Monday, August 10, 2015

Real Genius (1985)

Director: Martha Coolidge
Writers:  Neal Israel, Par Proft, Peter Torokvei
Cast:       Val Kilmer, Gabriel Jarett, Michelle Meyrink, William Atherton


Mitch (Jarett) is a 15-year-old Physics genius who is given a scholarship, by Professor Hathaway (Atherton), and admitted into a very research intensive university. There he assists the professor to create a LASER weapon along with several other students, with the most prominent one being Chris Knight (Val Kilmer). Students don't exactly know the purpose of what they are building while the professor is employed by the CIA to develop this weapon which could target and kill people from space. 

The film is really like a high-school/college film with the difference that all of them are nerds. Still, it does follow genre conventions and Val Kilmer is the genius rebel among them. It is like 'Interstellar' of college films but in a good way. The creators have put considerable effort into making stuff like the science in it and the behavior of nerds as accurate as possible. Martha Coolidge actually spent months researching about LASER technology and policies of the CIA, and interviewed dozens of students at Caltech. 

The story is pretty basic and I saw the first hour of the film late night in a sleepy state and was quite underwhelmed by it. But the last forty minutes was really funny and worked really well for me. Val Kilmer is absolutely the highlight of the film with some great lines and mannerisms. The professor was also great as was the cute lady nerd in it played by Michelle Meyrink. Jarett's character is the protagonist character for us and probably the weakest link in the film. Overall, it is a pretty good watch despite the predictability and 'basic' nature of the plot. I would guess that people who saw it at the time will have tremendous nostalgia associated with the film.

Rating: 3.5/5