Rain Man

From Academic Kids

Rain Man is a 1988 film which tells the story of a selfish yuppie who discovers that his father has left all of his estate to the autistic brother he never knew he had. It stars Tom Cruise as the yuppie Charlie Babbitt, Dustin Hoffman as his brother Raymond, and Valeria Golino as Charlie's girlfriend Susanna.

The movie was written by Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow, and directed by Barry Levinson, and it is based on autistic savant Kim Peek.

It won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Dustin Hoffman), Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing, Original Screenplay. It was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score.

The title comes from how the infant Charlie (Cruise) pronounced his older brother Raymond's (Hoffman) name.



The car featured in the film, a yellow 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible, is used for the brothers' cross-country trip to Los Angeles. Charlie tells a story behind the car's existence in his earlier years. In the story, he was forbidden to drive the car, but he took it anyway, and was arrested for its theft. This led to his estrangement from his father. But Raymond took driving lessons with his father in the Buick, which led to his constant professing that he's an excellent driver.

Upon learning of his father's death, Charlie travels to Cincinnati, Ohio to settle his father's estate, where he learns he had a brother named Raymond, who inherited the elder Babbitt's entire estate. Charlie becomes upset and wants to meet his brother, and is directed to a residential facility where Raymond lives.

Charlie finally meets Raymond when he finds a strange man sitting behind the wheel of the Buick Roadmaster, talking to Charlie's girlfriend, Susanna, about how he used to drive the car during his father's visits. Charlie then demands an explanation, and finds out that Raymond is autistic. Raymond is a good-hearted person who has fantastic abilities such as computing large, complicated mathmatic problems but has few social skills and becomes upset when his normal daily routine is disrupted. In the latter case, he often recites the classic Abbott and Costello comedy routine, "Who's on First?" to cope.

Other facts about Raymond: His favorite place to shop is at a K-mart store in Cincinnati, eats fish sticks on Thursdays, and has memorized several plays written by William Shakespeare. His best friend is Vern, an aide employed at the residential facility. When someone grabs him (either forcibly or gently), he will document the incident in a spiral notebook, often exaggerating the circumstances (e.g., "He severely injured my shoulder ..."). At night, he places his large collecion of pens and pencils on a nightstand. His bedtime is 11 p.m. (Raymond: "Lights out at 11.").

Determined to get what he believes is his fair share of the Babbitt estate, Charlie announces he is taking him on a cross-country trip to meet with his attorneys and get custody of him. Early on, Raymond's mannerisms frustrate Charlie very much, even concluding that his brother's "neurological disorder" is part of a scheme to keep him from getting the money he is entitled to.

Raymond unwittingly causes the breakup of Charlie and Susanna, after he walks in on them making love (Raymond had been watching "Wheel of Fortune" in another room of their hotel suite, and when he "heard noises," became curious at what they were doing and went to investigate). Charlie becomes very angry with Raymond, although Susanna was more than willing to explain. Susanna becomes disgusted with Charlie's verbal abuse and leaves.

Later, Charlie decides he and Raymond will fly to California, but Raymond balks; citing media reports of deadly airline crashes, he fears that he, too, will be a passenger on a plane that crashes. A determined and increasingly frustrated Charlie is determined to get Raymond on an airplane and, after considering several airlines, they decide on the "safe" airline Qantas. However, as they approach the terminal, Raymond begins to panic, creating a scene that is only resolved when Charlie promises they won't fly after all.

Thus begins the long road trip. At first, the trip progresses smoothly along an Interstate highway, but that changes when they come upon the scene of a deadly crash. Charlie is unable to convince Raymond that all roads are dangerous, and he is forced to use two-lane highways for the remainder of the trip. The two spend the next day at a roadside motel (because Raymond will not go outside when it rains, as per policy at his residential facility).

During the trip, Raymond's routines bewilder the people he meets and (often) frustrate Charlie, whose mind is focused on money. Examples:

  • At a restaurant, a waitress becomes concerned when Raymond says her last name and home phone number (he had read and memorized the entire residential directory of a phone book the previous night). Charlie is able to convince the waitress that Raymond means no harm. Also at the restaurant, the waitress drops a box of toothpicks, spilling its contents, prompting Raymond to instantly calculate the number of toothpicks on the floor (246); Charlie thinks his brother is wrong (since the box is a 250-count size), until the waitress says four of the toothpicks stayed in the box.
  • Raymond's constant saying the "Who's on First?" routine when Charlie is upset with him. This annoys Charlie, especially since Raymond does not understand the punchline and his repeated saying of it strips it of its comic meaning.
  • At a small town intersection controlled by a stoplight, Raymond stops in the middle of a crosswalk after the "don't walk" light begins flashing, causing traffic to back up and angering motorists. Charlie guides Raymond across the sidewalk as one motorist flips the bird.
  • As they are traveling down a rural road, Raymond reminds Charlie that "The People's Court" is about to start. With no towns in sight, Charlie is forced to ask a local resident to allow his brother to watch TV. He poses as a representative from a television ratings survey firm, but the cover is blown as a very anxious Raymond begins peeking in the windows and worries over missing "Judge Wapner," forcing Charlie to explain. The woman reluctantly relents and allows the brothers inside.

Eventually, Charlie's feelings of irritation for his brother begin to soften considerably. He feels a growing sense of responsibility to protect his brother from the cruel realities of the world. But his greed for money still is very strong, and as their travels near Las Vegas, Charlie plans to exploit Raymond's quick memory and recall skills to help him win a fortune by gambling.

After the two buy expensive suits and visit a hair styling salon, Charlie and Raymond enter the casino to play Blackjack. Raymond oblivious as to what Charlie is having him do is able to guide his brother by "counting cards" (a strategy some gamblers use as part of their playing and betting strategy). Charlie wins nearly every time, and quickly amasses a fortune. However, Raymond is soon distracted by a spinning roulette wheel (which he likens to Wheel of Fortune," and Charlie's cover is blown. The casino managers give him the money and tell him to take his brother and leave or face criminal charges.

Later, Raymond meets a woman who is sitting alone in a bar. With Charlie's encouragement, Raymond seems to be conversing normally with the woman, but he unwittingly scares her off when he asks her what prescription medicines she uses (Raymond often used it as a point of conversation to "break the ice"); Charlie tries to explain to the woman, but is left to console Raymond.

In the end, Charlie finally meets with his attorneys to get custody of Raymond (although his desire for cash is a decidedly lesser issue at this point). However, Raymond is unable to decide exactly what he wants (he wants Charlie to live with him at the residential facility in Cincinnati, which is not possible because of Charlie's job). Eventually, the attorneys press Raymond for a decisive answer, upsetting him and leading Charlie to tell the attorneys to back off.

Eventually, Raymond is allowed to go back home to Cincinnati. Charlie, who has gained a new brother and mellowed considerably, tells him he'll visit often.

Memorable Quotes

K-Mart sucks -- Charlie
I'm an excellent driver. -- Raymond
Uh oh, fifteen minutes to Judge Wapner -- Raymond

References on The Simpsons

Rain Man has been referenced on several episodes of The Simpsons, including:

  • "$pringfield" The Las Vegas Blackjack table scene in the casino is spoofed. Homer gets a job as a Blackjack dealer at Mr. Burn's casino, and is impressed by the abilities of a player who resembles Raymond Babbitt; a Tom Cruise lookalike is seated next to him. "Raymond" tries to leave the table ("Gotta watch Wapner!"), and screams when Homer tries to restrain him. Homer ends up screaming and beating the palm of his hand against his head, just like "Raymond."
  • "Burns' Heir" Mr. Burns who, following a near-deadly accident, is trying to adopt Bart as his heir hires actors to portray Bart's family purporting to no longer love him. After the actor who plays Homer flubs a line, he complains to Burns that he cannot play the role credibly, and suggests Homer may suffer from at least a mild form of autism or other neurological disorder (such as the main characters in Rain Man or Awakenings).

Slang uses

Although it has not entered the mainstream full-fledged, several slang uses all derogatory have emerged since the release of Rain Man:

  • In one use, the term is applied to demean someone, usually after a faux pas. The person is not necessarily autistic but may be socially awkward, is "slow" (but not always mentally handicapped), lack accepted social graces ... or they may be perfectly normal.
  • This term can also be used to accuse a person who does not suffer from a neurological disorder of being a social engineer (one who uses social skills to get his/her way or obtain information often, computer security or credit card information he/she is not entitled to) and then getting his/her way. This refers to Raymond's behavior after something does not go his way (e.g., crying when he almost doesn't get to see "The People's Court"), Charlie and/or others resisting and then giving in.

External links

bg:Рейнман de:Rain Man es:Rain Man ja:レインマン pl:Rain Man ru:Человек дождя (фильм) sk:Rain Man sv:Rain Man zh:雨人


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