Over the course of this bracket game, we’ve talked a lot about what a great year 1988 was for comedy. But that’s a pretty broad umbrella. Both of our movies today could be classified as comedies, but aside from laughter they don’t share a lot in common. Bull Durham is equal parts sports movie and romantic comedy. A lot of the humor comes from how perfectly Ron Shelton captures a world he knew well; minor league baseball. Beetlejuice, on the other hand, is a fantastical creation filled with oddities without a sports team or a love triangle in sight.
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.
Tom Hardy turns 39 today. His acting career began in 2001, playing a pair of soldiers, PFC John Janovec in the miniseries Band of Brothers, and as Specialist Lance Twombly in Black Hawk Down. He then played the Romulan leader Shinzon in the box office and critical failure Star Trek: Nemesis, which might have temporarily slowed his career down. He began to emerge as a star with a scene-stealing supporting role in Christopher Nolan’s Inception: