This Day in Movie History: January 14

20 years ago Today in Movie History – January 14 – Jonathan Demme’s groundbreaking drama about the HIV/AIDS virus Philadelphia opened wide in theaters. Starring Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Jason Robards, Antonio Banderas, Mary Steenburgen, and Joanne Wooodward – Philadelphia would strike a chord with mainstream audiences to the tune of a $77 million domestic gross. It was also a hugely important picture for Hanks as it transitioned him from an actor known primarily for comedy to an actor who showed his dramatic range. The role would earn Hanks a Best Actor Oscar – a feat he would repeat the next year with Forrest Gump.

As for birthdays, LL Cool J is 46 today. One of the first rappers to make a successful transition to film, he’s appeared in pics from The Hard Way to Toys to Halloween H20 to Deep Blue Sea to Any Given Sunday. Additionally, LL has had a solid TV career with his sitcom “In the House” and currently with crime drama “NCIS: Los Angeles”.

Jason Bateman is 45 today. He’s come a long way from his days on the 80s sitcom “The Hogan Family” and his film debut in the unfortunate 1987 sequel Teen Wolf Too. Over the last several years he’s appeared primarily in comedies including Starsky and Hutch, Dodgeball, The Break-Up, and The Switch. He’s transitioned to comedic leading man over the last couple of years with megahits Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief. There’s also been some non straight-up comedies including Juno, The Kingdom, Hancock, Up in the Air, and State of Play. This is all, of course, in addition to his acclaimed role on the lauded sitcom “Arrested Development”. Bateman directs and stars in this spring’s Bad Words before this fall’s anticipated Horrible Bosses 2.

As for Six Degrees of Separation between the birthday boys:

LL Cool J was in Any Given Sunday with Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx was in Horrible Bosses with Jason Bateman

And that’s today – January 14 – in Movie History.

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