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Real Genius (1985)

 -  Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi  -  7 August 1985 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 20,101 users  
Reviews: 120 user | 44 critic

Teenage geniuses deal with their abilities while developing a laser.

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(screenplay), (story), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mitch Taylor (as Gabe Jarret)
...
Jordan
...
...
Lazlo Hollyfeld (as Jonathan Gries)
...
Sherry Nugil
...
Shuttle Pilot
Daniel Ades ...
Laser Ray Victim
Andres Aybar ...
Bartender
Louis Giambalvo ...
Maj. Carnagle
...
David Decker
Charles Shull ...
Air Force General
...
George
Charles Parks ...
Larry
...
Boy at Science Fair
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Storyline

Mitch is one of the youngest students ever accepted to a university known for its programs for geniuses. He's partnered up with his roommate, science club legend Chris Knight, on a project to develop a high-powered laser. Together with their hyper-kinetic friends, they employ their intellects in the pursuit of bigger blasts, practical jokes, and a deeper understanding of what real genius is. When their final, functional laser is stolen by their teacher for a military weapon, they decide to get even. Written by Lordship <lordship@juno.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

laser | weapon | genius | professor | student | See more »

Taglines:

It's yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Academia de genios  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$13,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Mitch rides the cart into the steam tunnels, the viewer briefly sees the quotation, "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" scrawled on the left wall. These are the original words of the German poet Friedrich Schiller. Relevant to the film, Isaac Asimov named three separate stories "Against Stupidity", "The Gods Themselves" and "Contend in Vain". He later combined them into a 1972 science fiction novel about a conspiracy by aliens who inhabit a parallel universe with different physical laws than ours, and who are trying to turn our Sun into a supernova in order to collect the resulting energy for their use. See more »

Goofs

When Kent tattles to Dr. Hathaway about Chris and Mitch being at a party with girls, Kent stands in front of a teleprompter on a television studio set, while Dr. Hathaway is taping an episode of "Everything". Assuming these are through-the-lens teleprompters for television cameras (so that the on-air performer, in this case Dr. Hathaway, can both read the text and look directly into the camera lens and talk to the TV audience), the shot of the monitor showing Hathaway looking around for his script and yelling, "Kent" would not be possible. Kent would be blocking the camera as well, and so all you'd see on that monitor would be black (i.e., Kent's body blocking the camera). Unless, of course, the monitor was showing the output of another camera, but in all likelihood, the in-studio monitor as depicted would be the program monitor, showing the "hot" camera, and Hathaway was trying to look into that very camera and read his teleprompter script. Not only that, but in reality Kent would have never been allowed on a presumably closed set to block a camera/teleprompter in the first place. See more »

Quotes

Roy: Our studies indicate the weapon is totally useless in warfare.
David Decker: It's not intended for use in your kind of warfare, Roy. It's the perfect peacetime weapon. That's why it's secret.
Man: So it's both immoral *and* unethical?
David Decker: Yes.
[they all laugh]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in NCIS: Child's Play (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

The Pleasure Seekers
Performed by The System
Courtesy of Mirage Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
Consummate 80's Period film - Exceedingly Witty Dialog
3 September 2005 | by (Atlanta, GA, United States) – See all my reviews

As a child of the 80s, I have a soft spot in my heart for creatively-executed movies from this period. At their worst, 80s movies become dated more quickly than films from nearly any other period in film history. At their best, 80s movies reflect the cultural undertones of an exciting time where humor and optimism were rampant in films despite the specter of cold war, the advent of AIDS and a rocky economy.

Real Genius takes the happy, go-lucky optimism of the 80s and superimposes it on the grim topics of military research, cold war espionage and assassination. The movie is set in a west-coast college (see Caltech, Berkeley, Stanford) and makes full use of the hyper-intelligent, eccentric dialog you might expect in elite California academia. The sound track from Thomas Newman (Less than Zero, American Beauty and many others) is technically complex and involving and fits the movie perfectly. At times, the movie suffers from the usual poor depiction of science (see lame computer applications and some bad blue screen work on aircraft) and unbelievable scenarios (see water slide in lecture hall and ice sledding in dormitory). Despite these forgivable breaches, the Neal Israel's unique dialog is truly brilliant, the situational comedy is eccentric, and the humor is uplifting. Val Kilmer is outstanding in his portrayal of Chris Knight and I lament his departure from this odd and extremely intelligent form of comedy (See Top Secret) - Though Kilmer has been involved with "better" movies since, I don't think he has ever been more genuinely entertaining.

I think this movie is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys science, comedy and the 80s genre, or for anyone who is planning on attending a technology school on the West coast. This movie may not depict reality, but it communicates a hopeful spirit we could all use more of in today's world of harsh reality.


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