20 Mind-Bending Movies Guaranteed to Make You Feel Stupid

Stephen Hawking in Errol Morris's film version of "A Brief History of Time"

10. A Brief History of Time

Errol Morris’ engagingly egg-headed documentary is part profile of Stephen Hawking, part exploration of his ideas: the expansion of the universe, event horizons, the uncertainty principle of particles, negative energy, the “direction” of time, the relevance of God, the purpose of the universe, and the End of It All. Morris takes great pains to make his ideas understandable, via ingenious visualizations and inventive animations, and that’s part of Hawking’s M.O.: “We should all,” he says at the end of the film, “be able to take part in the discussion of why it is that we and the universe exist.” But when interviews with Hawking and his scientist friends and intercut to create a conversation/debate, it sometimes leaves the viewer with the unsettling feeling of being the slowest guest at a particularly high-minded dinner party.