30 for 30: Rain Man (1988)

30-for-30-1988

1988

RAIN MAN.

 

When I told my brother Ransel that I was going to use him for the year 1988 instead of 1989 because his story fit better this year, he asked me which movie I was picking. When I told him it was RAIN MAN, he exclaimed, “Oh wow, that’s perfect because you’re a retard!” Annnd that, in a sentence is Ransel. He’s brutal, has no filter, and he doesn’t care if he doesn’t either. He talks about things the way he sees it and isn’t afraid to tell you the harsh reality of things, even when you’re in an emotional state of mind. Some might call him a jerk but he’s my brother and I love him for that very reason. When I want to know the no-bullshit, real, unbiased opinion on something – I turn to Ransel. Obviously, when you have a strong personality like his in the house, there’s bound to be a couple of fights… and man, as Rhea can attest to, we’ve had many of them. Some of them have been genuine but most of them have just been me busting his chops. Why do it? Because I get a kick out of it! But unlike some people, Ransel can take ‘em as well as he can dish ‘em and that’s what I find extremely admirable about him. For those of you who haven’t met Ransel or know what he looks like – he’s my doppelganger, only buffer, smarter, more handsomer (true story) and wittier. Like me, he knows his shit when it comes to movies (humble brag), but he far surpasses me when it comes to soccer. Trust me, you want to take his bets when it comes to soccer predictions. He’s like a walking, talking soccer encyclopedia. He’s also one of the only people who I can talk to about anything. ANYTHING! Knowing Ransel, he’s probably reading this right now, ready to make a smartass comment about me being a wuss.

Argh, 1988 – Why you so difficult? This was the year that I had the most trouble picking. Like 1989, I had originally gone with another movie before I settled on Barry Levinson’s unlikely Oscar winner. My first choice was Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. I remember my first time watching it and bawling my eyes out during its famous montage of kisses. However, after a trio of American movies began nipping at its heals, I decided to give it another go last week. And man, it has not aged well at all!! Although I still really like the film, I can’t get past the blatant sentimentality of it. I then considered the movie of the four I have watched the most – Die Hard. But as much as I love the film, every time I see Bruce Willis’ mug, I can’t shake how much I’ve come to dislike his real life persona. The final movie, and my eventual runners-up for 1988 was Martin Brest’s outstanding Midnight Run – probably best known for giving the world most of Robert Deniro’s best insults. No seriously… this movie is a holy grail of “fuck” insults. Also, for those of you who haven’t seen it – screw Analyze This or Meet the Parents! This is Deniro’s best comedic performance. The reason I picked RAIN MAN is simple. I love the movie. I love it in spite of its contrivances, its outdated depiction of autism, its formulaic structure, and its Oscar-friendliness. I love it because it doesn’t chicken out with the happy ending. I love it because it shows us that Raymond is incapable of changing. I love it because of Tom Cruise’s magnificent performance, not Dustin Hoffman’s. I love it because of how authentic the relationship between these two brothers is. And I love it because it’s a damn fine movie that doesn’t get its due.

Honorable mentions: Akira, Beetlejuice, Big, A Fish Called Wanda, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Wings of Desire.

 

About 30-for-30

Movies are a huge part of my life – I mean, why else would I be running a blog/site devoted to movies? To commemorate the occasion of my 30th birthday (later this month), I’ll be counting down to the big day by posting a photo of my favorite movie for each year of the last 30 years I’ve survived on this planet. These aren’t my favorite 30 movies EVER but merely the movie I consider my favorite (or the best) of each year. This is my 30 for 30. Click here to see the other 30 for 30 posts.

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3 responses to “30 for 30: Rain Man (1988)

  1. Not a perfect movie, but still a very heartfelt one that gets you right where it hurts. However, Best Picture winner? Eh, I don’t quite know about that one. Good review.

    • It didn’t have very strong competition that year. Or at least the movies the Academy chose to nominate that year with it weren’t as good IMO. And as you said… heartfelt. That tends to do the job with them more often than not.

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