Genius on Hold : Boring and preachy

Boring and preachy

I shut this off after a while. I expected to see a movie about a family man who fights a corporation to profit from his inventions, but instead the first half hour or more was a patronizing lecture on corporations and the monopolization of the phone company. I'm sorry, but I did not find this very relevant to the central story. For example, the main issues (today) with inventing anything while working for ANY company is that they already make you sign copyright papers when you get the job. That should be the FIRST question about this: did Shaw sign a paper saying anything he invented for Bell Labs belonged to them? And what's wrong with getting promoted to Sr. Engineer? It was hard to feel sympathy, since the film spent so much time demonizing AT&T/Bell Labs,corporations that it didn't get to the point about why this man thought he was entitled to sole profits from his inventions, inventions he made while working for Bell Labs, using their equipment! Anyone today is not in any better position than Shaw, so why the tears? Reading about him, he turned to the mafia to make money?? How do you feel sorry for this guy?

Frank Langella could not save a boring and overstuffed, front-heavy piece. I fast-forwarded it to where it talks about Shaw, right after the anti-trust suit, and suddenly, Shaw is out on the street living in poverty or something? Huh?
35 minutes of corporate demonizing, and a mere 2 minutes about how he ended up on the street, easily missed by fast-forwarding?

Disappointing. And BORING!! I'd rather just read about it. A much more interesting film experience is the true story of the windshield wiper guy fighting Ford Motor company, starring Greg Kinnear (Flash of Genius).

Re: Boring and preachy

I agree with you. I can't believe this film has a 7.2. Who is voting on it? When I rate a film I'm not rating the subject but the execution. Sure, if you have an uninteresting subject, I won't like your film no matter how good it is, but this film actually had a fairly compelling central subject and figurewhich they suffocate with redundant information, complex history lessons, random facts, over-arching and confusing conspiracy theories, and propaganda delivery styles at various times.

Again, a 7.2? The bor-o-rator (boring narrator) alone should knock this film back to a 5. Interesting subject, poor execution. If you suffered through the first part all you did by fast-forwarding was reduce your pain.

Re: Boring and preachy

"working for Bell Labs, using their equipment"
In your words that the movie was so boring you missed the part where he worked on his inventions at home and built them at home.

"who fights a corporation to profit from his inventions"

You must have missed the laws there was nothing he could about it. He owned the patents legally and Bell had him over a barrel because without their consent his inventions couldn't be hooked up on any telephone line in the United States.

Eventually people saw the injustice of the whole thing and because MCI had the money to fight them in court they were awarded BILLIONS in damages. Bell single handily stopped innovation in the United States for 70 years.

"And what's wrong with getting promoted to Sr. Engineer?"
He wasn't hired as an inventor he did it on his own time at home he drew the schematics at home and built them at home. For all his inventions that they would have made hundreds of millions if not billions they wanted to steal, take credit for, profit from, and give him a title as A senior engineer. Its the principle of the matter and its borderline criminal.

"AT&T/Bell Labs,corporations that it didn't get to the point about why this man thought he was entitled to sole profits from his inventions, inventions he made while working for Bell Labs, using their equipment!"

Even in the case your suggesting which is NOT what happened the inventor still owns the patient. If the invention was made on company time with company goods the company can use the invention free of charge but the inventor owns the patient meaning they can lease, sell themselves, or sell to another company their invention.

The only situation where the company owns the invention is when they pay an employee to invent the product. So if your working for a car company and they want you to redesign an engine, ext.

"Reading about him, he turned to the mafia to make money?"
It's easy to just cast him off as a bad guy if you want but with what he went through its easy to get jaded with the system. You have these invention that you can't sell because the only one that can sell them is Bell who doesn't want to pay you for them. Its a lot easier when the rigged system is thrown in your face. He finally finds someone to sell his inventions to and its the mob. He didn't have the finical means to sue Bell like MCI was able to so he never got a cent.

Re: Boring and preachy

@Amills23 Finally someone that watched the whole documentary and gets it.

Basically the whole family got royally screwed over big time. If the government enforced the rights of those patents they'd most likely be worth billions of dollars. That one inventor basically invented every major landline related phone invention that you can think ofand many still in use today.

Sadly, it took a change in political climate and MCI with enough money to properly fund a lawsuit to get things changed. The idea that any judge would throw the inventor in jail for the stupid things (like hooking his device to the phone line) is just absurd.

The President should posthumously pardon the inventor and give him something like a lifetime achievement award.

Re: Boring and preachy

I thought it was interesting. Yes, it was preachy, especially at the end, but as it was produced by Shaw's son, it's not surprising that his point of view is built into it. Still, I didn't need Thiel's influence to feel sorry for his father. He really was an amazing inventor who got screwed over big time by corporate muscle.

Remember when James Dyson shopped his bagless vacuum cleaner to Hoover and they rejected him and then turned around and stole his idea? It took years in court to win a suit against them. Shaw spent most of his life fighting this and *never* won. Wish he had been born late enough to work for Google, where one is encouraged to spend 10% of their time on side projects.