Must-see movies are futuristic classics that shouldn't be missed. Of course, not every must-see is perfect. That's why we've rated them 1-5 on the patented "crunchy goodness" scale. Written by James Rocchi.

Title: Real Genius
Date: 1985

Vitals: Porky's goes dorky in this celebration of nerd culture, as a group of engineering students (including a young-and-goofy Val Kilmer) race to finish a high-power laser for their demanding Prof William Atherton ... without knowing he's going to sell it to the Pentagon as a remote assassination device. Mixing campus hi-jinks with high-tech, Real Genius has a dated — yet very real — charm.

Famous Names: Martha Coolidge (Director) Val Kilmer, William Atherton, Jon Gries (Cast)


Crunchy Goodness: 3

Life Lesson: Always check your optics.

Most Painfully Dated Moment: The end credits, a feel-good slo-motion scene set to Tears for Fears' 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World.'

Memorable Product Tie-In: Real Genius may be the best-ever ad for Jiffy Pop, for reasons that a single watching will make abundantly clear.

A Guide to the Real Genius/Caltech Connection


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