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Real Genius
Real Genius (Soundtrack)

Real Genius Review

Directed By: Martha Coolidge.
Starring: Val Kilmer, Gabe Jarret, Michelle Meyrink, William Atherton.

Synopsis: When 15-year-old science genius Mitch Taylor (Gabe Jarrett) is recruited by the pompous Professor Hathaway (William Atherton) to be part of a special research team, he has no idea he will be working on a top secret military weapon. Enrolling at Pacific Tech College, he meets his fellow whiz kid classmates, including infamous senior Chris Knight (Val Kilmer), whose intelligence and irreverent behavior are legendary; they become roommates, despite their different approaches to life. When Hathaway threatens to expel Chris for bad behavior, the two brains join forces to finish the special laser project before it is too late, in the process unveiling secrets about the project that inspire them to plot an elaborate revenge.

It seems lately a few friends and I have been having a weekly (well, almost weekly, depends on schedules) DVD movie night. With the recent release of Real genius this was one of the titles bought and viewed.

Now, I haven't seen the film since it was first issued and my (very faulty) memory didn't have overly fond memories of the film. As the film started it was like watching a film for the first time, save for the fact that I had pretty much total recall of the ending's hard to forget the big popcorn finale.

Re-watching this film fifteen years, fifteen years...I have to say I was totally glad I sat down and took the time and effort to re-visit a film I would never have watched again if it hadn't been for 'movie night'! Not only was it a reminder of how good Val Kilmer was (and probably still is if he would let himself go) with comedy but how much I miss this kind of comedy. A fast, witty, sharp goofy comedy without nudity, blood, any fluids from any's only fifteen years and still the whole form of teen comedies has travelled a road so rife with sameness that Robert Frost is spinning in his grave.

Mitch Taylor (Gabriel Jarret): The weirdest thing just happened to me.
Chris Knight (Val Kilmer): Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a pyramid, with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?
Mitch Taylor: No...
Chris Knight: Why, am I the only one who has that dream?

Loosely based on Cal-Tech kids who are the 'real genius' creatures of the real world according to those who went to Cal-Tech, every student seems dementedly unique in their own way. Chris Knight has been busy mixing philosophy with science to have a life. Mitch Taylor is fifteen and hasn't realized that there is more to life than finding the 'scientific answers'. Jordan Cochran (Michelle Meyrink) is a non-stop verbal machine who can't sleep and fills her insomniac moments with floor waxing and sweater knitting, not to mention odd little inventions. Everybody is given goofy moments and traits to play with and that is part of the charm of Real Genius.

Two fascinating things about this film, aside from the concept that intelligence is a good thing rather than a hindrance in life. The first is Kilmer, how I miss the goofy side of Kilmer...he was great in Top Secret and he is great here...and then no comedy from him ever again.

The other is Michelle Meyrink who seemingly stopped acting in 1988 after a series of films that never quite performed at the box-office. In watching Real Genius one wonders if Michelle and Alyson Hannigan are somehow related, their performances are so similar. Michelle as Jordan Cochran and Hannigan as Michelle Flaherty in the American Pie films.

My advice is do yourself a favour, pick up Real Genius again, watch it, listen carefully to the great buried one-liners and then recommend it to others. A solid four out of five film.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:
Bonus Trailers
Interactive Menus
Scene Selections
Widescreen 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
Standard 1.33:1
Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC]

The DVD Review:

First you get the movie, which is a plus. However, the only other real perk here is the fact that you can watch it wide screen and/or pan and scan by flipping the disc over.

Other than that, nothing to really report.

No commentary by the director which is a shame because I think a lot could be said about this film. However, a bonus is no commentary by Val Kilmer who is a great actor but has become a weird man to watch in interviews and I'm not sure I would listen to two hours of his ramblings.

Finally, the only real beef I have about this DVD version other than the lack of perks is the decision to re-vamp the orginal poster art and go with this hokey, feminine picture of Val Kilmer's face. This seems to be a trend in the industry...personally I prefer seeing the orginal poster/artwork on the DVD boxes. If someone from the studio's is this complaint and heed my advice...stop changing the posters!

Evil Ash

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