The entertainment industry has a difficult time dealing with mental illness. Think “Cuckoo’s Nest,” the film not the book. Produced to make a statement like, who is really crazy? The patients on Thorazine or the sadists watching over them? All of them except the Indian? I don’t know the answer, but I know we like to throw the term “crazy” around a lot in the U.S.

Mangum_PhotoTake Jeff Mangum, for example. On the verge of Indie Rock stardom in the late 90’s, Mangum walked away from it all. His band, Neutral Milk Hotel, released 2 records, one exceptional, one classic, toured extensively and then faded out. R.E.M. offered them an opening slot on an international tour only to be turned down. No more records, no more shows. Nothing.

So of course a legendary case of mental illness became the narrative of why Mangum called it quits. Like Syd Barrett before him, Mangum achieved psychedelic/poet status. His artistic effort to make sense of Anne Frank’s diary must have so upset him that he lost his mind. Maybe he took too many drugs. Maybe he really did carry around a two-headed boy in a jar. Of course, releasing a field recording of Bulgarian folk music didn’t exactly dissuade the junior Psychology League. But did he quit because of mental illness or did he just grow tired of the bullshit of the music industry?

Whatever the reason he shelved a promising career, Mangum has decided to write a second act. He is now touring as a solo performer (mostly) performing songs from his 2 NMH records and enjoying large, enthusiastic crowds who know the words to every song. He sings, he speaks somewhat inaudibly and he gives the kids what they want. The crazy dude singing songs about semen stained mountain tops.

He charges $30 a seat and is selling out large concert halls. So who is crazy now? The Indian? The stutterer? I don’t want to play this game!

But David O. Russell does. In his film “Silver Linings Playbook” he does a great job of taking us on the bipolar joy ride with Pat, played by Bradley Cooper. For all of his rage and delusional thinking, Pat is still likable, which is what you need in a protagonist.

We meet Pat the day his mother retrieves him from his court ordered mental hospital, without first talking it over with her husband. We also see that Pat isn’t taking his meds so we know how this is going to turn out. And for the most part it happens as it should. Pat loses his fragile grip. Makes life unpleasant for his elderly parents. For his neighbors. Everyone really.

But then Pat finds a routine and structure that allows him to heal. Oh, and he also takes his meds. He pulls it together and wins the championship! No, wait. That was “The Fighter.” Anyway, Russell makes interesting movies and this one works because of some very good performances. People forget that Cooper has a Masters in Acting and that Jennifer Lawrence skinned a squirrel in “Winter’s Bone.” Strangely, Robert DeNiro got snubbed by the Academy in what might be his best work since “Heat.” Seriously, he’s that good.

So my capsule review of the film” “As Goodfellas As It Gets.” You’re welcome.

Editor’s note: Our top 20 CDS for 2012 should be posted soon. I’ll mention it a few times on the Twitter to remind you.