Real Genius is a likable, frothy entrant in the very popularteen-movie genre of the 1980s. For me, this film and every one of its counterparts ignite a massive feeling of nostalgia of a time when films were so bad they were good. Real Genius is the perfect example of the kind of films that woke up a real feeling of fantasy and escapism that I had as a child, the themes of science and technology only act to amplify those feelings.
This was made at a time where technology and gadgetry were still a novelty but it was also right on the cusp of the age we live in now where we have so much technology that is capable of so many things. As a result there is a wonderful feeling within in this story that absolutely anything is possible as long as you have the tech know-how.
Real Genius was obviously not as commercially successful as some other films of its genre, because up until I saw it on Netflix I had never heard of it, which is a shame because although it is not as edgy as some of the films out around this time, it is still very entertaining.
The script is somewhat against the norm in focusing on college and not high school, and the film isn’t concerned with the usual clichés of sex, drinking, and partying; instead drawing the spotlight to how cool self evaporating ice is. The film has a healthy dose of absurdity that keeps, what could be a potentially dry subject matter, fresh and exciting to watch.
Val Kilmer steals the show here with out a doubt with his memorably off-the-wall character who is actually the one genius with a perspective on life. The quick wit and one-liners are sometimes laugh out loud funny and are delivered with perfect comic timing.
Real Genius is just one of those feel good films, that only the kooky bright colours of the eighties can deliver, and it isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. Watch it and have some fun.