February 4, 2009

"Columbia, Rudin acquire brain rights."

Another headline I like.

The story is about the acquisition of the rights to make a movie about Henry Molaison — AKA H.M. — the man who lost the ability to form new memories as the result of a operation on his brain that was intended to treat his seizures. Molaison's problem made him a useful subject for various experiments. Is that cinematic enough for a movie?

(We talked about Molaison back when his obituary was published.)

25 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

Check out the movie Memento with Guy Pearce who suffers from the same kind of problem. After his home was broken into and his wife murdered, he was injured in the break in and can't form new memories.

Pogo said...

"50 First Dates".

Pogo said...

"Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains".

k*thy said...

A compelling idea, if it's not done too clinically literal.

"Eternal Sunshine".

Ann Althouse said...

I know the no-memory problem is a great component of a fictional plot, but is the actual bio of this man good for a movie?

AllenS said...

Just returned from Drudge, and I found this:

Record Breaking Breasts

One woman stopped at nothing to achieve her twin dreams: a 38KKK bust, and a world record!

Brains are overrated.

Henry said...

Don't forget Henry J. Heimlech.

Regularly scheduled breast blogging will resume tomrrow.

Ann Althouse said...

Finally, I'm set free. Thanks, Henry.

Pogo said...

"I know the no-memory problem is a great component of a fictional plot, but is the actual bio of this man good for a movie?"

Fools rush in where intellects fear to tread.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"useful subject for various experiences"

Did you mean "experiments"?

Ann Althouse said...

@Laura, thanks for the correction. Will fix.

Christy said...

Dare I add my thoughts after Henry wins the thread?

"50 First Dates" was charming and the first time I liked Sandler.

An exploration of his sex life might make an interesting movie. Unmarried at 27, unsurprising with the complications of dating with convulsions, did he ever have a normal sex life, I wonder? His accident happened before puberty and must have messed with learning how to date and seduce. Once he was healthy, did he have the life skills for relationships? The frustration and angst could make for a depressing movie. What did getting someone's phone number mean to him the next day?

Wouldn't the movie be more about the researchers quest than about Molaison?

PatHMV said...

I think this would be a fascinating movie. There are a number of individuals whose lives, because of some deformity or quirk or accident, have been lived largely under the microscope. These cases present unique questions of the ethics of human experimentation.

On the one hand, the scientists were clearly using H.M. for their own purposes, to feather their own careers. On the other hand, H.M.'s needs were so unique, were he not the subject of all those experiments, he may have been able to do nothing more than sit on the sofa in the community room of some institution watching TV 24/7.

blake said...

I know the no-memory problem is a great component of a fictional plot, but is the actual bio of this man good for a movie?

Not a problem.

Clyde said...

@AllenS

38KKK's? She's gonna need a Burning-Cross-Your-Heart bra for those...

>rimshot<

AllenS said...

Clyde--

She'll probably be spending most of her time on her back.

Michael said...

Laura(southernxyl) asks: "Did you mean "experiments"?"

She can't remember.

Michael said...

It doesn't happen often, but I agree with Hoosier: Memento is a great and truly interesting film.

Michael said...

"I know the no-memory problem is a great component of a fictional plot, but is the actual bio of this man good for a movie?"

Did you see "A Beautiful Mind"?

Henry said...

Did you see A Beautiful Mind?

You mean that movie where Henry Molaison is a brilliant concert pianist?

I prefer The Bourne Identity where Henry Molaison is a secret agent on the run.

Ann Althouse said...

"Once he was healthy, did he have the life skills for relationships? The frustration and angst could make for a depressing movie. What did getting someone's phone number mean to him the next day?"

But why would he feel bad? He has no memory. Let's say he goes years and years with no sexual love. How would that differ, from his point of view, from having deeply rewarding sex every single day? Not one whit!

Ann Althouse said...

"Did you see "A Beautiful Mind"?"

Yes, but what is the similarity in terms of something interesting to watch, something with a narrative arc?

Christy said...

Let's say he goes years and years with no sexual love. How would that differ, from his point of view, from having deeply rewarding sex every single day? Not one whit!

The body knows, even if the brain doesn't remember.

Back when D'Amasio's Descartes Error was published the reviewer in Nature I think it was, the Brit version of Science, referenced a an early study of a Molaison style amnesiac. The doctor had to reintroduce himself everyday. One day he palmed a straight pin and pricked the patient hard when they shook hands. Afterwards the patient, when introduced to him, wouldn't shake hands anymore. He still had no memory of the doctor, but the body knew to associate pain with the doctor and shaking hands.

Sorry for the lack of supporting linkage. It has been a long time and I couldn't come up with enough search words to narrow down the hits. But doesn't D'Amasio essentially say the same thing?

Christy said...

Course I could be totally wrong. I remember an apostrophe in Damasio's name, after all. Sorry.

blake said...

Christy's pain thing was a plot point in Memento. Sammy Jankis didn't learn from pain.

But even without that, he's a guy, there'd be a, em, build up over time.

For a different view, see Me, Myself and Irene.

"Why am I peeing like I had sex all night?"