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Real Genius (1985)

Teenage geniuses deal with their abilities while developing a high-powered laser for a university project. When their professor intends to turn their work into a military weapon, they decide to ruin his plans.

Director:

Martha Coolidge

Writers:

Neal Israel (screenplay), Neal Israel (story) | 3 more credits »
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Val Kilmer ... Chris Knight
Gabriel Jarret ... Mitch Taylor (as Gabe Jarret)
Michelle Meyrink ... Jordan Cochran
William Atherton ... Prof. Jerry Hathaway
Jon Gries ... Lazlo Hollyfeld (as Jonathan Gries)
Patti D'Arbanville ... Sherry Nugil
Stacy Peralta ... Shuttle Pilot
Daniel Ades Daniel Ades ... Laser Ray Victim
Andres Aybar Andres Aybar ... Bartender
Louis Giambalvo ... Major Carnagle
Ed Lauter ... David Decker
Charles Shull Charles Shull ... Air Force General
Beau Billingslea ... George
Charles Parks Charles Parks ... Larry
Sean Frye ... Boy at Science Fair
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Storyline

Mitch Taylor is one of the youngest students ever accepted to a university known for its programs for geniuses. He partners up with his roommate, science club legend Chris Knight, on a project to develop a high-powered laser. Together with their hyperkinetic friends, they employ their intellects in the pursuit of bigger blasts, practical jokes, and a deeper understanding of what real genius means. When they find out that their professor intends to turn their work over to the military for use as a weapon, they decide to get even. Written by Lordship <lordship@juno.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Who ELSE can turn lasers into light shows, aircraft into armchairs, and high-tech into hijinks? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Real Genius See more »

Filming Locations:

Claremont, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,557,180, 11 August 1985

Gross USA:

$12,952,019

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,952,019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Delphi III Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to The '80s Movie Rewind website, "in a trailer for the film there are several scenes not appearing in the final cut, among them one where Val Kilmer's character is floating outside a dorm window sitting in a deckchair carried by helium balloons". See more »

Goofs

When the gang are waiting outside Dr. Hathaway's house, the zipper on Jordan's top is at varying levels between shots. See more »

Quotes

Professor Hathaway: What's that smell?
Chris Knight: [sniffs under armpit] Must be the dog, sir.
Professor Hathaway: That's popcorn.
Chris Knight: Yes sir, I know...
Professor Hathaway: Well, get it away from me! I hate popcorn! I can't stand popcorn!
Chris Knight: [Chris drops the bag of popcorn on the steps] Good. Now I know what to get you for your birthday.
See more »

Alternate Versions

An edited version of Real Genius has appeared on American television. Some of the language has been altered, for instance "penis" to "pinkie", "bastard" to "bonehead", and "Jesus" to "God". Also, instead of the children playing in the popcorn as the final credits roll, we see a long-distance high-angle shot of the Professor's house as he comes home and discovers the popcorn. See more »

Connections

References The Mighty Mouse Playhouse (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

One Night Love Affair
Written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance
Performed by Bryan Adams
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More than just a guilty pleasure of a movie . . .
18 July 2001 | by AldanoliSee all my reviews

Siskel and Ebert once ran a special show entitled "Movies I'm Embarrassed to Admit I Liked." I suppose that if I composed such a list of guilty pleasures, this one would be one of them . . . but upon reflection, it's really a lot better than that. Fifteen year-old science prodigy Mitch (Gabe Jarret) is recruited by ambitious college professor Jerry Hathaway (William Atherton, in yet another of his patented roles as a loathsome character) to work on the professor's prize laser project, not knowing that Hathaway is really developing a government weapon. Along the way, Mitch is mentored by Chris (Val Kilmer), another prodigy a few years his senior who teaches Mitch how to loosen up.

This could have degenerated into nothing more than just another teen revenge comedy, but there's so much more: the dialogue is laced with sharp wit; there are some lovely scenes that have nothing to do with the story yet are carefully set up, almost as blackouts (e.g., Mitch goes to a lecture at which a few students have left tape recorders instead of attending; later, at another lecture there are more tape recorders than students; and, in a final scene, one large tape recorder gives the lecture to a room populated by nothing but other small recorders!); and throw-away scenes that make you want to stop and back up the story to watch again (e.g., Chris off-handedly cutting a slice off a bar of dry ice to make a slug for the coffee machine).

It's also one of the few movies to boast the presence of the memorable Michelle Meyrink -- as Jordan, the "girl-nerd" who made being smart and female (and still quite sexy) something to emulate. And there's Tears for Fears' great song, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" providing the perfect coda as the closing credits begin to roll . . . . Yes: really now, what's there to be embarrassed about?


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