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.
We have a pretty short list of celebrity birthdays today—a fortunate thing since I didn’t have much time to write the article.
Paul Rudd is celebrating his 48th today. He made his acting debut in a recurring role on NBC’s Sisters and his feature film debut in Clueless. For the next two decades, Rudd appeared in a variety of major films. Occasionally he had lead roles, starring opposite Reese Witherspoon in Overnight Delivery, or in Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things. But more commonly he would be found in supporting roles in films ranging from The Cider House Rules to the Anchorman films. He had a recurring role on the last two seasons of Friends as Phoebe’s eventual husband, Mike Hannigan.
Rudd has worked frequently with filmmakers David Wain and Judd Apatow. For the former he has made films like Wet Hot American Summer and Role Models. Besides the Anchorman films, he has worked with Apatow on The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and This is 40 (in which he starred with Leslie Mann). His best-known role to many filmgoers, however, is surely as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, in two installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Today’s match pairs two rising stars against each other at the moments when their careers took shape. Robin Williams and Mel Gibson were among Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men. And they can both trace their A-list status back to the movies they headlined in 1987. Gibson costarred opposite Danny Glover in the buddy-cop movie that defined the genre. And Williams received his first-ever Oscar nomination for playing a zany army DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service during the Vietnam Conflict.