Rain Man, Burger Battle, & The Search for Everything

FINALLY FRIDAY is a weekly review article meant to give you some suggestions on what to geek out about over the next week… or so.

WATCHING

Rain Man (1988)

Now that I run a podcast about movies, it only seems fair that I start catching up on older movies that I haven’t seen yet. While running through Hulu, I came across Rain Man.

I know! I know! Even my brother asked how I hadn’t seen it until now. I’m sorry. Good grief!

To summarize: Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) finds out he has an autistic brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), after his estranged father dies. He’s left with nothing but a classic car that broke the relationship with his father. He discovers that he has an older brother who was left 3 million dollars. Charlie, being the selfish guy that he is, feels entitled to his half of the money and tracks down Raymond, only to find out he’s autistic and the money has been left to the institution. Charlie kidnaps Ray and heads to Los Angeles in hopes to gain his brother’s trust, as well as the inheritance he feels he deserves. The adventure ends up changing not only Charlie, but Raymond, too.

I watched Rain Man over the course of a couple days, and at first I wasn’t impressed. Tom Cruise wasn’t likable in the least and felt very… Tom Cruise, and not the good version. As the movie progressed, though, I found myself enjoying it more, paying attention to the subtle changes taking place in both men. Eventually Tom Cruise’s performance didn’t bother me as much. Dustin Hoffman, though. From the second he hits the screen, I wanted more of him. While I’ve heard criticisms of the portrayal of autism in the film, I couldn’t help but find Hoffman intriguing, lovable, and innocent. Looking back at it now, it’s a role that is the perfect foil to Cruise’s narcissistic Charlie. And ultimately, that’s what makes both characters work so well.

This could easily be one of my favorite movies and I could watch it at least once per year.

LISTENING

John Mayer – The Search for Everything (2017)

I don’t make a lot of time for music anymore. Considering so much of my time is spend writing for the podcast, writing responses for work, and doing other tasks that require focus, I tend to only listen to instrumental tracks from one of the Focus playlists on Spotify. There are times, however, when I need something else. That something else this week happened to be The Search for Everything by John Mayer. I can admit that I’ve not been a big Mayer fan for no particular reason. After watching him on an episode of the YouTube show, Hot Ones, something clicked and I wanted to revisit his albums.

The Search for Everything simply feels heartfelt and the title of the album fits the tone perfectly. There’s a longing Mayer conveys throughout every single, no matter what the tempo or style. I’m not good at explaining music. I can’t always identify the message that I’m seeing or feeling when I listen, but something about this album in particular hits me hard. It could very well be that I don’t get wrapped up in the drama that supposedly surrounds Mayer. I’ve heard that one of the songs references Katy Perry in some way, but I wouldn’t know that because, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I just like the music and the way it makes me feel.

PLAYING

Burger Battle

At a local convention a couple of years ago I ran into Andrew Heath. He’s an illustrator and graphic designer from Kentucky. Since I have a background in design myself, we actually talked for a little while and I picked up a card game, Retro Loonacy, that he did the designs for. I really love his style and my family plays the game regularly. A few weeks ago he announced that he was releasing his own card game, Burger Battle, and I knew that I just had to try and get a review copy. Lucky for me, Andrew’s a cool guy and sent one to this goofy podcast host.

The premise for Burger Battle is pretty straight-forward: choose your burger, be the first to build it, and sabotage the other players in the process.

As of right now, the only people I’ve played the game with have been my 9-year old and 4-year old. Surprisingly, the youngest won the first two games with very little help. While the instructions say it’s good for ages 14+, I really think it could be ages 6+. I still need to play test it with more people, but I think it’s a great opener or introductory game you can play with anyone, no matter what their experience. The Kickstarter for it goes live on July 9th, so be sure to fund it. I’ll be reviewing it more in-depth soon, I hope, after getting some more people to try it out.