It’s getting close to the end of the year, so I thought I would toss one more Nostalgiathon 2012 review in! There’s still time to get in on this action, so check out Misty’s post or Andy’s post for details. In the meantime, sit back and bask in the memory of REAL GENIUS!
“Would you prepared if gravity reversed itself? The only thing I can’t figure out is how to keep the change in my pockets… I’ve got it! Nudity.”
Real Genius was one of a string of 80s movies where the theme is simple: geeks will rule. Weird Science and Revenge of the Nerds could easily be called siblings of Real Genius, but while those two were hilarious in their own right, Real Genius stands above them for many reasons.
First, there’s the story… Instead of going with the fantastical notion of creating a living doll or the cliche topic of jocks bullying the booksmart, RG tackles something a little more complex by focusing on the pressure placed on people of high intelligence, particularly to produce results. With wit and silliness, this comedy actually gives the viewer a thorough understanding of just how difficult it can be to be so smart that people judge you by your measurable IQ number.
“Sir, let me take this moment to compliment you on your fashion sense, particularly your slippers.”
Let’s move on to the cast!
Gabriel Jarret plays Mitch Taylor, a 15 year old wiz kid who is recruited to Pacific Tech, a fictional university that resembles Caltech. His center-part hairstyle, underbite, and consistent “deer-in-headlights” look give us the sense of a former big fish in a small pond entering an ocean. He seemed to have long ago accepted that other kids really didn’t like him, but now the bullies are the guys who suck up to the professor.
Val Kilmer plays Chris Knight, the top geek who decides to get a cool haircut and stop taking things so seriously, taking Mitch under his wing in an effort to avoid mental breakdowns. This was Kilmer’s third movie, and to be honest, I think it was his absolute best out of his entire career. His comedic timing was fantastic, and he got the vast majority of good lines. His natural good looks and surfer muscles make him less believable as a nerd, but we’ll overlook that for the sake of fun.
William Atherton plays Prof. Jerry Hathaway, and as always, this talented character actor plays the guy you want to punch in the face. Atherton also played the highly recognizable (and punchable) roles of Walter Peck from Ghostbusters and Richard Thornberg from Die Hard in the 80s. He was highly believable at the egotistical professor, constantly pushing his students to complete the project he needs to sell to the government.
Jon Gries plays Lazlo Hollyfeld, the genius hermit rumored to have lost his mind; Michelle Meyrink as Jordan, the jittery girl who can’t sleep; Patti D’Arbanville as the Geek Groupie; and Robert Prescott as Kent, the insufferable kiss-ass.
“Moles and trolls, moles and trolls, work, work, work, work, work. We never see the light of day. We plan this thing for weeks and all they want to do is study. I’m disgusted. I’m sorry but it’s not like me, I’m depressed. There was what, no one at the mutant hamster races, we only had one entry into the Madame Curie look-alike contest and he was disqualified later. Why do I bother?”
Finally, the QUOTES…
“I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, “… I drank what?””
Let me start by saying the reason I am doing this Nostalgiathon review at all is because several days ago I came across someone whose name is “Kent” and this led to a Facebook post where I mention this and that I then had difficulty refraining from quoting the movie. For hours after I posted, my friends and I were trading our favorite lines.
“Would you qualify that as a launch problem or a design problem?”
The lines in this movie are awesome! Sure, maybe you have a few good ones from Weird Science (I can think of one or two), maybe a couple from Revenge of the Nerds (I can’t think of any), but if you watched this more than twice I guarantee that you’ll have some of them take residence in your brain.
“Mitch, there’s something you need to know. Compared to you, most people have the IQ of a carrot.”
If you saw this movie more that 5 times, I also guarantee that you not only recognize all the quotes I’ve posted, but know the characters who said them, the inflection in their voices, and possibly the next few lines!
“Kent: You’re all a bunch of degenerates.
Chris Knight: *We* are? What about that time I found you naked with that bowl of Jell-O?”
I can’t say for sure how many times I watched this movie, but suffice it to say that it was enough to be able to run through Jordan’s introduction on the fly…
“Mitch: [as he helps a hallway sledder up from a crash] Are you okay?
Jordan: [Removing helmet and talking rapidly] No, not emotionally, no I’m not. I’m disappointed, not terribly, but still. It should have gone much further much faster. It’s okay, though, I know what the problem is. It’s obviously the drag coefficient. I’ll just have to redesign the blades. I can do that no problem. I can do that here. But after they’re designed I got to cut them and that takes tools and time. Do you know how long this stuff is supposed to last?”
I give this movie 5 out of 5 liquid nitrogen/dry ice coins!