Martha Coolidge’s REAL GENIUS Celebrates 35th Anniversary – Brandy McDonnell reports

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One of my favorite movies of the 1980s turns 35 this month, and unlike many coming-of-age stories of its era, Martha Coolidge’s Real Genius is a quotable comedy that provides big laughs without the discomfort of wildly inappropriate material.

As I noted in my column for the film’s 30th anniversary, Coolidge’s film about two teenage science whizzes (Val Kilmer and Gabriel Jarret) who are tricked by their duplicitous professor (William Atherton) into building a laser for a top-secret military assassination program also illustrates how far we’ve come technologically – and how far we still have to go in terms of gender equality in the film industry.

Although she has shown a knack for helping discover and develop A-list talent — Kilmer in Real Genius, Nicolas Cage in Valley Girl (1983) and Laura Dern in Rambling Rose (1991) — Coolidge has never achieved the name recognition and acclaim of many of her male counterparts.

Her other feature films include Lost in Yonkers (1993), based on Neil Simon’s award-winning play; Angie (1994), a feminist film starring Geena Davis as a woman about to embark on single motherhood; Out to Sea (1997), a comedy starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon; The Prince & Me (2004), a Julia Stiles romantic comedy; and Material Girls (2006), a comedy starring sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell writes features and reviews movies, music, events and the arts for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma's statewide newspaper, and, the state's largest news Web site. Raised on a farm near Lindsay, Okla., she started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school's 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News, and worked for the local weekly through high school. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she worked for The Daily O'Collegian and earned her journalism degree with honors. She worked for three years at small Oklahoma dailies The Edmond Sun and Shawnee News-Star. In 2002, she joined The Oklahoman as a features reporter, writing about movies, the arts, events, families and nonprofits. She moved to The Oklahoman's entertainment desk in 2007. In 2004, she won a prestigious Journalism Fellowship in Child & Family Policy from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Along with her membership in AWFJ, she also is a founding member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Brandy writes The Week In Women blog for