Movies of 1988 Bracket Game: Rain Man Vs. Bull Durham
By just about any metric you can think of, Rain Man was the biggest movie of the year in 1988. Not only was it the highest-grossing movie of the year, Rain Man scored four Oscar wins including major categories like Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. Coming up with a natural pairing for the bracket game was a bit of a challenge. Rain Man had already bested the year’s other prestige pictures, so sticking it with another Oscar contender seemed anti-climactic. It’s not a perfect fit, admittedly, but I went with Bull Durham. Like Rain Man, Bull Durham features a hot-shot kid who bros out with an older guy and learns important life lessons. While Bull Durham is the more comedic of the two, I felt like both movies blended humor and drama.
Before we get out on the road with Dustin & Tom and Kevin & Tim, let’s review the results of yesterday’s “women’s issues” match.
The spunky secretary with a “mind for business and a bod for sin” had what it took to climb the corporate ladder in Working Girl and apparently that translates over into bracket game success because Mike Nichols’ rom-com walked away with just over 60% of the votes beating out Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning turn in The Accused. Some readers cited rewatchability as a factor noting that the subject matter makes The Accused difficult to revisist. That means Melanie Griffitth will advance to the next round where she will need a lot of help from Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver to take on Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
Rain Man was an important movie in the careers of both of its lead actors. According to Hoffman, he had been blacklisted for five years following his Oscar-nominated performance in Tootsie in 1982. When Hoffman returned to the big screen, it was in the notorious flop, Ishtar. To say the actor needed a hit was an understatement. Believe it or not, Hoffman’s role was originally written for Bill Murray. If Murray had accepted, Hoffman would have been offered the role played by Tom Cruise.
Just a couple of years earlier, Cruise established himself as an A-list movie star with Top Gun. At this point in his career, he needed to prove that he was more than just a killer smile. Like The Color of Money, Rain Man allowed Cruise to work with a top-tier director and to let a veteran actor do a lot of the heavy lifting. All Cruise had to do was play a variation of the cocksure kid he portrayed in all of his movies from the late-eighties and early nineties and hope some of the prestige would rub off on him.
Kevin Costner was still a star-in-the-making when Bull Durham was released. In 1987, Costner rose from obscurity with lead roles in The Untouchables and No Way Out. Ron Shelton’s lyrical baseball comedy showcased Costner’s easy-going charm and athleticism. Costner played baseball in high school and he took the sport very seriously. According to Shelton, Costner insisted on throwing strikes even when the cameras weren’t rolling.
Costner’s character mentors an upstart pitcher played by Tim Robbins. Robbins was essentially an unknown at the time. The studio pressured Shelton to cast Anthony Michael Hall instead. The studio relented after Shelton threatened to quit the project. In the movie, Robbins and Costner are involved in a love triangle with Susan Sarandon’s character. But in real life, Robbins and Sarandon became romantically involved. Though they never married, they stayed together for more than twenty years and raised two kids.
Which movie about men discovering themselves out on the road holds up better for you?
Posted on January 5, 2018, in Bracket Game, Movies and tagged Barry Levinson, Bull Durham, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Costner, Rain Man, Ron Shelton, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Tom Cruise. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.