4Electroshock Treatment is a Savage, Primitive Treatment
According to movies like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Shine, A Beautiful Mind and Changeling, electroshock treatment (electroconvulsive therapy or ECT) is the equivalent of treating testicular cancer with thumbtacks and a crescent wrench.
A bunch of savagely indifferent doctors strap some poor bastard down and try to shock the crazy out - leaving the victim docile, slightly charred and with a bucket of fried chicken where their brain used to be. The portrayal of ECT is so overwhelmingly negative that it frequently gets picked last for kickball, behind Nazis and child molesters.
Go ahead and get in kids. It's not like he's got an ECT machine in there.
Why It's Bullshit:
In reality, ECT works and it's safe. It's painless and has the same level of risk as general anesthesia, and has been used successfully for years to treat depression. Patients who undergo the treatment typically find themselves more engaged, more active and altogether happier people.
See? Look how happy he is.
The only negative thing is that they have to keep getting the treatment to stay healthy. And as for the screaming, struggling patient being dragged down the hall to the electroshock room? Unless the patient is catatonic and their life is in immediate danger, ECT can only be administered with informed consent.
See, Hollywood always leaves out the part where the doctors sit down and carefully explain the benefits and risks of ECT to their patient so a rational decision can be made. Then they drag them down the hall to shock their balls off.
3Having a Mental Illness is a lot Like Being a Superhero
Hollywood, appealing to our innate sense of fairness, has long suggested that for every faculty taken away by mental illness (reason, rationale, bowel control), there is at least one super power left behind as compensation.
For example, he lost his sight but gained the ability to narrowly avoid marrying Jennifer Lopez.
Laboring under the idea that mental institutions and halfway houses across the world are actually the secret headquarters for The Socially Incapable Justice League, movies have given us dysfunctional people that can outwit impossible prisons (Cube); developmentally disabled man-boys that can transform into super-powered aliens (Dreamcatcher); autistic kids who can crack top secret government codes (Mercury Rising); and, of course, autistic men who are awesome at blackjack (Rain Man).
Rain Man is also awesome at juice boxes.
Why It's Bullshit:
There are people called savants that are able to retain vast amounts of information, usually involving numbers but not always, and perform mental feats that most people can only dream of, but only about 10 percent of people with a mental disorder are anything close to what could be called a savant. Savants without a mental handicap are uncommon (probably because there are way more normal people than mentally disabled people), but the point is you don't have to suffer from a mental deficiency or a crippling psychosis to clean up at the blackjack table. And, in fact, that probably makes it way harder.
In real life, autism is a highly variable neurological disorder that impairs social functioning and communication, leaving those that suffer from it struggling to lead a normal, fulfilling life. In the movies, autism means little more than being really good at math, dressing like a nerd and having to put up with Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis (which might be a super power, but there's no conclusive proof). And as far as our research can tell, no mentally handicapped person has ever turned into an alien.