Trivia: Real Genius

  • About Lazlo's plan to flood the Frito-Lay sweepstakes with entries:
    • The Frito-Lay plan was Truth in Television - it was based on an actual pra...er, exploit by playful Caltech students. It was done in 1975, when printers (and the hardware/software to make them print 1.2 million entries) were much less common; the prank also led directly to the reworking of the legal boilerplate on future contests to prevent it from happening again.
    • The "printer" Lazlo was using was actually mechanically writing the entries in large quantities, making them physically the same as any normal, hand-written entry (possibly to show it as a loophole evading method of the same tactic explained above.)
    • Those familiar with Caltech's pranking history will know that, as in the film, the Real Life sweepstakes caper resulted in the students winning significantly fewer of the prizes than mathematically expected.

  • Billing Displacement: Val Kilmer had top billing, though Gabriel Jarret played the main character and had more screen time.
  • Dawson Casting: While Gabe Jarret was indeed 15 at the time of filming, Val Kilmer was 26.

  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
  • Science Marches On: The plot would be rather different if the attempt to hack the laser's targeting computer didn't require Chris and Mitch to actually go to the site and switch out its (very large) chips. Also, Lazlo's elaborate setup so he can fill out contest entry cards looks a bit silly now that you can go down and buy a fast, cheap printer at almost any store.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • When this film was made, a weapon that could precisely pinpoint an enemy's vehicle or residence by remote control still seemed like Science Fiction. Today its experimental space-to-ground laser, although still very advanced, would be an over-built boondoggle in comparison to drones, which can do the same job far more cheaply.
    • The ice-in-the-vending-machine trick would never work today, as modern vending machines in the U.S. check incoming coins' magnetic signature to ensure they're not slugs or Canadian currency.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: This movie could only have been made in the 80s, when the Strategic Defense Initiative was a pressing concern. Not to mention that computer technology has marched along quite significantly since then.