Real Genius (1985)

PG   |    |  Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi


Real Genius (1985) Poster

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.

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7/10
27,987

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  • Val Kilmer and Gabriel Jarret in Real Genius (1985)
  • Val Kilmer in Real Genius (1985)
  • Val Kilmer in Real Genius (1985)
  • Robert Prescott in Real Genius (1985)
  • Val Kilmer in Real Genius (1985)
  • William Atherton and Gabriel Jarret in Real Genius (1985)

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18 July 2001 | Aldanoli
10
| More than just a guilty pleasure of a movie . . .
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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