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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross


Homage (1995)

Archie Landrum (Frank Whaley) is a mathematician applying to be the handyman at the farm owned by Katherine Samuel (Blythe Danner).
ARCHIE: Come on, Mrs. Samuel. The ad says “small farm, private quarters, decent hours, hard worker”. It doesn’t in any way exclude someone who has a PhD in mathematics.
KATHERINE: No, but it probably should have.
ARCHIE: You have my references. Three summers, while other grad students were out trying to solve the mysteries of the Universe, I was wrestling with whether it was better to plant yellow granos or conquistador.

Gilbert Tellez (Danny Nucci) is the local policeman, being interviewed.
GILBERT: Why would she hire him? If you want protection or somebody to take of your place, you really gonna hire a mathematician?

Archie is in jail, objecting to Gilbert referring to him as “Mister Landrum”.
ARCHIE (To his lawyer): Here the way my only friend talks to me? (To Gilbert) That’s Doctor to you, Gibby. If you’re gonna call me “Mister”, call me “Doctor”.

Katherine’s and her daughter Lucy (Sheryl Lee) are fighting about Lucy’s depression, and Archie offers his opinion.
LUCY: Um, excuse me, Archie, but who invited you into this conversation?
KATHERINE: Hey, Come on, now. He lives here.
LUCY: He has a PhD in mathematics and he makes soup!

Lucy has been criticising a movie script, The Journey to Galaxy 16, written by Archie for her.
ARCHIE: O.K. O.K. Maybe you didn’t understand the symbology behind the journey to Galaxy 16. Maybe the infinity concept confused you. That’s a good point. Good, I can simplify that aspect of it. Good. Fine. Thank-you. Simplify infinity. What else?

Archie has just received a call from Princeton, offering him an academic position.
KATHERINE: Job offer?
ARCHIE: Nine morons at Princeton, sitting around inventing truth.
KATHERINE: Well, somebody’s gotta do that work. But that’s wonderful, Archie, that they want you.
ARCHIE: I get job offers all the time, Mrs. Samuel. I may be a completely inept human being, but I’m an incredible mathematician.