The movie Real Genius (1985, written by Neal Isreal & Pat Proft, directed by Martha Coolidge) is a flawed but funny romp through some of the idiosyncracies of life in an intellectual pressure-cooker environment modeled on that at Caltech. It's a silly flick, largely forgotten ... except around our house where it provides material for countless out-of-context quotes and jokes, as well as comforting reassurance in times of stress. One of the memorable lines of serious dialog, for instance, is spoken by "Chris" (Val Kilmer): "When you're smart, people need you."

Although the protagonists necessarily occupy center stage in the plot of Real Genius, I find myself identifying strongly with a couple of the peripheral characters. "Lazlo Hollyfeld", for instance, is the naïve über-brainiac who lives in the warren of steam tunnels under campus. I won't spoil the film's conclusion by revealing where he ends up. (Suffice it to say that it's close to the archetypal 'Techer's fantasy dream.)

But far more charming than anybody else in Real Genius is young "Jordan" (played by Michelle Meyrink). She's a nerdy hyperkinetic insomniac girl who chatters along at the speed of light, is oblivious to most social norms, juggles far too many simultaneous impossible projects, and suffers from innumerable insecurities. Her introductory self-description:

I never sleep, I don't know why. I had a roomate and I drove her nuts, I mean really nuts, they had to take her away in an ambulance and everything. But she's okay now, but she had to transfer to an easier school, but I don't know if that had anything to do with being my fault. But listen, if you ever need to talk or you need help studying just let me know, 'cause I'm just a couple doors down from you guys and I never sleep, okay?

Hey, that's me!

(see also SeeingStars1 (10 Jan 2000), FinalExams (3 May 2002), UnclosetedSkeletons (11 May 2001), LensManic (16 Jul 2001), CollegeCollage3 (29 Sep 2001), ...)

TopicArt - TopicPersonalHistory - TopicProfiles - 2003-01-23

kewl page - not many people actually get into it - those of us that went to tech in 85 relate heavily - met the Asian guy at a Tech party also.

(correlates: Stark Raving Mad, Comments on UltramarathonMan, HeavySleeper, ...)