On a day the cold returns to spring, the first shy bloom of an antique rose peaks out to wonder at the weather.
It is still Texas and shifts from 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius) to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celsius) are really not that uncommon.
There is a natural shyness to autism. I say that with care and respect. I saw it recently with Raymond in the movie “Rain Man.” The film won the Oscar of the movies of 1988, the 61st show to be voted Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The summary and tabulation of the comments and ballots of the EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience say this about the picture:
The “Rain Man” movie follows the transformation of Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) from callous to caring in his changing relationship with his rediscovered autistic older brother Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman, playing the “Rain Man,” which was young Charlie’s pronunciation of older brother Raymond’s name before the two were separated in their youths); the acting of Hoffman and Cruise is superb, believable, harrowing, exciting and sweet, and it is the acting of the two leads that carries the show and makes the film a success; we watch Charlie transformed from an arrogant, self-centered individual to a loving brother, so that in the end Charlie has become Raymond’s “Rain Man”; the EFMO audience awarded the movie an 8.93 average rating, placing it #13 in the listing of the first 61 Best Pictures, an excellent outcome that may have been even better had the ending been more encouraging with a greater assurance of reunion, which may not have been possible for the autistic Hoffman staying in character as the train pulls out of the station.
Even in quiet sadness, there can be encouraging transformation and a brief shy smile that shines hope.
Around the corner and through the gate, an older lady bends to tend a bed of flowers, sits back on her heels, wipes her forehead and stares up to the blue sky and the sun shining like the bright yellow bloom of a coreopsis.
Miss Daisy is hardly shy and she doesn’t need anyone to drive her. Until she wrecks the car and her son insists. The bloom may fade with time, but not the spark in that lady’s eye or the friendship that grows between her and the driver she never wanted and at 97 never wants to miss.
How did our EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy audience react to “Driving Miss Daisy,” the Oscar winner and Best Picture of 1989?
The big like of the audience was the developing relationship and growing friendship between Miss Daisy (Jessica Tandy, who won the Best Actress Oscar) and Hoke Colburn (Morgan Freeman, her black driver); overall, the movie was recognized to convey a positive moral message (we are all human and we are all one), coupled unfortunately with a negative awareness of the failings of human nature (lingering prejudices, hateful mean acts), a growing recognition of the frailty of life itself (the amazing aging makeup of the leads, Daisy, Hoke and Boolie, over a span of 25 years), and the ending sadness of Miss Daisy’s dementia in her last-days; there really were no substantive dislikes, except perhaps Boolie’s (Dan Aykroyd’s) makeup; with an average rating of 9.08, Miss Daisy soars to a tie for #9 of the first 62 Best Pictures — great acting, great lines (Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay) and great makeup (Oscar for Best Makeup) in a great film (Oscar for Best Picture).
A lasting relationship is a friendship beyond boundaries and endings.
Rain Man and Miss Daisy have done something that has not been done before in 62 films. Together in their bright shyness, they have beaten the odds. For the first time for two consecutive films in the first 62 EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy movie-night showings and survey-form fillings, no one, not one person, chose “Leave” to answer the question “Assume hypothetically that you are angry with a person and considering leaving that person out in the freezing cold on a bare hillside in the snow without food or water or retrieving the person to the comfort of a warm cabin, which way would this movie influence you to act?” There were zero leaves. And, no one chose “No” or “Maybe” to the question “Do you feel the message of this film is still relevant today?” There were zero no or maybe messages. This is the first time we have had two such positive, uplifting, encouraging and entertaining best pictures back-to-back.
Can the trend possibly continue? Have we reached a new high or zenith in film-watching.
Check back for the next blog post to see and hear the results for the next show.
I can hardly wait. Can you? I hope to see you here soon.
Jim, the wonderingly entertained.