Welcome to Genius Week: Day 2. Today, we review the first film I ever saw! That’s right, 1988’s Rain Man. That’s right, everyone, before I wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated films as a child, I watched an R-rated film the first time I saw any movie! Do I remember it? Yes, I do, but not from my initial viewing. I watched it later in life, and I’m watching it once again as a part of this week’s theme of films about geniuses. As much as I remembered Rain Man, though, I completely forgot about the plot. So, let’s get into that.
Okay, so Tom Cruise’s character is a colossal greedy self-obsessed man, right? When his filthy rich father died, he leaves Charlie with his treasured car but leaves $3 million to a brother he didn’t know he had, Raymond, a man that actually doesn’t understand the concept of money, possibly to spite Charlie because they had an estranged relationship. To claim what he says is “rightfully his”, he kidnaps Raymond from an institution for special folks and takes him on a road trip in an effort to use him as a ransom to take $1.5 million dollars – his half. While on the road, Charlie begins to realize how special his brother really is.
You gotta love to hate Tom Cruise in this film. The man is all about money for most of this film. In fact, there are actually two main storylines going on at once here. There’s the kidnapping of his brother section, and there was also a side story about his business that is suffering because he is away – a storyline, by the way, that I neither really understood or even cared about. In my perspective, there wasn’t much about that storyline that really mattered. However, I did notice they attempted to have Tom Cruise act as a believable brother. Every now and then, you’ll see Tom Cruise’s character blurt out “definitely” twice in one sentence, which was actually really interesting since you know that’s what Raymond says throughout the film.
Anyways, let’s move on and break the film down.
PEOPLE SCORE – 10/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2
First off, let’s have a chat about the characters. A big part of why this got a perfect score is because, after nearly three decades, this film has become such an icon in the film industry that it’s difficult to pinpoint things to complain about. The acting, specifically from Hoffman, was really well done…but that’s not to say he was the only talent among the cast. Everyone actually did fantastic in their roles. The characters were all pretty memorable in general, but once again, Hoffman led the rest. The casting? Well, I’m not sure how I’d feel about it in 1988, but at this day in age, no one else could’ve played these roles. How about their importance? Well, everyone played a part in adding to the plot, so it’s perfect. Chemistry? The transformation of the brothers going from a place of greed to a place of understanding and respect is all due to the great chemistry between Cruise and Hoffman.
WRITING SCORE – 10/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
Next up, we have the writing score, which also received perfect marks. The dialogue was obviously very memorable, as people def definitely, definitely quote the film often. The balance was pretty solid throughout the film – as there’s always one main goal. The story has a nice underlining message about the power of greed and the need for family, though Tom Cruise doesn’t always feel like he cares about family in the slightest. It is completely original and interesting.
BTS SCORE – 7/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 2|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1
Behind-the-scenes was mostly touch-and-go here. The visuals were okay, but not exactly what you’d consider amazing. The directing was very good, though. The director made use of whatever setting they were filming in and made the most out of it and told a brilliant story. The editing, on the other hand, was typical and never really stood out. I would consider this film as-advertised, but the music wasn’t all that memorable. So this was really a touch-and-go category. It did really well in some parts and could’ve used help in others.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1
Another nearly perfect score for the narrative arc. For the most part, it was solid, it just didn’t really have the strongest falling action. You might get an idea of the new norm, but you don’t really see it, and it’s not really that satisfying overall. Everything else works, though. The introduction has us meeting both Charlie and Raymond and why the film goes where it goes. The inciting incident is where Charlie kidnaps Raymond in an attempt to get half the money that was given to his brother when his father died. The obstacles come down to basically dealing with Raymond’s problems, the climax isn’t what you’d typically consider anything explosive, but it is clear and it is the sum of everything else that happened in the film.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 5/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 0| Sucks you in – 1
How entertaining is Rain Man? Well, I think it is entertaining in some parts, but for the most part, it draws most of its strength off of its technical aspects. I consider it rewatchable because that’s what this viewing was. I had a good time watching it, so it definitely was “fun”. I don’t think I’d care to buy or own it, though, nor do I really think I’d open up a discussion about the film. It may suck you in here and there, but it has equal parts in the film where it can be seen as boring, so take that as you will.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 40/50
Drama – 10|Tom Cruise – 5|Dustin Hoffman – 10\Ages well – 5|Memory – 10
Finally, we are now down to the specialty questions I wrote before seeing the film. First of all, this is only really listed as a drama, so how was the actual drama? I would consider Rain Man very dramatic and deserving of full points here. This is also a Tom Cruise film, so how was he in it? He was okay, but even though I knew Tom Cruise was in it, I really think it was due to his status. Anyone could have filled this role and it really didn’t feel much like Tom Cruise to me. How about Dustin Hoffman? Well, given how this was one of his best roles he’s ever done, full points there. Does the movie age very well? Well, as I mentioned above, you can certainly sense the age of the film. It’s still a good movie that you can respect, but there are some pop culture references I didn’t understand. Finally, does it hold up to memory? Like it was yesterday.