Talk:Real Genius

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Walkie Talk[edit]

I haven't seen this film in ages, but I'm absolutely positive that there was a plot thread where a mischievous group of students place a miniature bone-conduction walkie-talkie inside of an enemy's (probably Kent's) dental fillings (after drugging him, of course.) They then used it to convince him that God was talking to him, causing him to go insane.

And I definitely recall a scene where he was at the professor's house, standing in front of the huge thing of popcorn waiting for a sign from above on "God's" orders (maybe he even put it there, I don't remember), when the laser came through the window (accompanied by an angelic "aaaah" in the soundtrack) and set off the popcorn.

Maybe I'm mixing this up with another film, but I'm pretty sure this was it. 14:00, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

This scene did occur, I've seen the movie like a zillion times.--Reverend Distopia 20:59, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
WP can't describe every scene in a movie, even one as good as Real Genius. David Spector (talk) 14:08, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

My own criticism of the article is that it omits the dozens of wonderful quotations. Here are examples: (Prof. Hathaway) "Mitch, there's something you need to know. Compared to you, most people have the IQ of a carrot."; (Prof. Hathaway) "I want to see more of you around the lab." (Chris) "Fine. I'll gain weight."; (Chris) "Kent puts his name on his license plate." (Mitch) "My mom does the same thing to my underwear." (Chris) "Your mom puts license plates in your underwear? How do you sit?"; (Mitch) "Did you know there's a guy living in our closet?" (Chris) "You've seen him too?" (Mitch) "Who is he?" (Chris) "Hollyfeld." (Mitch) "Why does he keep going into our closet?" (Chris) "Why do you keep going into our closet?" (Mitch) "To get my clothes - but that's not why he goes in there." (Chris) "Of course not, he's twice your size - your clothes would never fit him." (Mitch) "Yeah..." (Chris) "Think before you ask these questions, Mitch. Twenty points higher than me? Thinks a big guy like that can wear his clothes?" (see David Spector (talk) 14:08, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Jordan and Mich (sic)[edit]

Is the section on Jordan "technically" committing statutory rape on Mich really necessary? I think someone was trying to make some kind of point about the double standards between women and men who commit statutory rape, which violates neutrality. Not that I'm trying to condone statutory rape, or pederastia of any sort, I'm just saying that it has no real bearing on the discussion of the movie. I'm going to remove it, but I'll retain it here if someone objects.--Reverend Distopia 19:03, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

In many states, Jordan would have committed statutory rape if she made love to Mitch, as he was 15 and she was 19. (However, the relationship is portrayed in the film as largely innocent; also, females are rarely prosecuted for this crime, especially if they are under 21.)=
That's not the point, though. The point is, does the Wikipedia article about this film need to go into this mumbo-jumbo? I would strongly suggest that the answer is "no". — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 10:00, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Agree. This borders on original research. Also, it was Sherry and Mitch under discussion here, not Jordan and Mich. David Spector (talk) 14:13, 27 December 2011 (UTC)


The source for the claim that Kilmer wishes to make a sequel is a deadlink. Can someone replace with an existing source, or should the (now unsubstantiated) reference be removed? 17:41, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Link updated.K8 fan 22:55, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Removing questionable external link[edit]

Removing this here, pending some sort of verification.

* Lazlo's partial basis in Caltech Student Myth.

The problem with this link is that it's either horribly inaccurate (and therefore should not be linked here) or is a parody or joke (ditto). The "article" linked is purportedly the transcript of an interview conducted by "Harry Gross" on the NPR programme Fresh Air with somebody called "Chuck of Arabia". There are obvious problems with this, not the least of which is that the host of Fresh Air is TERRY Gross, not "Harry", and Terry is a woman. Her only predecessor as host of the program was also a woman, whose name was also not "Harry". The fact that Terry Gross is nationally acclaimed and reknown suggests that the "author" is making it up without benefit of research or is presenting unverified heresay. The "dialog" attributed to Gross isn't up to her usual literate standards, also suggesting heresay or invention. If someone can verify that TERRY Gross actually conducted such an interview (and that source should probably be NPR itself, not the homemade site of a massage group that runs a coffee shop and makes appearances at Burning Man), then feel free to return this link to the article. 23:19, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

[EDIT] On closer examination, the originating site belongs to "Chuck of Arabia". The "article" is listed on the site as "an essay by Chuck of Arabia"; other such "essays" include his assertion that his father learned the "secrets of the universe" from "50,000 year old disembodied Lemurians", and a photographic reminiscence of a hiking trip through Utah. This is not encyclopedic, and "Chuck of Arabia" is not a valid source for comment on an encyclopedia article. Please do not return this link to the article. 23:54, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

If it helps, I can vouch for the content of the external link above. The "LegendOfLazlo" page pretty accurately describes some events that took place at Caltech during the 71-72 period. I can vouch for these events because "Chuck" was my roommate. We had been assigned a room which had previously been a single room, and neither one of us liked sharing a space so small. This was given as one of his reasons for moving into the tunnels. His other reason was saving money by cancelling his room contract, but keeping his board contract so he could still eat meals with Dabney, and still be considered part of Dabney house. Chuck actually is his real first name, but he's not from Arabia, he was from someplace in Illinois. As has been pointed out, the Lazlo character is a composite of several "legends" or "relics" of Caltech lore. When I first saw the movie, my reaction was, "Hey, I was the guy with the roommate living in the tunnels under campus!" I thought it was pretty funny.

I can also vouch for the similarity of the wall paintings in the movie to actual wall paintings that used to adorn the halls of Dabney House at Caltech. Whether or not the producers actually copied some, or merely made something similar, it is accurate to say the wall paintings or graffiti in the movie are quite similar to those in Dabney House at Caltech in the 1970's. Some of the various college pranks depicted in the movie were also drawn from fact, again, in composite. Someone did actually ride a baby carriage down a flight of stairs, but in real life, the stairs were much higher and scarier. Mediasponge (talk) 01:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Mediasponge, thank you for your excellent contribution. Unfortunately, the WP no original research policy prevents the inclusion of any of it. I believe that WP policies, while well-intentioned, are far too restrictive and limit the detailed information that WP could otherwise supply. In this case, your information is falsifiable by other knowledgeable Caltech students, so such information, if false, would not be likely to survive for long. That makes it reasonably safe to publish. David Spector (talk) 14:24, 27 December 2011 (UTC)

Director Martha Coolidge, in a January, 2011 interview, states, "I insisted on researching the subject and we brought in top-level consultants from the military, weapons development experts and universities. We researched Cal Tech and MIT and based most of the stories, and the visual depiction of the school on Cal Tech, particularly on Dabney Hall. There is a page on the Cal Tech website that enumerates the specific Cal Tech inspired elements of the script, at least those that they have identified." This is a reliable source, even though a blog, since it is based on an interview. David Spector (talk) 18:51, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

organization of actor names in info box[edit]

What method should be used? Alpha? order of precedence as shown in the movie credits?--Marhawkman (talk) 07:18, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Nitrogen ice[edit]

Either it's a gaffe in the movie ("Is that liquid Nitrogen?" as Chris cuts a solid) or the question is about what's keeping the dry ice cool in the thermos, like imdb seems to think [1]. Nitrogen ice is never mentioned. — Laura Scudder 23:24, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I always went with "liquid nitrogen cooled ice". I always thought they were talking about the stuff inside the freezer when they referred to liquid nitrogen.--Marhawkman (talk) 10:03, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Mitch's "liquid nitrogen" comment was not referring to the composition of the ice cylinder. Mitch was referring to the contents of the metal dewar on the table, which would have contained liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen is often used in conjunction with other cold substances in order to act as a buffer between the cold substance (in this case, a cylinder of ice) and the outer environment. For example, the 1.2-Meter Millimeter-Wave Telescope uses a double dewar to protect the receiver: the inner dewar contains the liquid helium at 4K, and the outer dewar contains liquid nitrogen at 77K that acts as a buffer in order to maximize the liquid helium (which is far more expensive than the liquid nitrogen). This is a case of bad editing: the way the scene is put together, it definitely appears that Mitch is referring to the solid cylinder on the table (which is not dry ice, just regular ice--although probably is meant to be dry ice in the movie) rather than the cryogen in the dewar. The problem is that he appears to be looking at the ice rather than the dewar. It is a visual issue, not an actual script error. The "liquid nitrogen" comment makes perfect sense; it is the fact that they then immediately cut to a scene of Chris with the ice cylinder that makes it seem nonsensical. Tamarleigh (talk) 19:25, 10 February 2014 (UTC)


BUT Is it possible to pop popcorn with a lazer? Enough so that it could actually blow up a house. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:39, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Mythbusters tested it, and found that the answer is NO.--Marhawkman (talk) 02:47, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
As the article now explains, that isn't actually the case. The show proved that you could pop popcorn with a laser, but strongly suggested that a really powerful laser couldn't actually disrupt a house with a bunch of popcorn. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 10:05, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

POV Pushing? Who?[edit]

Please tell me, Marhawkman, how the debris of the busted-up house -- broken glass (windows were shown breaking), wood splinters (wood beams were shown splitting), and nails (presumption from the house coming apart semi-explosively) would not be mixed in with the popcorn?

Mythbusters showed that a house really couldn't be destroyed that way, and that's fine, but given that that's what the movie depicted, please explain how mentioning that debris dangerous to kids would be mixed in with the popcorn is "POV pushing", as you put it? It seems to me the opposite, that you're the one pushing a POV contrary to what would be fact if what was depicted had actually occurred. -- Davidkevin (talk) 02:45, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

commented on your talk--Marhawkman (talk) 20:22, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

"Also stars" in the infobox[edit]

In the film's opening credits, it says "also starring" after the first four actors (Kilmer, Jarret, Meyrink, and Atherton). Does that really mean the rest of the cast are stars of the film? I would delete Prescott, Gries, and Lauter from the infobox. —Codrdan (talk) 19:37, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't know if it's people from WikiProject Films or what, but someone around here has been giving a really ridiculous amount of deference to Hollywood butt-kissing jargon. I keep having to clean up infoboxes and cast lists sections and other text that lists so-and-so as "Special Guest Star" or whatever, just because the credits of the film/show in question used language like this. It's meaningless drivel. All it really signifies is "I think I'm special and I'm going to get a special mention in the credits and get paid extra, otherwise I won't be in the show". It's just like all the random whoevers that get listed as "executive producers" of various projects they never actually touched, but who have some prior tie to the intellectual property behind the production. WP really, really, really needs to not brown its own nose. Credit people for what they can be proven to have done, without weaselwording and without inflating their roles. Neutral and even. No minimizing of people's importance, but no more exaggeration and "Extra-Super-Special Guest Buttmunching" either. — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 10:14, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I started a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Films/Style guidelines#How many actors in Cast section?. Is that what you're talking about? I'm with you on keeping fake stars out of the infobox, but it would be good to have some decent guidelines. —Codrdan (talk) 11:03, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
yeah, "also stars" is a euphemism for any minor role in a movie. But in many cases the Hollywood distinction between minor and major roles has more to do with who got paid most for their appearance. "minor" characters might get just as much screentime as the major ones. I don't see why we need to mirror Hollywood.--Marhawkman (talk) 18:22, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

The line to Point Mugu[edit]

In the Trivia section, what's the other point on the line to the house's coordinates? There has to be one more point (the plane's location) to make the inclusion of the naval station notable. Do we know where the plane was when it fired on the house? —Codrdan (talk) 23:52, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

There wasn't any plane and there isn't any house. It didn't really happen. Trying to determine a real-world location for a fictional plane that just as easily could have been a space station or a stratospheric balloon or whatever, with a stroke of the editorial pen, is futile (or worse). — SMcCandlish Talk⇒ ʕ(Õلō Contribs. 10:16, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
The trivia point is about the coordinates, not the plane or the house. I'm just trying to figure out what it means. —Codrdan (talk) 11:07, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm gonna have to try finding it. It looks like the movie makers DID use real maps/aerial photos. but they might have used fake coordinates and maybe didn't give coord for more than one end.--Marhawkman (talk) 18:19, 3 March 2010 (UTC)


This is unsourced and so I've moved it here until it can be properly cited.--J.D. (talk) 18:22, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

The fictitious university Pacific Tech ("Pacific Institute of Technology") has itself become a theme. The name has been used several times in films and television shows when directors, writers, or producers wanted to depict a science-oriented university without using a real institution's name. The name Pacific Tech was used in The War of the Worlds and Galactica 1980.

[Deleted film content here & restored to #Plot. —Codrdan (talk)]

The themes in the film are part of the plot. The film is the source. —Codrdan (talk) 21:24, 19 May 2010 (UTC)


This is unsourced and so I've moved it here until it can be properly cited.--J.D. (talk) 18:22, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

In Mythbusters episode 125, first cablecast on 17 June 2009, Kari Byron asked if Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara were "familiar with a little film called Real Genius?", to which Imahara replied "I've patterned my life after it."

In that episode, they tried to determine whether the final scene in the film, the destruction of Dr. Hathaway's house with laser-popped popcorn, is actually possible. First they used a ten-watt laser to pop a single kernel wrapped in aluminum foil, showing that popping corn is possible with a laser, then they tested a scaled-down model of a house. The popcorn was popped through induction heating because a sufficiently large laser was not available. he result was that the popcorn was unable to expand sufficiently to break glass, much less break open a door or move the house off its foundation. Instead, it ceased to expand and then simply charred.

It was also specifically stated in the program that a five-megawatt laser still did not exist, even in military applications, and that the largest military laser they knew of was 100 kilowatts.


This is unsourced and so I've moved it here until it can be properly cited. Not to mention it is in list form.--J.D. (talk) 18:22, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
  • The coordinates the team redirects the laser to were 34°10′15.21″N 119°7′W, which is on a line that crosses Naval Air Station Point Mugu.
Source, please? Meaningless anyway, since any point on Earth is on a "line" that crosses (includes) any other point on Earth. (Also, the shortest and straightest "line" (meridian) between any two points on a sphere is called a Great Circle Route.) David Spector (talk) 18:01, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The solid xenon-halogen laser proposed and built by Chris in the latter half of the film was actually in scientific development at the time. Real Genius was later given a citation in an academic publication which detailed the scientific work (citation number 7 in the paper) [1]
Just because an idea is considered or evaluated by scientists doesn't mean it's "actually in scientific development." The efficient and powerful single laser described in the film doesn't exist and may not ever exist. It's great science fiction, though. The article could stand being expanded. David Spector (talk) 18:01, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  • A similar concept to the aircraft mounted laser is in development today, the Boeing YAL-1.
It does look like a similar concept (except for its use of multiple inefficient lasers in its COIL), but stating so is Original Research unless a reliable source for the statement can be found. David Spector (talk) 18:01, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

All of these putative trivia are invalid as trivia. This movie has plenty of really good trivia, though, and wonderful quotations. David Spector (talk) 18:01, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Dormitory "based on"?[edit]

In what way was "the dorm in the film...based on Dabney House at Caltech"? I've never been there (though I've heard all the "DEI" stories), but I can tell you the dormitory scenes were all filmed at two of the dorms at my alma mater, Pomona College in Claremont, CA: Mudd-Blaisdell and Harwood Court. I lived in Harwood Court my junior and senior years and loved seeing all the familiar hallways. (talk) 19:46, 29 April 2013 (UTC) Oops, wasn't logged in! Middlenamefrank (talk) 19:47, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Where it was filmed is not the point. The claim is that the behavior and atmosphere are based on Dabney House and Caltech. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 01:42, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Pacific Tech[edit]

The Wikipedia article on the War of the Worlds movie, 1953, mentions the academic affiliation of Gene Barry's character as Pacific Tech, which would make the use in Real Genius a reference to that work. War of the Worlds and Real Genius are mentioned as cultural references for Caltech (as Pacific Tech) here: Tomligon (talk) 16:00, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ M. E. Fajardo, V. A. Apkarian, Simulated Radiative Dissociation and Gain Measurements of Xe2Cl in Solid Xenon, Chemical Physics Letters, 134, 51 (1987).