Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 144: Rain Man

Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #247
Year: 1988
Director: Barry Levinson
Starring: Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise

As those of you who follow me on Twitter probably know by now, I'm wasting my Netflix fee this month because I got Ben-Hur shipped to me five fucking days ago and haven't found the time to watch it yet. To be honest, I'm not particularly excited about watching a 3.5 hour movie from 1959, and I'm almost certain that if I put it on when I'm even remotely tired, I'll fall asleep. So there's my bias on that one, look forward to that. For today (at 2:15 a.m., fuck!), I'll be writing about Rain Man, a movie that has unfortunately become associated with bad impressions of Dustin Hoffman's character and questions from stupid assholes about how many of something there are on the floor when you drop anything. (Man, do I get angry when I'm tired, or what?)

Rain Man, in my opinion, is a fairly overrated movie, and television has made it that way. It's on all the time. And like The Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump, it's one of the "good movies" that everybody and their brother has seen. At that point, it starts to bear a lot more similarities to Gump than to Shawshank, as its ubiquity has made it too saturated into our media to live up to anyone's expectations. I'm guilty of catching this movie in bits and pieces literally ten times before I actually sat down to watch it, and I just didn't care that much. I'm sure in 1988 a movie tackling the issue of adult autism was really boundary-breaking, but I can't watch it through those same eyes, and it kind of just falls flat for me.

Of course, Dustin Hoffman gives a great performance; it's kind of what he does. And Tom Cruise manages not to be distractingly bad, which is a nice bonus. And it's a pretty nice sibling drama to boot – the dynamics between the two leads are even touching at times. But the package is not the sum of the parts, and the whole thing falls apart at the finish line. This is officially a paragraph entirely composed of clichés, so I think it's time I called it quits. Yikes. Sorry, Rain Man, I didn't like you well enough to make the effort to write verbosely about you in the middle of the night.

The Good: Hoffman's performance.

The Bad: The huge disparity from how good people say it is and how good it actually is.

The Skinny: It's practically off the list as it is, who's gonna cry if we knock it down four spots to #251?


  1. I am a fan of great performances, so I like this movie a lot. Hoffman is brilliant. I have never understood how some guys can pull off these disabled people performances.
    Cruise is quite good aswell. He is excellent for the cocky brother role.
    It is actually hard to say, how good a movie is because it consists of so many values. In my ratings i try to put in 1.entertainment, 2.story and message, 3.characters and their acts 4. value and influence and something else.
    Without Hoffman this would probably get 7-8 rating from me, but with him I'll give it 8-9 rating.
    This most likely is top50 for me, sad to see it out of the list nowadays and sad to see <-(well maybe not) that you are one of the guys who wants it outside :D

  2. Btw at V for Vendetta you said that it is best Portman's performance till Black Swan. Have you seen Black Swan? And if yes then where? Why do they say on imdb that it would be realesed soon, but now it seems they have postponed it or smth. This is one of the few movies I still want to see before oscars.

  3. It's coming out locally for me next Friday, and I can't wait. I fully expect it to be my favorite movie of 2010 based on everything I've read and the trailer.

  4. I doubt anything will top Inception for me this year (Yeah, finally I am becoming a Nolan fanboy), but I am definetly waiting for Black Swan to come out. Same goes for True Grit.