of being smart would be not having tolerate
other people anymore. Which, like, life hack, you don’t have to be smart
to be a dick to people. You can be dumb and mean, that’s just some information
for you to chew on. (thudding) Batch of Cumberbatch, you’re
better than this Sargent. Movies really like to show us
smart people writing on glass. I don’t have much to say about this other than it’s weird. Are smart people too
distracted by their own genius to keep a (bleep) notepad around? Scraps of paper are everywhere. I have one here, and I’m literally trapped in an underground bunker
with a bunch of DVDs and some camera equipment. I’m living off rat stew and refried beans, and even I know where the damn notepad is. That’s all. (thudding) Oh gee, I just thought
of something clever, I should write it down. (clicking) – When did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics? – Last night. – When Tony Stark needs
to build something, we always see it happen
because Robert Downey Junior looks great with shirt off. Especially for a 52 year old man. Wow, 52. Looking good, Bobbo. Bobbo and I are friends, which is why I get to call him Bobbo. But there’s nothing sexy about
working your brain muscle, so movies just skip that part and make brilliant ideas
seem like they pop up with no warning like boners sometimes do. – No, no, no, no, tell me. (dramatic music) – Well, each of his messages begins with the same five letters. C-I-L-L-Y. So I suspect that Cilly must
be the name of his amore. – That’s impossible, the
Germans are instructed to use five random letters at the
start of every message. – [Woman In Blue Dress]
Well, this bloke doesn’t. – Love will make a man do
strange things, I suppose. – Yes, yes. Love just lost Germany
the whole bloody war. (sploshing) (groaning) – What is that? What’s the matter with you? – Genius. – If we all go for the blond, we block each other,
not a single one of us is gonna get her. – We love this idea so much that we write it into true stories. Alan Turing didn’t crack the German codes because of something a girl said in a bar. It would’ve been illegal
for her to discuss her decoder transmissions with him at all. And John Nash didn’t
invent the Nash Equilibrium because of a pretty blond, because that’s not even how
the Nash Equilibrium works. Wait a minute. Matthew Good was in the Imitation Game, and he was also in Watchmen, where he played Ozymandias, who sometimes quoted Percy Shelley, who wrote Epipsychidion,
which sounds like epiphany. Ephipahnies do happen in real life. But this is still part of
Hollywood’s weird aversion to showing us characters who actually work for a living. Would Tony Stark ever have
done the board meeting? Batman sleeps through his. Indiana Jones sneaks
out of his office window to avoid grading even a single paper. And those people are all geniuses. I’m not saying we have
to have a 45 minute scene where Indiana Jones gets in
trouble at tenure review, but it’s kinda weird how
much we idolize laziness. American culture has this major hard on for pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and paying your dues, but
all our really brilliant aspirational heroes never do any of that. (thudding) – These smart arms are
controlled by my brain through a neural link. Nano wires feed directly
into my cerebellum, allowing me to use these arms to control fusion
reaction in an environment no human hand could enter. – Question, Dr. Octopus. Are you a physicist, or a
neurologist, or a roboticist? Because you just casually described incredible breakthroughs
in all of those fields. And you know what? It’s not fair for me
to use a super villain. Let’s stick to normies,
like Lucius Fox from Batman who not only knows how to
design and build a train system but also how to run a
multinational super corporation and cure fear toxin. But fine, again, I get it. We’re still in superhero movies. Dr. Elizabeth Straw from Prometheus is an archeologist and astronaut, and feels comfortable performing an autopsy on an alien head. Those are three very specific skills that require a lifetime of study, and the third one isn’t even a thing. And bringing back Will Hunting, he’s not just a great mathematician, he memorizes textbooks, already said that, and is a total expert in
the probably made up field of reading peoples’ minds
based on their paintings. – Maybe you married the wrong woman. – [Sean] Maybe you
should watch your mouth. – And this is a problem that has bled over into the real world. Bill Nye the Science Guy isn’t
an expert in all of science, but we treat him like an
expert in climate change because he has science in his middle name. I mean, I agree with him, but we may as well be getting
a take from Dennis Quaid since he at least played
a climate change expert in a movie. Which is why real climate
experts have issues with what he says. Also, you know how Stephen
Hawking occasionally predicts the end of the world? That’s fine, but it has nothing to do with theoretical physics, which is his area of expertise. Science is actually like a
whole of different things. It’s really well
illustrated by this cartoon by Professor Matt Mike, which shows a circle containing
all of human knowledge and shows a Ph.D as a tiny little red dick poking out toward the rim. Which, by the way,
vindicates the entire point of my show because we’ve
conclusively proven that movies are screwing with our heads and making us dumber, so
this isn’t just a bunch of pointless observations. These are real problems. I’m doing important work here. We all are. Together. Let’s finish up. (thudding) There’s the title, have you read it? Is it long enough? Great. Cool, go.
(clicking) I’m not really worried about smart people. They’re gonna be fine. If anything, they’re probably in on it. Trying to fool us, make
it harder for us to know what’s really going on so
they can stay one step ahead. My God. What are the smart people hiding? Oh well, it’s probably boring. I mean, they’re just a
bunch of nerds anyway. (thudding) Oh, dammit. (crackling)


  1. Chris Davison Author

    While I have to agree on the point that people with a very high IQ don't know everything, I know from myself that I'm very good at a lot of things I never even studied and I understand a lot of things that are very complicated. Many people always tell me that I'm always right about everything, no matter if it's medicine, physics or other topics.

  2. nonh1 Author

    Another cliché: smart people must enjoy nothing but children stuff (comic books, cartoons, video games) or nothing but high culture (poetry, opera, ballet). I.e., they must be either a Sheldon Cooper or a Frasier Crane.

  3. Lorelei S Author

    The bill nye issue is often called the halo effect in which we trust people of authority on all fronts because their and expert in one area. Sound off who else is like this;

  4. Razor Scwahg Author

    Maybe smart people aren't portrayed as being mean rather the persona of being mean is what gets audience appeal. After all, who here loves Bruce Banner, M.D., Ph. D., for his friendly attitude?

  5. brofenix Author

    Wasn't that funny imo but somewhat insightful that movies portray smart people as mean many times and good at almost everything they try.

  6. Conrad Bate Author

    6:25 I think this one is wrong. I devoted 5 years developing "hard" software concepts (self constructing computer systems) that came to me in an instant, as a hunch, while doing something else. And yes I dropped everything and ran off to check I could make it. And yes I did make it. And no I didn't release it. Why? Because everyone I showed it to couldn't understand it. Odd but true. So it's shelved until someone else breaks the new ground then I'll release it.

  7. Sherbaan Naab Author

    "The ability to repeat thing other people wrote down doesn't necessarily mean you are smart."

    It kinda does, though. Because smart people read a lot and have good memory. And they remember what other people wrote down because they know how to learn from other people's wisdom.

    Sure, you can memorize some stuff, but you will end up not saying it, because you won't get the chance, or say it, but it might not be relevant to the discussion.

  8. Sherbaan Naab Author

    Regarding the smart/genius people.
    Yes, the smarter you are, the more aware and stuff you are.
    But the characters you mention border on our are geniuses. And it's understandable for geniuses to be dicks. Not because they are extremely smart, but because they see the world differently and interact with it differently than us. It's like you if you had to deal with children the whole time. Tell me you wouldn't get annoyed.

    Plus, you don't differentiate between smart and genius in your comment.

  9. Laurel F. Author

    Glad to see you criticize Bill Nye. He acts like all of his opinions are superior and scientific just because he's "the Science Guy," and he can be quite insulting to anyone he doesn't agree with.

  10. slash vs world Author

    I agree with most of this except the part about smart people not being outspoken about it. Believe me they are, alot of the time… complete dicks about it. 😝

  11. Dorothy Bellion Author

    because of Einstein, for a long time after smart guys were portrayed as being super bright in whatever they studied, but unable to tie their own shoes. Then it switched to smart guys who are experts in everything but in how not to be an asshole

  12. Ninjabear Press Author

    Yeah but if you want to quote someone, you can do a lot worse than Shakespeare. – Characters that aren't jerks include Mr. Spock and Det. Arthur Dietrich – Bright ideas DO pop up like boners – Heinlein said specialization is for insects.

  13. Double Crossover Author

    You missed chess, supposedly smart people must be great at chess right?
    I always laugh when the character is deep in thought for like five minutes to finally find a checkmate in one…

  14. Lance Murdoc Author

    By the way Oppenheimer become a detractor of the atomic bomb after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So they start to mistrust him and start suspet him of being a "Kommunist". They replaced him by one of the main detractors (a real smart and ruthless asshole) Edward Teller.

  15. digiryde Author

    So, the real problem is that many people look at a person who is good at one thing and just assume they are good at other things. The same problem when people who get rich or famous are turned to for expertise in economics, policy, etc. A very few are good at other things. Normally due to what they do being related. It just takes time to become good at something.

  16. BertRach1 Author

    Cracked has gone… these people are trying their best to do what they've been asked, and I don't blame them personally, but Cracked is not Cracked anymore. I say this with sadness not hate…

  17. Ronin Author

    they dont get anything wrong, they simply know what the masses expect to and feel good about seeing. Not much entertainment is made for intelligent people.

  18. Steve Barnes Author

    Hand Gun. It seems no one has noticed a pistol laying on the desk. Single stack magazine leads the casual observer to believe the pistol is a 1911 model. Anyway, keep it safe and clear for your videos!

  19. Dreckbob Bratpfanne Author

    i wonder if there is/will be a movie were one guy is like "Yeah, i'm smart babe. I can speak Latin: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet".

  20. Lena Author

    the people who usually brag about their intelligence and intellectual capacity usually have an inferiority complex about their intelligence, are just plain immature or try desperately to impress their peers

    source: younger, dumber me who bragged all the time about how i lived in england once and how my english was fluent while my classmates were barely starting to comprehend basic english grammar back in my home country. it was a stupid and condescending way to gain acknowledgement and impress my classmates, whilst filling up my ego. i cringe everytime i look back to that time.

  21. george mira Author

    If a discipline requires a lifetime of study you're no good at it until you're old. Dead.
    College requires that you paid attention for about 21 years, only four of which are college. Med school 3 more. Residency & internship two more.

    I've known MDs with degrees , including a PhD, in other sciences. done before 34.

    Francis Crick down at Salk Institute kept up work understanding neurology after- 35 years after, doing his molecular biology career.
    He also became a good writer, and conversant with behavioral science.

    engineers, admitted use only a narrow proportion of the physics they learn, and an old acquaintance who used to tell me stories about Gell-Mann and Dick Feynman, still didn't understand stressed-skin behaviors and weaknesses, and went off the deep end with 9/11 conspiracy theories.

    There are other reasons why this vid is inaccurate.
    but i guess the title is How Hollywood gets it wrong, not how college students with uploading capacity to youtube get it wrong. We find naivete' in some of the most brilliant tech guys, as well as psychopathy and the dark triad.
    Socrates was right when speaking against literacy, he said the same thing as ths New Guinea guy said to an anthropologist: "'Why do you take notes?"

    "So I won't forget."
    "No, you take them in order to forget."

    Nonliterate societies, filled with practical geniuses who know hundreds of plants and their uses, hundreds of animals, and strong maps in hteir minds of hundreds of square miles, What did you think caused memory and association to evolve?
    Use – greater use than that common among nearly ALL the excess survivors of modern aggregative culture, where few know enough to ever feed themselves, much less maintain orientation in wildlands, and how to make shelter, adequate clothing, the necessary languages, including sign languages protected and shown by elders whenever they spoke to the young.

    Geniuses, then, are normal people who DO know a lot about everything relevant – just NOT in YOUR culture.
    I've run into a few far from anywhere comfortable to you. They all speak more languages more fluently than I speak one and the pidgin I know of about 3 others.

    But I'm here BECAUSE I want to know more- even from the society of dimwits that mistake everything they don't understand as magic or gods.

  22. John Hill Author

    Also, why does Hollywood think that geniuses spend most of their time playing chess? And, conversely, that people who play chess are somehow automatically more intelligent than everyone else?

  23. Crimson Barrel Author

    Your definition of the Dunning-Kruger was mostly correct, but the conclusion you brought it to was very, very wrong.

    It also wasn't "abridged" so much as grossly overgeneralized.

    The Dunning-Kruger has nothing to do with temperament. At all. The Dunning-Kruger effect does not prove or even attempt to prove that the people who correctly estimate their level of knowledge are "nice" and the people who overestimate their knowledge are "cocky," "arrogant," or "dicks."

    It only states that a person who knows very little about a particular subject is unaware of the totality of literature regarding that subject, and is therefore incapable of recognizing their own ignorance. So given a subject, people whom have a below average understanding will overestimate the knowledge they do have.

    So saying "dumb people" and "smart people," in this context, ironically provides a perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


  24. rjanssaft The III Author

    Having a high intelligence doesn’t mean that you are an intellectual, and there are plenty of self proclaimed geniuses who really aren’t all that smart.

  25. tabbypappy Author

    Stuff like this is why I don't make a habit of telling people I'm in Mensa. All I ever considered myself as was a bookworm with OCD ( half jokingly ).
    A favorite assumption people make is that we're all like ‎Srinivasa Ramanujan.
    My mathematical skills are mediocre, & I have no qualms about admitting it.
    My hobbies are reading & documentaries. While I get satisfaction from learning, it's never gotten me laid.
    We're human…just like everybody else.

  26. Tony Oliver Author

    My boss took me to a meeting with a big copyright law firm in London. At least 3 times in the meeting I flat out informed the senior partner they were wrong. And quoted the relevant legislation. The issue was they didn’t have a clue about copyright in databases which is covered by the database directive and that’s what we did… the first time I corrected her she asked if I was a lawyer when I said no she said “so what makes you think your qualified to discus this?” Eh 10 years experience

  27. C M Author

    Being able memorize passages from books then regurgitating them has nothing to do with being intelligent. The intelligence part comes when you choose the most relevant passage to make a point during a debate or discussion.

  28. Richard Charbonneau Author

    The part most people get wrong about being smart, is that being smart (IQ) is about your ability to learn and retain new information, and has nothing to do with what you already know. So a person who has memorized whole books, while clearly being able to do that (as well as having way too much free time), is not smart just because he memorized whole books. It's why actual IQ test are abstract and test your ability to learn something new, and not set up like an SAT. Life lesson, if you ever take an online "IQ test", and it's asking question about different fields of study, it is NOT an actual IQ test. An actual IQ test would be something that can be giving to anyone, from any background, from any culture, and at almost any age, and still get the correct results.

  29. KaiDestinyz Author

    Intelligence isn't knowing/memorizing an answer to a question. Knowing the name of a capital state of a country don't make one intelligent, just knowledgeable.
    95% of the people don't understand what being intelligent means.

    Knowledge = Knowing/memorizing something
    Intelligence = Being able to infer from something, understanding beyond the surface. Intelligent people are more logical, have a stronger depth of common sense. They judge everything with sense.

  30. Noah Zork Author

    Smart is solving problems with the resources available… You can exclude anyone who has ever paid another person to fix their ceiling fan.

    Eh..ehm or anyone who would…

  31. Chris Gaigneur Author

    Ff nn nm. d.mdeweddsf. .,……I left my phone on the tablet so I could go to the washroom and it texted that all by itself ..

  32. Rin Rin Author

    I was in an advanced course called Quest in 6th grade, and while the definition of “smart” by the school board is pretty convoluted and a bit contrary to it’s practices, all the “smart” kids they rounded up and swept into one room were a lot like me. Hyperactive, strange thinkers, and people who approach a problem to make an entirely new way to solve it.
    The class was fucking chaos.

  33. Luineile Author

    One of my pet peeves is "child geniuses" reciting the pi to its n-th number.
    That's just plane memorizing. Solving complex problems or being way ahead of peers or seeing the solution much quicker than others is more descriptive, than the ability and free time to memorize things no one needs.

  34. Patrick Dempsey Author

    the one thing i can say is around 8:00 in, talking about being smart at everything… just because youre an expert in something doesnt mean you lack any form of substantial knowledge in a different subject or field. Bill Nye might be an expert in one field of science but that doesnt mean that he doesnt have a good knowledge of other parts of science.

  35. Anna Maria Zanchi Author

    My goodness this is just what I have been thinking after watching many movies on Sherlock Holmes lately. To say the truth in the original story Sherlock is really smart to say that keeping a lot of useless memories actually would be armful to the useful ones he needs for his work. So the memory palace where Cumberbatch keeps all the stuff is really wrong because he seems to remember everything.

  36. Patrick Kilduff Author

    It's not that 'remembering stuff' is indicative of smart people in some movies….it's the fact they they can relate the quotes they remembered to what is going on around them. Like that Picard scene you used…it was they fact that that 'piece of work' line fit with what he was trying to convey to the aliens. It is recognizing that someone else said it best at some point….

  37. Patrick Kilduff Author

    Oh and btw…smart people ARE mean. It comes with the territory. The more you know…the more you hate. It's inevitable. You can be dumb and mean…sure. But you can't be smart and super nice…even if you are trying…smart always seems mean to someone.

  38. Patrick Kilduff Author

    'It would have been illegal for her (girl in Imitation Game clip) to talk about her work' …Ok…that doesn't mean she didn't. People have done illegal things a billion times.

  39. Patrick Kilduff Author

    Finally…and I know I'm ,that guy, right now…but I don't care. Bill Nye is allowed to talk about climate change all he wants. He is on the right side and is one of the only people on TV preaching the truth about it…so if you don't like it…get me a famous climate scientist to go on Fox news….otherwise shut up. Also…you are allowed to research a new topic latter in life. Just because someone studied biology all their lives doesn't mean they can't research climate science latter in life and become an expert.

  40. Macumezahn Author

    Im a scientist and i actually find it more activating to write formulas or diagrams on glass or mirrors. It lets you edit liberally and place paper modifications behind the glass. Most of us dont have large whiteboards available. Its easy to clean…its also temporary so you have to take photos or memorize it before erasing. Dont leave stuff for janitors to clean….😊

  41. seadawg93 Author

    The Tombstone example wasn’t very good. Just memorizing some lines in ancient languages doesn’t make you smart, but to have read and understood them in their original language, especially at a time where they would be difficult to get, certainly means you’re educated. Not that all educated gunslingers would do that, but if two did then I imagine they would be correct in thinking of each other as educated.

  42. Onestop Funstop Author

    What's really crazy is there are now videos being released of Hillary's Crew and the Hollywood Pedophiles torturing children. It looks like Alex Jones was 100% right about PizzaGate and the Pedophiles, and that's the real reason they de-platformed him.

  43. theodore roberts Author

    Hmmm. I have found dumb people are the most mean and they hate that you know anything that they don't, however, they don't seem.willing to put the time in to get there, also they don't consider some are born smart. It's a part of them like life and breathing.
    The absolute one thing they will not do is except them. Now, that can make smart people mean because they have experienced that crap too many times before from dumb people and just don't have time to go through the mean steps again with another unfeeling person. Therefore, if smart people are mean, think about your actions and reactions towards them.
    I would not have called them dumb if there was another word that fit and they understood. Too many celebrate being dumb in American society. And it will get them nowhere.


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