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Real Genius

4.6 out of 5 stars 657 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

When a group of crazy college geniuses put their heads together, almost anything can happen. Hold on for a freewheeling, uproarious look at just how much mischief a bunch of high-IQers can concoct. Chris (Val Kilmer) is the top brain who just wants to party, Mitch (Gabe Jarret) is the 16-year-old whiz kid, and Lazlo (Jonathan Gries), America's number one brain, literally lives in a world of his own ... Chris' closet. Supposedly hard at work on a lab project, they still find time to turn the dorm into an ice-skating rink, dismantle a nerd's car and reassemble it in his room, and throw a beach party in the auditorium complete with a lagoon and bikini-clad beauties. When the geniuses discover that their unscrupulous mentor Professor Hathaway (William Atherton) has had them working on a secret weapon for the military, they plot an elaborate revenge. Their plan culminates in an incredible scheme that outsmarts the military and convinces the professor that it doesn't pay to fool with a Real Genius!

Special Features

Digitally Mastered Audio & Anamorphic Video
Remastered in High Definition
Bonus Trailers
Interactive Menus
Scene Selections

Product Details

  • Actors: William Atherton, Patti D'Arbanville, Val Kilmer, Gabe Jarrett
  • Directors: Martha Coolidge
  • Producers: Brian Grazer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, English, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (657 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000065U1Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Real Genius" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John L. Maillard on April 10, 2002
Format: DVD
"Real Genius", along with Amy Heckerling's brilliant "Johnny Dangerously", is one of those comedies that never seemed to grasp the audience of other famous '80s flicks like "Caddyshack" or "Back to School". Well, now that it's on DVD, it's a perfect time to see what you've been missing.
"Real Genius" is a simple story really. It's about a 15-year-old whiz named Mitch who goes off to this technology school, where's he's forced to fit in with all of the other brainiacs who spend most of their time simply being smart. While there, he meets up with fellow genius Chris Knight, played with full gusto by Val Kilmer. Chris and Mitch are hand-picked by their professor and head genius, Jerry Hathaway, to lead a team of students that will develop a laser. Seemingly harmless, the team later learns that Hathaway has his own agenda for the laser (actually, the military's agenda), and they attempt to spoil the plot as only really smart kids can.
Mitch and Chris' on-screen chemistry works, simply because as Chris puts it, "I was just like you." Kilmer's Chris Knight is the rebel of the group, scheming against the brown-nosing Kent and causing Hathaway's major headaches throughout the film. Kilmer's facial expressions are some of the best of the decade, and he's got some classic lines to boot. It's too bad Kilmer went on to things like "The Saint". His best work is in "Real Genius". Consider this: When Hathaway tells him he needs to be "seeing more of him at the lab," Kilmer replies, "Fine. I'll gain weight." Oh yeah, comedy baby.
So if you haven't seen "Real Genius" yet, I urge you to rent the DVD when it arrives. And make sure you're eating popcorn.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Real Genius is definitely a great film. I don't know that I would say it is Kilmer's best, but it does show off his considerable comic talent, and I consider it one of his best.
It is a delightful college romp with geeks aplenty, and the humor is a lot classier than Animal House, which is another good college flick. It is full of subtle and not so subtle satire on society, such as the botched saying ("like shooting ducks in a barrel") in the slick video boardroom presentation for the weapon concept, and the remark from one general after hearing about having a working weapon system by June - "Don't ask me, I haven't had a working weapon system since Korea."
I can't add anything about the Cal Tech trivia, but it did seem to me that the limo used for the weapon test looked an awful lot like JFK's ill-fated Dallas limo. Veiled commentary about the Military-Industrial Complex?
There is, of course, lots of geek/college humor, but nothing really gross. The sexual humor and references are pretty light, well handled, and fit in with the story. The humor covers the social commentary well, and the film makes its statements without preaching. It is a film I recommend to all students entering college. It is also one of those films that I watch regularly to boost my spirits and have a good time. It reminds one not to take onself too seriously. Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
Maybe it's just that I was in college when this film came out, maybe it's that I'm a big Val Kilmer fan, but whatever the reason, Real Genius is one of the funniest films ever made. It contains what I consider to be the single funniest line ever put on film ("Was it a dream where you see yourself in sort of sun God robes on a pyramid, with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you? Why am I the only person that has that dream?"). The mostly never heard from again cast (aside from Kilmer and Atherton) does a great job, and Martha Coolidge directs her best effort with a perfect contemporary soundtrack (though another reviewer is *definitely* right about the music being mixed far higher than the dialog). All of that said, it is an incredible crime against all people my age (mid to late 30s) that this DVD has **NO** features. An interview or commentary by Kilmer would be a must (not to mention director Coolidge). Kilmer told *great* stories at the time about his research for the role with the brainiacs at Pepperdine ... those should be ON THE DVD. What is it about these studio people that they don't get the whole point of the DVD medium. Putting just the film on DVD makes the studio look stupid, makes it clear they don't care about the film, and it's insulting to those of us who have been anxiously awaiting this release.
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Format: DVD
This is one of those movies that stays fun no matter how many times you see it year after year. Val Kilmer had made a couple of movies before this one, but this was his breakout role as the genius Chris Knight - a senior in college working on a project for his professor that he is largely indifferent to completing. Along comes the underage freshman, Mitch Taylor (wonderfully played by Gabriel Jarrett), who has been recruited to help finish the project.
The movie is really about Mitch finding his way in a high-pressure college situation. He endures Kent, the jerk that tortures him and who works in the same lab. Kent is not untalented, but not a genius like Chris or Mitch and resents the favoritism genius claims. Kent tries to get attention by sucking up to Prof. Hathaway (brilliantly played in all his corruption by William Atherton), but never gets what he is seeking.
As just one minor example of the riches in this movie is the scene when Mitch is going to a packed math class. Soon people start bringing small tape recorders to class and not attending. Mitch is one of the few actually listening to the prof. Finally, Mitch is the only one in the class, even the prof becomes a reel-to-reel tape player with a sign attached that says encourages the students to listen carefully. While changes in technology would make that scene impossible today, it is still wonderfully effective.
Mitch also meets Jordan, a girl who is so hyperactive she doesn't sleep, finds time to invent things as well as resurface the floor in her dorm room. Jordan is magnificently played by Michelle Myrink and is one of those characters you wish you knew in real life as a friend. Although, frankly, Jordan would be exhausting to know.
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