Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rain Man

Rain Man
Director: Barry Levinson
Cast: Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman
Released: December 16, 1988

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (won)
Best Director - Barry Levinson (won)
Best Actor - Dustin Hoffman (won)
Best Original Screenplay - Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow (won)
Best Cinematography (lost to Mississippi Burning)
Best Art Direction (lost to Dangerous Liaisons)
Best Editing (lost to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?)
Best Score - Hans Zimmer (lost to Dave Grushin for The Milagro Beanfield War)

Rain Man is about a relationship between two brothers who have just met and couldn't be more different.   Charlie is the younger, success-driven, cocky a-hole brother. He's played by Tom Cruise who pretty much plays this type of character in all of his movies. After his father dies, he finds out he has an older brother name Raymond (played by Dustin Hoffman) who has been in an institution since Charlie was a young kid. He's autistic and needs to have a routine to feel secure. Before he finds out about his brother, Charlie tells his girlfriend that when he was younger he had an imaginary friend called the Rain Man who used to sing to him. Of course we learn later that it was Raymond who used to sing to him.

Charlie, who didn't have a good relationship with his father, is irate when he finds out that his father didn't leave him any money in his will. He thought he was supposed to get three million dollars, but it ended up going to Raymond. This is when Charlie discovers he has an older brother. He is furious that the money went to someone who can't even conceive of the idea of three million dollars. He plans to kidnap Raymond and only bring him back when he's given his share of the wealth.

Charlie learns very soon that taking Raymond out of his environment was, as Raymond would say, "bad, very, very bad." Raymond has to go to bed right at eleven. He has to eat certain foods on certain days. (In one scene where he has to have six fish sticks for lunch, Charlie brings him three and when Raymond starts crying, Charlie takes a knife and cuts them all in half). He has to watch The People's Court every week day at four. If he doesn't, he throws a huge fit. His life is one big routine and Charlie has to adjust to this routine and, as he is of the selfish sort, it doesn't make him happy.

Charlie think he'll just fly back to Los Angeles from Cincinnati where Raymond lives, but Raymond refuses to go on a plane because all major airlines except Quantas have had major aviation disasters. When Charlie tries to reason with him and tell him it's safe, Raymond makes a big scene and the movie becomes a road trip bonding experience. Charlie's angry with his brother because he needs to get back to his job as a car dealer which is sinking and instead of returning to L.A. that afternoon, it's going to take him three days to get back.

Charlie finds Raymond frustrating because he can't have a conversation with him and he doesn't know what's going on inside Raymond's head. He is amazed when Raymond drops a box of toothpicks and immediately says there are 246 toothpicks on the ground. There are 250 toothpicks that come in the box and there are four left in the box after Raymond drops it. Charlie is also amazed when Raymond can multiply five digit numbers together and claims he should work for NASA. He changes his mind, however, when Raymond can't add together two and two.

Charlie, who is in debt, gets a brilliant idea when he realizes Raymond can count cards and they make a pitstop at Vegas along the way. The most famous scene from the movie is when they're wearing matching suits and riding down the escalator side by side. It's been parodied in many other movies.

Throughout the film you see their relationship develop and the two brothers share a special bond even though Raymond has a difficult time showing feeling. Charlie wants Raymond to live with him, but in the end realizes it's better if there are professional taking care of Charlie and he's in a place he's familiar with. There's a nice moment at the end when the two brothers show affection for each other by sitting at a table and leaning together, their foreheads touching, as Raymond does not like to be hugged.

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