August 21, 1999 – The Disney Chanel Original Movie Genius Premieres
“Science and hockey: my two favorite things in the world are in the same building!”
On August 21, 1999, the Disney Channel Original Movie Genius premiered. It was written by John Rieck, Jim Lincoln, and Dan Studney, and directed by Rod Daniel. It starred Trevor Morgan as Charlie Boyle, Emmy Rossum as Claire Addison, Charles Fleischer as Dr. Krickstein, and Yannick Bisson as Mike MacGregor
The movie begins with 14-year-old Charlie Boyle playing hockey by himself in an empty rink. His dad appears and asks him to use the Zamboni, but Charlie, a genius, gives his father an invention that should clean the ice instantaneously. Charlie then heads off to a street hockey game, hoping that this day is the day the other kids will let him play. Unfortunately, Charlie once again finds himself on the sidelines, unable to fit in. Dejected, he sits on the curb until nightfall. When he gets home, however, he gets good news in the form of college scholarships from the top schools. He decides to go to Northern University of Wisconsin, where his idol Dr. Krickstein works. Charlie arrives for orientation, and heads straight for the hockey rink to see the school’s team, the Northern Lights, hard at practice, but there also seems to be some conflict between Krickstein and the hockey team. Charlie heads down to meet his idol, but is soon disappointed by what he’s found; however, he tries to make the best of his situation. Things get worse for Charlie when he meets his roommate: star of the Northern Lights, Mike MacGregor.
Charlie has to teach a few classes in order to maintain his scholarship, and heads to his first class. The students don’t respect him, and finds out later than Mike has moved out, as he doesn’t want to be anywhere near Charlie. Krickstein advises Charlie to find a new approach to making friends, and when Charlie heads to the rink, he sees a beautiful girl practicing her figure skating. She introduces herself as Claire, and Charlie decides to take Krickstein’s advice to heart, and pretends to be bad boy Chaz Anthony from Chicago. After meeting her, he creates a whole other identity and decides to transfer to her school while maintaining his real identity at the University. Charlie takes what he learned from his students to become a disruptive bad boy. Although he thinks Claire would like a bad boy, it seems that she has her reservations. He then tries to get her to be her tutor so he can spend more time with her. Unfortunately, he finds that her father is the hockey coach at Northern.
Krickstein and Charlie’s experiment hits a critical point when they find a graviton as a wave rather than a particle. Things with his other life get worse, however, when Chaz and his 8th grade class are invited to Northern to meet Charlie. Krickstein helps Charlie disguise himself under the guise of being disfigured after a horrible lab accident. When he gets back to his room, he finds Mike there again, who asks Charlie for help with his classwork. He offers to help Charlie win Claire in exchange for tutoring, and Charlie agrees. Charlie then takes Claire to the nearby pond to skate in a hockey game, and allows another kid to take his place in the game, recalling his time on the bench. Claire offers to take him to the Northern hockey game, but Charlie turns her down. The two continue to hang out at the pond, where Claire reveals that her mother was a figure skater, which inspired her to be one as well. The next day, Mike thanks Charlie before the big game, giving him an honorary Northern Lights jersey, and Charlie reveals that he knows a way to stop the opposing team. He then goes to watch the game, leaving the particle accelerator running.
When he arrives at the game, his 8th grade friends find him and have him sit with them. Claire spots Charlie and points him out to her father, but her dad tells her that the boy she’d pointed out is actually Charlie Boyle, which upsets her. The particle accelerator overloads, which cracks the ice in the rink. The game is postponed, and Charlie is to blame. Charlie tries to make amends all around, but is unable to do so. When Krickstein comes back, the two set to work on splitting the graviton so they can defy gravity. This also gives Charlie an idea to fix everything by using the experiment to help the Northern Lights win the game. He asks his friends for their forgiveness and help, and they finally agree when Charlie admits that he is Charlie. The group sets their plan in motion, beginning with Charlie sabotaging the enemy team’s skates. Charlie’s plan prevents the opposing team from cheating, as the sabotaged skates will do everything that the kids’ skates do. The plan works, with Krickstein helping with the plan until he accidentally activates the switch that allows the kids, and the affected players to defy gravity. The Northern Lights win the game, Claire’s dad’s job is safe, and Claire and Charlie finally share a kiss.