Life Lessons From the Movies: Real Genius

For no particular reason, we turn our attention to just how many life lessons there are to be learned from the 1980s Val Kilmer classic.

If you’re not familiar with Real Genius, you need to get right with God immediately. Directed by Martha Coolidge and starring a young Val Kilmer, the movie is a love letter to geeks before geeks were cool. Valmer plays Chris Knight, a hot shot science prodigy at a prestigious college who has been tasked by his professor to help achieve a breakthrough in laser technology. Knight thinks that’s just for the sake of science, but Prof. Hathaway (William Atherton) has other motivations. Assisting Knight is Mitch Taylor (Gabriel Jarret), who isn’t even old enough to graduate high school but is so gifted he’s been accepted into Hathaway’s advanced program.

Between Coolidge’s direction, Neal Israel’s script and the performances by Kilmer and others, the movie breezes along with an endless string of comedic situations and endlessly quotable dialogue. Some of that dialogue offers important lessons that can help you navigate a few of life’s trickier social moments, such as those below.

For When Your Bestie Doesn’t Like Your “Some Personal News” LinkedIn Update

“It’s a moral imperative.”

For When The Side Hustle Becomes The Main Hustle

“It’s yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility.”

Val Kilmer GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

For When You Remember It’s Time to Backup Your Hard Drive

“Would you prepared if gravity reversed itself?”

Val Kilmer 80S GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

For When You Sigh and Decide to Get Nachos at the Movie Theater

“I hate popcorn! I can’t stand popcorn!”

Val Kilmer Popcorn GIF by Alamo Drafthouse - Find & Share on GIPHY

For When You Break the News Someone Else Responded To Your Craigslist Ad First

“A girl’s gotta have her standards.”

For When Your Coworkers Wonder How You Get So Much Done

“I never sleep, I don’t know why. I had a roommate 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?”


Author: Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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