Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – Rain Man (1988)

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise and Valeria Golino

Rating 8/10

The most annoying thing about this film is the Charlie Babbitt character played by, you guessed it, Tom Cruise. Remember the days when Cruise was desirable, respectable, ooey gooey cinematic gold? I couldn’t help watching this film through the lense of the present persona of Tom Cruise himself, which, I’d assume comes close to the ‘Charlie’ character we see in Rain Man.

But enough of Cruise, onto the film. Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) is a stressed out, young businessman on the brink of financial ruin. On the way to a semi-romantic trip to Palm Springs with his love, Susanna (Golino), Charlie finds out that his estranged dad has died. Cue burn-out u-turn!

In his hometown of Cincinnati, Charlie discovers that his dad left him nothing but a few rose bushes and a 2nd hand car (a cool car, mind you!). The rest of the estate ($3 million) has been left to an anonymous beneficiary who resides in a mental institution.

This fella is none other than Charlie’s big bro Raymond (Hoffman), who is Autistic. And he thought he was an only child! To get his hands on Ray’s dough, naughty Charlie kinda kidnaps his brother and they set out on a road trip like no other. There are tears, frustration induced flung hands, inappropriate language and meltdowns.

After an eventful time in Las Vegas, the boys arrive in Los Angeles, where Charlie starts his fight for custody of his big bro and the millions attached to the poor fella.

Despite my anti-Cruise sentiments, I actually really liked this film. Best Actor winner, Hoffman was outstanding. It’s a difficult thing to play an Autistic person without hamming it up too much and he did a brilliant job. There was such depth and soul to his character.

Cruise gave a fantastic performance as well. He seems to play stressed out, control freaks really well. He was able to show the evolution of Charlie in a deep and believable way. His character  reflected how society related to people like Ray, perhaps how they still view them.

I love how the relationship between Charlie and Ray develops. They start having their own special jokes and shared experience which bonds them together. Charlie starts to understand how Ray ticks and accepts him as he is, massive warts and all. Likewise, Rays starts to relate back to Charlie as an important person in his life!

It’s a road movie with heart, soul and even a little humour… deserving of the Best Picture title. Check it out!

Rain Man Trivia:

  • Budget – $25 million
  • Hoffman changed the character of Ray from being out there and happy to withdrawn
  • The last name Ray remembers from the phone number is the name of his real parents-in-law, Marsha and William Gottesgen
  • When the movie was shown on planes (except Qantas of course), they deleted Ray’s rant about plane crash stats.
  • Check out the boy serving at the pancake place, it’s Hoffman’s son, Jake
  • Bill Murray and Hoffman were considered for the role of Charlie
  • Barry Levinson plays the psychiatrist at the end and kept ad-libbing to annoy Tom Cruise
  • Jack Nicholson and Robert DeNiro rejected the role of Raymond (to quote Pretty Woman “Big mistake, huge…”)
  • Hoffman thought he was doing such a bad job that he wanted to pull out of the film, 3 weeks into shooting
  • The old man in the waiting room endlessly talking is a local man who got on a roll with his favourite topic and off he went. Cameras rolled and there you have it!
  • The inspiration for Hoffman’s character was Kim Peek. Writer Barry Morrow ended up giving his Oscar statuette to Peek in tribute to his contribution to the film
  • To research his character, Hoffman spent a year with autistic people and their families to see how they interacted
  • This was Hans Zimmer’s first Hollywood gig

End scene! Ok, the next film we’re watching, the winner of the Best Picture Oscar of 1989 went to a strange one, Driving Miss Daisy. Not that I remember much about it. Check in next time for a full review and stuff! Happy viewing.

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