How To Grow A Brain

I think most of us humans vastly under-appreciate the complexity, power, and limitations of nervous systems — in ourselves and in other animals. Inside our skulls an astounding amount of microscopic…


Screen Gems


Evergreen Lessons from the Gladiator Movie

I have always loved movies. They educate, entertain, inspire, and move us taking us to other countries, other cultures, and sometimes other worlds. They regale us with stories of what was (the past); what is (the present) and what will and can be (the future) using various movie genres — drama, historical romance, comedy, romantic comedy, science fiction, horror, thriller, crime drama, musical, fiction, non-fiction, action, western, animation, history, satire, documentaries and many others.

Some films are such epic works of art that you never forget them. One such film is the 2000 film Gladiator starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. The film was and still remains a masterpiece. It ranks amongst my best films of all time right alongside Braveheart, Green Mile, A Beautiful Mind, Forrest Gump, and Shawshank Redemption to name a few. It is an incredible movie. I fell in love with the song ‘Now We Are Free’, part of the musical compositions for the film by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard.

I was privileged to watch it again some days ago when it was aired on a local channel and was reminded of why it has such an evergreen appeal. Though the movie is a historical one, the intrigues, politics, and life lessons remain relevant today.

Russell Crowe plays Maximus Decimus Meridius, a respected Roman General whose loyalty and love for Emperor Marcus Aurelius irks his son Commodus played by Joaquin Phoenix. After many conquests and battles, Emperor Marcus declares he is old and tired informing Maximus that his son Commodus is unfit to rule. Commodus is more of a pampered child than a warrior. The emperor intimates Maximus of his plan to make him his successor and restore the Roman Republic. The Emperor breaks the news to Commodus who upon receiving the news, feigns heartbreak and tears. The emperor overcome with emotion kneels in front of his son to comfort him and while embracing his father, Commodus suffocates him to death. Commodus declares himself emperor and demands Maximus loyalty. Maximus refuses as he is suspicious and seeks to gather his troops to avenge the king’s death. Commodus orders Maximus's arrest and execution, the killing of his wife and son…

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