“Drop a box of matches”

RORY: You know, Paris, while yes, a little intense, is also very smart.
FRANCIE: So I drop a box of matches on the floor, she can tell me how many there are?

Francie refers to the 1988 drama film Rain Man, directed by Barry Levinson and starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. It’s about a selfish, unscrupulous dealer named Charlie who discovers he has a brother Raymond who is an autistic savant. Charlie removes Raymond from the institution where he has lived most of his life, and they travel across country together.

In one scene of the film, a waitress accidentally spills a packet of toothpicks on the floor, and Raymond instantly calculates that there are 246 toothpicks.

The character of Raymond was partially based on Kim Peek, a real life savant, and partly on Bill Sackter, a man with intellectual disabilities who was a friend of one of the screenwriters. In real life, neither of them were able to perform this feat, although some savants can.

Rain Man was a critical and commercial success, becoming the #1 film of 1988, and won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (for Hoffman), and Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. As of this moment, it was the last drama that both topped the box office and won the Oscar for Best Picture.

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