Real Genius (USA, 1985, TriStar) captures the culture of college nerds better than any other movie I’ve seen. Many characters, anecdotes, and even graffiti come from Caltech students that helped with production. The movie’s also hilarious. Val Kilmer never should have stopped doing comedies. The space race–era science may not hold up, but the characters and the comedy do. Available on iTunes and Amazon Video.
Pixar’s Wall-E (USA, 2008, Pixar) is one of the best animated movies ever made. While technically a children’s film, adults can enjoy both the story and the technical achievements. It’s both a robot love story and a cautionary tale with characters cute enough for kids and interesting enough for adults. Wall-E pushed the boundaries of visual storytelling with no characters speaking for the first half of the film. Recent Pixar movies have been sequels and retreads, but the studio can do amazing things with a new idea. I hope they try something this ambitious again soon. Available on Vudu and Google Play.
- Adam Haberman
- Assistant professor of biology. University of San Diego