One of my all-time favorite movies is the 1985 nerds-with-lasers classic Real Genius starring a then-unknown Val Kilmer in only his second acting gig after 1984's Top Secret and just prior to his breakout role as Tom "Iceman" Kazansky in Top Gun.
My brother and I worshipped this movie. Heck, I still do but I just don't have the time to watch it that I once did. But I can still quote this movie verbatim. And not just the lines from the movie, but I can sing most of the songs. Well, I call it "singing" anyway. Others might call it "nails on a chalkboard," but po-TAY-toh/po-TAH-toh.
One of the biggest travesties about this film, other than the fact that it's criminally underappreciated, is that its brilliant soundtrack was never released on vinyl or cassette (yes, kiddies, those were the de facto music media back in the day). And this was the heyday of soundtracks. Check out these gems...
- Carmen McRae - "You Took Advantage of Me" - admittedly the oddball here but it works in the context of the movie
- Y&T - "Summertime Girls" - so who ripped off who... Van Halen or Y&T?
- The Romantics - "Talking in Your Sleep"
- The System - "The Pleasure Seekers"
- The Call - "The Walls Came Down"
- Bryan Adams - "One Night Love Affair" - I may not like Adams' sappy Robin Hood era crap, but Reckless is one of the best albums of the 1980s, IMHO
- Don Henley - "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" - One of my all-time favorite songs
- Chaz Jankel - "Number One" - a standard from the laser-testing final exam montage
- Carla Olson and the Textones - "Standing In the Line"
- Tears for Fears - "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" - LOVE LOVE LOVE!
Fans have attempted to make their own soundtracks on cassette and CD through the years but it was never easy to find all the songs until the advent of MP3s and the release of legal copies of almost all the songs to download services such as iTunes. But that was still never ideal. Especially not if you want to share the wealth.
A couple weeks ago, I decided I was going to start a custom playlist on Spotify that would contain all the songs from Real Genius. Heck, if Spotify didn't have them all, no one would. And Spotify is really cool about people sharing custom playlists. So I fired up the app only to discover... someone beat me to the punch! Actually, lots of someones beat me to the punch as there are quite a few playlists to this effect.
I've been listening to the list by Jesuiscoralyne -- which is the one that comes up when you search for "Real Genius" within Spotify -- more than just a bit lately and I love it. I can also mentally envision every single song within the context of the film. It may be time to break out the DVD.