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Random memories of being forced to watch Rain Man…

Ah Rain Man. A memory that is dug deep into my brain. Back in the day when I was living and working in Aldershot most Friday nights Dawid, Nicky and myself would get together to watch a movie. These movies varied from the good (Garden State, Lost in Translation, 300, Bin-Jip) to the bad (Rain Man, Rain Man, Rain Man). I could easily throw in Die Hard 4.0 in the bad list as Dawid actually just got up and went home after about twenty minutes of that but lets concentrate on Rain Man.

I hadn’t seen it before and I don’t think Nicky had either. Dawid though was insistent that it was a good film and that we should watch it. Any film with Tom Cruise in already makes me a little bit fearful as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film where he stars that I’ve enjoyed. I’m going to go check his IMDB profile and see…No it looks like my gut instinct was right but anyway when Dawid has an idea in his head it is not easy to move so we went with it and Nicky and myself spent the whole movie going on about how bad it was – Nicky even got up and went to his work PC (we used to watch the movies on a projector where we worked in the chill out room) it was that bad he went and hid on his work PC. I didn’t do that (but damn it was a good idea…)

If you’ve never seen Rain Man (then lucky you) it is a film about Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) who is a bit of a twat to be blunt but he finds out that he has a brother (Dustin Hoffman) who has been left most of his dead dad’s money in his will. He discovered his brother was an autistic savant who lives in a world of his own, who resides at the Walbrook Institute.

He basically doesn’t care one jot about his brother but wants the money and takes his on a trip to Las Vegas in an attempt basically to get the money. Now of course we are to believe that Tom Cruise slowly grows to love his brother but personally I never felt it. It always felt forced and to me it always felt as though the two actors never had any natural chemistry. Now Hoffman played his role with genuine aplomb and deservedly took home a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Raymond Babbitt.

However the scene that a lot of people remember in the counting cards scene where Raymond could count cards and Charlie saw the potential of making a lot of money at the casinos in Vegas.

It was famously parodied in another excellent movie The Hangover.

The movie Rain Man as a whole just didn’t work for me and yet it won four Oscars including most of the big boys including Best Picture so what do I know? All I recall from the film was the casino scenes and that Tom Cruise’s character was a bit of a jerk and for me never grew and never became likeable. It is interesting that Hoffman originally wanted Bill Murray to play the role that Cruise was eventually cast for as I really like Bill Murray and I think the film would have been very different as Murray would have maybe made me feel some warmth towards Charlie Babbitt. Oh well we’ll never know.

All I know is that if Dawid ever says we should watch Rain Man again I shall politely say no (or run away screaming…probably the latter).

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