I definitely, definitely didn’t like this movie as much as I was expecting to. Rain Man is this week’s movie and it was underwhelming. Dustin Hoffman is sensational. That is completely undeniable. Tom Cruise is nearly unwatchable. I almost convince Mike that it’s a Chris O’Donnell level performance. What I was not expecting was Valeria Golino to completely steal the show. She is tender, strong, patient, intelligent, and you completely fall in love with her.
For a movie with academy awards falling out of its pockets, I was surprised how poorly it held up. I think it could be that Cruise’s fast-talking, slickster was a character to be revered in the 80’s, but it just doesn’t play the same anymore. Plus, his character really didn’t come around in the end as much as I was expecting. Once he got what he needed out of Ray, and realized that he wasn’t getting the big money he was expecting, he relented and (as I posit on the pod), probably never sees him again. Certainly not that weekend, as he promised. Honestly, I think the writing in general wasn’t all that strong. I think a lot was made of the humanizing depiction of autism and Hoffman just totally crushing it. I’m still not over the otherwise strong Hans Zimmer getting a nomination for this cheesy 80’s, new age, easy listening garbage.
There isn’t a whole lot else to talk about because there are only 4 or 5 consequential characters in the whole movie. Bonnie Hunt and Gerald R. Molen provide some nice supporting performances, but this movie begins and ends with Hoffman. Without him at the helm, I don’t know what this movie ends up being. I think the range of outcomes going into the production of this film was enormous. A lot of things could have gone wrong, but didn’t. Now while I think certain parts of the execution could have been much stronger, overall I understand how this movie was the runaway success of 1988 that it was.
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