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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 20,279 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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A group of young, brilliant students develop a high-powered laser that's stolen by the government.

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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
Edit

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:

When he gets mad, he doesn't get even... he gets creative. 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

The recurrence of the initials "DEI" in the movie is no accident. The truck that is used to transport the popcorn to Dr. Hathaway's new house has "Drain Experts Inc." emblazoned on its side. The company Chris interviews with at the beginning (and which funds Dr. Hathaway's show "Everything") is Darlington Electronic Instruments. The initials are rumored to have been inscribed by Caltech alumni at (among other places) the summit of Everest, on the moon and on many satellites and space probes manufactured at Jet Propulsion Labs (which sits just up the hill from Caltech in Pasadena). There has long been an unofficial contest to see who could place the letters DEI into the most prominent public view. Their placement in this film was with the full complicity of director Martha Coolidge and her Caltech advisor, David Marvit. See more »

Goofs

The coordinates entered into the computer to redirect the laser at the end of the movie actually point to a place in China near Dongkan Town (34D 10M 15.21S North, 119D 7M.) However, if treated as West longitude, the location is near Oxnard, California (slightly north of Point Mugu NAS). See more »

Quotes

Mitch: [holding his fake ID badge] What if these don't fool anybody?
Chris Knight: They shoot us.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Number One
Performed by Chaz Jankel
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

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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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