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Barry Levinson
Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino
Writing Credits:
Ronald Bass, Barry Morrow

After a selfish LA car dealer learns his estranged father left a fortune to an autistic sibling in Ohio that he didn't know existed, he absconds with his brother and sets out across the country, hoping to gain a larger inheritance.

Box Office:
$25 million.
Opening Weekend
$7,005,719 on 1248 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 134 min.
Price: $24.95
Release Date: 6/13/2023

• Audio Commentary with Director Barry Levinson
• Audio Commentary with Writer Barry Morrow
• Audio Commentary with Writer Ronald Bass
• “The Journey of Rain Man” Featurette
• “Lifting the Fog” Featurette
• Deleted Scene
• Trailer


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-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Rain Man: Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray] (1988)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 4, 2023)

Someday I may understand why a hack like Barry Levinson enjoys such a stellar reputation as a filmmaker, but not today. For now, I'll have to remain mystified as I discuss the jewel in his crown, 1988's Rain Man, both that year's top-grossing film and also the winner of the Best Picture Oscar.

In Los Angeles, Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) deals collectible cars for a living – and does so via less than honest methods at times as he chases money. When his estranged father dies, he goes to the funeral with the expectation of a large inheritance.

Instead, the $3 million Babbitt fortune goes to Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), a brother Charlie didn’t know he had. Severely autistic, Raymond has resided in an institution for decades.

Charlie plans to contest the will and he does so via extortion: he abducts Raymond and will only return him if he gets a piece of the inheritance pie. While the brothers go on a road trip from Cincinnati to LA, Charlie gets to know Raymond and goes through an emotional journey.

As much as I dislike Rain Man, I can't claim it's the worst movie in the Levinson pantheon, not with such dreck as Toys and Avalon to his discredit. Nonetheless, Rain Man remains a clunker, one whose lack of charm comes through more clearly on every viewing.

One reason I so dislike Levinson's work is because he telegraphs his emotions so bluntly. Leni Riefenstahl didn't manipulate audiences as harshly as does Levinson.

Avalon marked the nadir of this tendency, but Rain Man suffers from it as well. We find scene after scene that clearly sets up the audience for a desired emotional reaction, whether through mystical awe or fear or cuteness.

Oh, that cuteness! That becomes easily the most insufferable aspect of this movie.

Some would claim Rain Man did more to educate the American public about autism than any other work, but I feel it did more to miseducate, for Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) barely resembles any autistic person I've ever met. Since I’ve worked with autistic kids through my job for 30 years, I feel reasonably qualified to say that.

As portrayed in this movie, Raymond either acts like an adorable little pixie (most of the film) or turns into a screeching terror (occasionally). It's clear that the latter instances occur only to added "depth" to the story, as they let Levinson think he's making a serious picture that tells us what it's “really like” to be around someone with autism.

What a crock. Hoffman got a very undeserved Oscar for his work as Raymond, which shows how ridiculous the Academy Awards can be, especially since this deprived Tom Hanks a prize for his wonderfully rich and nuanced turn in Big.

As played by Hoffman, Raymond gives us nothing more than a one-dimensional cartoon character with no basis in reality. This isn't acting of any scope or talent.

Crud, I could play the role equally well, and I don't say that out of bravado - Hoffman just does nothing subtle or special in the part.

Cruise fares better as Raymond's scam artist brother Charlie. Cruise gets stuck with all the work in the movie since he needs toreact realistically to the events around him - unlike Hoffman, who acts in a vacuum - and he shows the only real character development in the film.

Raymond remains virtually the same at the end as at the beginning, so Cruise winds up stuck with the heaviest load. Still, there's only so much Cruise can do with material this stale and transparent. He performs adequately but gives us little reason to care about his character or the situations.

Rain Man feels like a series of vaguely connected "moments". We find a mix of scenes with no great relationship to each other except for the fact they let us see more wackiness from Raymond.

He rapidly adds toothpicks, he counts cards, he farts, he says "K-Mart sucks". None of this has anything to do with anything, but that dude sure is cute, isn't he?

Nope. Back in grad school, I wrote a paper that condemned the inaccuracies in Rain Man and even more fully cataloged my disgust with it. I wish I still had it around, as I could have just posted it and saved myself some trouble.

That was more than 30 years ago, and another viewing of this "classic" hasn't changed my mind. If anything, my interactions with real autistic people have made me even more annoyed at the film. Despite sporadic stabs of entertainment value, this mostly becomes sentimental hogwash and little more.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B / Bonus B+

Rain Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Movies from 1988 usually look a bit drab, but this one seemed reasonably attractive.

Sharpness seemed largely good. Sporadic examples of softness cropped up, but these stayed pretty modest, so most of the flick came across as pretty detailed and tight.

No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. Grain seemed light and probably showed a little “management” but still seemed reasonably natural, and I saw no print flaws.

Colors appeared surprisingly vibrant. The palette stayed in a natural vein, and the disc displayed these hues well.

Despite the occasional instance of muddy 80s colors, the tones usually came across as generally lively and full. Some skin tones could seem a bit ruddy, though.

Black levels seemed good, with consistently rich and deep tones, and shadow detail was positive. The film offered many low-light situations, and these came through well. Overall, the movie looked positive.

To my surprise, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack also fared well. The track betrayed a few problems, but it usually seemed clear and concise.

The soundfield stuck mainly to the front, where music spread nicely to the sides, with a modicum of ambient sound blending on the left and right as well. The surrounds supported the score nicely - it's easily the best part of the mix - and they also added some mild reinforcement for effects. It's not a dazzling track, but it worked well.

Quality seemed inconsistent but generally positive. Dialogue was the weakest aspect, as although lines sounded distinct and intelligible, they could also appear dull or flat, and they also displayed some slight edginess on occasion.

Effects also suffered from some muddiness, but they usually seemed clear and realistic, and they betrayed some solid low end at times. Best of all was the music, which sounded bright and bold, with fine dynamic range.

Indeed, the bass rocked much better than I'd expect from a 1988 film. It didn't make me like the movie, but the soundtrack nonetheless added to the experience.

How did the remastered 2023 Blu-ray compare to the original 2011 BD? Both showed audio that seemed very similar – and probably identical.

As for visuals, the 2023 release showed moderate improvements, mainly because it lacked the edge haloes and heavier noise reduction of the earlier release. While not revelatory, the 2023 Blu-ray improved upon its predecessor.

The 2023 Blu-ray repeats the extras from the 2011 disc, and we find no fewer than three separate audio commentaries. The first comes from director Barry Levinson, who offers a running, screen-specific piece. When he speaks, Levinson gives us some great information, as he goes into many aspects of the production.

Levinson discusses shooting in sequence and its effect on the production, reshoots, casting some actors, decisions related to the rhythmic score, cinematographic choices, editing, improvs, and many other elements.

The key here becomes “when he speaks”. Unfortunately, Levinson fades into the background too much of the time.

Many empty spaces appear in this track and the director can disappear for fairly long stretches. The quality of the information seems strong enough for me to recommend this commentary, but the many gaps create many frustrations.

Next we find a chat from writer Barry Morrow, who also offers his own running, screen-specific piece. I admit I didn’t expect much from this conversation, but Morrow provides a consistently informative and engaging commentary. He starts with the roots of Rain Man and how his own interactions with the mentally disabled led him to write it.

Morrow gives us many stories of his experiences with real-life “rain men” and tosses out many great stories about the production. We learn of casting and crew possibilities, the script’s path to the screen, and what’s happened to him since the movie’s release, especially in regard to the reactions the flick engendered.

Heck, he even addresses those of us who dislike the film! Morrow remains very likable and interesting in this terrific track.

Finally, we get a piece with writer Ronald Bass, who offers his own running, screen-specific discussion. Bass starts strong as he goes over his involvement in the flick, the development he did with Steven Spielberg and mentions of other directorial possibilities, research and character development, and variations in different versions of the scripts.

Unfortunately, Bass peters out before too long. After a while, his comments become appear less frequently, and he mostly just narrates the film and tells us what we see on the screen.

Some good moments still pop up at times, such as when Bass tells a funny Oscar anecdote. Nonetheless, the last half of the track makes for slow going. Most of the good material shows up early in this inconsistent piece.

A few featurettes ensue. The Journey of Rain Man goes for 22 minutes, nine seconds and provides notes from Levinson, Morrow, Bass, producer Mark Johnson, co-producer Gerald R. Molen, UCLA Department of Psychology clinical social worker Diane Bass, associate producer Gail Mutrux, composer Hans Zimmer, and actor Valeria Golina.

“Journey” looks at how various participants came onto the project and its development, script, characters and story, research and realism, cast and performances, music, the movie’s release and reception.

“Journey” delivers a fairly general “making of “ piece, and it’s fine in that regard. You’ll find some redundant material after all those commentaries, but it ties things up in a neat manner.

Lifting the Fog: A Look at the Mysteries of Autism runs 20 minutes, 15 seconds and includes comments from Morrow, Autism Research Institute director Dr. Bernard Rimland, Autism Service Center’s Dr. Ruth Sullivan, psychiatrists Dr. Darold Treffert and Dr. Arnold Rosen, autistic men Joseph Sullivan, Mark Rimland and Peter Guthrie, and Guthrie’s brother Kevin.

The program looks at aspects of autism and shows us the influences for Dustin Hoffman’s performance. This is a basic show but it offers some interesting notes.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get one deleted scene that goes for two minutes, 13 seconds and shows Raymond as he navigates a convenience store by himself. It’s an interesting snippet, but it doesn’t tell us anything new about the characters.

I dislike a fair number of Oscar Best Picture winners, but I reserve a special level of distaste for Rain Man. Honestly, it can be an entertaining film but it feels so phony and artificially sentimental that it nauseates me. The Blu-ray provides pretty good picture and sound as well as positive roster of extras. I feel pleased with the Blu-ray but still can’t stand the movie itself.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of RAIN MAN

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