Movie and TV ReviewsMVD Entertainment Group’s ‘Rain Man’ Re-Issue Is Another Welcome...

MVD Entertainment Group’s ‘Rain Man’ Re-Issue Is Another Welcome Addition To 2023’s Field Of Top New Re-Issues


The topic of mental health has experienced an interesting relationship with the world of movies throughout cinema’s modern history.  Hollywood’s major studios have produced a number of movies centered on mental health reaching as far back as the timeless 1975 Jack Nicholson starring vehicle, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, which was released through United Artists.  In the nearly half century since that movie made its debut though, far fewer movies centered on mental health have been released by Hollywood’s major studios than action, drama and comedy flicks.  If one looks at IMDB’s list of movies centered on mental health, on will note that writers and studios did not really start focusing on the matter until the late 20th century, with movies such as Silver Linings PlaybookTake Shelter, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.  While a number of movies centering on mental health have been turned out since the late 20th century, few have had the impact of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and one other movie, MGM’s 1988 Oscar® award-winning tent piece, Rain Man.  Starring the pairing of Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, the movie’s portrayal of people with autism has become iconic and later this month will receive its latest re-issue (at least its 11th since it was originally released on VHS in August 1989) on a new UHD/Blu-ray combo pack presentation through MVD Entertainment Group.  The re-issue places the movie among the company’s “Marquee Collection,” which also features movies, such as The IllusionistThe Fabulous Boys and Find Me Guilty.

Rain Man is a marquee piece in itself, considering it won the Academy Award in 1988 for Best Picture and even now in its latest re-issue, it proves a marquee presentation at least for audiences who perhaps might not already own any of the movie’s previous re-issues.  Those who already own the movie – especially its latest re-issue from 2014 – are not the audiences being targeted with this latest re-issue.  That is due in large part because of the bonus content featured with this re-issue.  This matter will be discussed shortly.  The audio and video quality of the movie in its new 4K scan is a positive in its own right for the noted audiences who do not already own the movie.  It will be discussed a little later.  The story presented in this movie rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered they make the new re-issue of Rain Man a positive new offering from MVD Entertainment Group for viewers who do not already own this movie.

MVD Entertainment’s forthcoming 4k UHD/Blu-ray combo pack re-issue of MGM’s 1988 award-winning drama, Rain Man, is a positive presentation that audiences who do not already own the movie will appreciate.  The appreciation comes in part through the movie’s bonus content.  All of the bonus content featured in this re-issue was carried over from the 2014 re-issue.  The bonus content consists of “Lifting The Fog: A Look at the Mysteries of Autism,” “The Journey of Rain Man,” deleted scenes, and three separate feature-length audio commentaries.  One of the commentaries is presented by the movie’s director, Barry Levinson, the second is from writer Barry Morrow, who wrote the movie’s original story, and the third is from writer Donald Bass.  All three commentaries are featured in the movie’s Blu-ray and 4K UHD presentations.  This means no one viewer will be left out if they want to experience the commentaries.  The other bonus features are presented solely on the movie’s Blu-ray presentation.  This is just as positive because 4K UHD players can play Blu-ray discs, so whether or not viewers have that still cost prohibitive TV and or player, viewers can still take in the bonus content while clearly being gently urged to make the transition to 4K UHD.

Levinson’s commentary is everything that audiences should expect from a director.  He spends the majority of his time discussing the movie’s creative aspects (E.g. specific shot angles, lighting, etc.).  However, he does add some other interesting takes, such as the discussion on how the very concept of Raymond and Charlie traveling by road even came to be.  He explains how he discussed the matter with one of the movie’s writers ahead of the movie’s shooting, which led to that key plot element.  That discussion will generate plenty of interest for viewers.  He also points out, more than once, the hands-off approach that he took to helming the project, and how at on point it even led to a bit of improvisation from Cruise and Hoffman.  The moment in question centered on Hoffman talking about Raymond’s underwear.  The laid-back approach that Levinson discusses leads to more appreciation for the work from the case because it clearly allowed Cruise and Hoffman to bring their best in each scene.  The result is so much engagement in and appreciation for their work and in turn the movie.

The bonus feature that is “Lifting The Fog: A Look at the Mysteries of Autism” is another interesting extra.  The extensive presentation takes viewers deeper into the mental disorder that is autism and the different kinds of situations those with autism find themselves.  Listening to a couple of the people who have autism interviewed for the bonus is incredible.  That is because it shows how true Hoffman’s portrayal was to the situation of what are known as high-functioning autistic people.  This makes believability all the easier.  What’s more, knowing how real the situation was that Hoffman portrayed, it makes Charlie’s changing reactions to Raymond all the more believable, too.  That overall believability makes it so much easier to remain engaged and not just entertained, but moved, by the story and acting.  To that end, it is clear just how important this bonus feature is to the movie.

The “Journey of Rain Man” adds its own interest to the presentation and is just as worth watching.  Right from the feature’s outset, Levinson reveals that he was in fact the fourth director tied to the movie.  He did not elaborate on what happened to the other directors other than to just say they “fell off.”  Producer Mark Johnson reveals the identity of the other three directors, one of which allegedly according to him was none other than Steven Spielberg.  It would certainly have been interesting to know why Spielberg and the others left the movie.  Staying on that note, Levinson recollects that he originally did not want to direct the movie and that it was his wife who encouraged him to take on the project.

As an added note of interest, Morrow reveals that Rain Man was shot entirely during a writer’s strike.  He does not elaborate on that.  For historical purposes, the strike he mentions happened in 1988.  The strike in question lasted 22 weeks and centered on writers’ royalties for shows on which they worked that were broadcast overseas.  Considering that this re-issue is being released amidst another writer’s strike makes for a certain level of irony.

Levinson also discusses in this behind-the-scenes discussion that he wanted a less is more approach.  It echoes his comments during his feature-length audio commentary and makes more believable, his intent to take that approach.

The discussions from Levinson, Johnson and others in this feature who are not directly identified here collectively make so much interest.  From the noted discussions to the talks on the research that was done by others to make sure Hoffman’s portrayal was exact adds to that interest and shows even more why the movie’s bonus content is just as important to its overall presentation as the movie itself.  When the depth of content featured in this bonus feature is considered along with the content in the examination of autism in “Lifting The Fog” and all of the content in the audio commentaries, the whole of that bonus content makes for so much engagement and entertainment in itself.  The foundation that it builds for the re-issue’s presentation is solid and strengthened even more through the presentation in the movie’s new 4K scan.

The new 4K scan featured in this dual-disc presentation is impressive in its clarity.  There is no static or anything else at any point in the movie in its new presentation.  The most notable thing, however, is that the clarity shows how dark so many of the shots were.  Now Levinson does point out throughout his commentary, his focus on sights and sounds and how they affect people with autism.  That was in an effort to, again, make the movie (and Hoffman’s performance) as believable as possible.  To that end, maybe the lack of light in so many scenes was another intentional part of the initial shooting.  If it was not intentional however, then it does detract from the viewing experience at least somewhat.  Those moments really do leave a person wanting more from the lighting, but either way, that detraction is not enough to doom the visuals.  If anything, the overall scan is so much clearer than the original cut.  On a side note, the new scan featured in the Blu-ray platform is clear in its own right.  When it is upscaled on a 4K television, it looks just as good as the 4K scan.  Keeping that in mind, the scan (and the audio as a matter of fact) adds to the presentation’s overall appeal and in turn makes for even more engagement and entertainment.  Audiences will be just as impressed with this aspect as the movie’s bonus content, even though it is nothing new from the movie’s previous releases.

It goes without saying that the bonus content and production quality of Rain Man’s latest re-issue do much to make the movie worth watching and owning among those who do not already own the movie.  Even with that in mind there is still one more item to note that makes the movie so worth watching.  That item is the movie’s story.  At its heart, the story is obviously a focus on autism.  On another level though, it is also an examination of the emotional toll that autism takes on the loved ones who care for those who have autism.  Watching Charlie’s reaction to Raymond’s behavior, not having a full grasp on what his brother is going through, at least until later in the movie, is a moving depiction of the effect the disorder has on people who do not fully understand the condition versus those who are more familiar with the disorder and its symptoms.  As Charlie grows and begins to understand and appreciate the situation more, he changes, and his reactions change, depicting just as well, what loved ones of autistic individuals go through, emotionally.

Speaking of Charlie’s changing reactions and loved ones of autistic individuals, the story is clearly also one of family and of personal growth.  Watching Charlie’s change as he gets to know his brother is moving to say the least.  Seeing that he genuinely cares about his brother at the story’s end versus his persona at the story’s opening makes for such a rich presentation.  At first it’s so easy to hate Charlie, thanks to Cruise’s work, and then when he changes and shows love for his brother, he becomes all the more a sympathetic character.  That execution by Cruise and by all involved in the story’s writing is to be fully applauded.  To that end, the fact that the story incorporated so many themes into on whole and so fluidly at that makes clear why the story won the Oscar for the year’s best movie more than three decades ago.  When the power of Rain Man’s story is considered alongside the movie’s bonus content and with its look in its new 4K scan, the whole therein makes this latest re-issue of Rain Man a thoroughly enjoyable presentation that is among the best of this year’s new movie and TV re-issues.

MVD Entertainment Group’s new re-issue of MGM’s Oscar® award-winning movie Rain Man is a largely successful new offering from the independent distribution company.  Its success comes in part through its featured bonus content.  The bonus content featured here is carried over from the movie’s most recent Blu-ray re-issue and is spread across the set’s 4K and BD discs.  The fact that the bonus content was fully carried over from that re-issue is positive in its own right.  It ensures those who already own the movie really do not need to buy this set unless they really want the movie in its new 4K scan, which is its own positive.  The fac that the content is spread across both discs ensures no viewers are left out among those who do buy the set.  Speaking of the 4K scan, it is the clearest presentation yet of this classic movie.  Given it does highlight some lighting issues in various shots, but that is not a fault against MVD and those who rescanned the movie for its 4K presentation here.  The movie’s story rounds out its most important elements, tying together so many story elements, such as family, personal growth and the very aspect of autism and how it affects those who have it and those who care for them.  Each item examined here is key in its own way to the whole of Rain Man’s re-issue.  All things considered they make the movie another welcome addition to this year’s field of new movie and television re-issues.

MVD Entertainment Group’s re-issue of Rain Man is scheduled for release Jun 13.  More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available at: