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flick pick |
Real Genius 1985
Directed by:
Martha Coolidge
Written by: Neal Israel, Pat Proft, Peter Torokvei
Starring: Val Kilmer, Gabe Jarrett, William Atherton
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: comedy
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:  dumb but fun

Plot synopsis Fifteen-year-old physics genius Mitch Taylor is the second-youngest student ever to be accepted at prestigious Pacific Coast University.  He’s been personally recruited by the smarmy Professor Hathaway to join a small team of the brightest young minds in physics as they work on a project to develop a high-powered laser. One of these fellow geniuses is the legendary Chris Knight, an eccentric, wise-cracking junior who now spends as much – if not more – of his time devising novel ways to have fun as he does working in the lab.  Chris apparently sees a little of his younger self in the socially-inept, bookish Mitch, and takes it upon himself to teach Mitch that brains can be used for a lot more than succeeding at schoolwork. Soon Mitch finds himself getting distracted by dorm-hallway ice skating, Tanning Invitationals -- a makeshift pool party that the physics students have put together in one of the big lecture halls -- and a hyperkinetic, but strangely charming sophomore named Jordan. Meanwhile, Dr. Hathaway's getting more than a little impatient that his laser project -- secretly funded by the military to be used as a powerful weapon-- isn't quite near completion yet, and begins putting the pressure on the students, who haven't a clue that their work will be used to such evil ends.

Review A long, long time ago, before movie-viewers were ever tortured with such cinematic atrocities as The Saint, The Real McCoy, and At First Sight, Val Kilmer was one very funny guy. Just rent Real Genius if you want proof. The script, while providing little in the way of an interesting plot, provides plenty of hilarious one-liners for Val to show-off his comedic timing and irresistibly cocky grin (my brothers and their friends, all of whom watched this video at least once a year growing up, seem convinced that there is no situation in life that can't be summed up by a Chris Knight/RG quote.)  But what made Real Genius such a great movie to watch when we were pre-teens/teens -- and particularly, smart teens -- was that it made geekdom seem fun, way before geek became a fashion statement. These geeks enjoy life, not by trying to live up to someone else's definition of cool, but by being themselves. They make dumb inventions, stage elaborate parties, and play amazing pranks. They're always using their brains ... though you won't have to when you revisit this fluffy but fun 80s teen comedy. True, I suspect you have to have a little geek in you to truly appreciate this movie, but even us geeks like a little bit of mindless entertainment, sometimes.— reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun 

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