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There's something about Ben



Benstiller Ben Stiller, better known for his work in the 1990s and beyond, actually got his start in the '80s ... like all true geniuses.

Stiller, who turns 41 years old today, is best known for his roles in There's Something About Mary, Reality Bites, Meet the Parents and Dodgeball.

But here's a quick look at his '80s work:

Hot Pursuit (1987): John Cusack plays a student chasing his girlfriend's family through the Caribbean. Look for Ben (and his father Jerry) playing the boat hijackers. I know many people disagree with me here, but this is a highly underappreciated 80s movie.

Empire of the Sun (1987): Say what you want about Saving Private Ryan, but I consider this one to be Spielberg's true WW2 classic. Starring a VERY young Christian Bale and John Malkovich as detainees in a Japanese prison camp. Ben plays "Dainty," an American also interned at the camp. He gets the great line: "Hey Kid. Would you like a Hershey Bar?" Bale replies yes, leaving Stiller with the punchline, "Me too, you got one?"

Fresh Horses (1988): Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy in the movie that pretty much signals the end of the Brat Pack's teen dynasty in Hollywood. Where's John Hughes when you really need him? Look for Ben playing the part of "Tipton" but don't blame him if you didn't enjoy the rest of the movie. Dare I say -- not a classic.

Next of Kin (1989): Say what you like about a movie centered around hillbillies who come to the big city to avenge a brother's murder. (Trust me, it's all been said.) But this movie had an impressive cast: Patrick Swayze, Liam Neeson, Helen Hunt. Bill Paxton, and yes, Ben Stiller playing a small role too. Just sit back and enjoy all the fake accents.

It'd be the last small role for Stiller, who would start the vastly underappreciated "Ben Stiller Show" on TV the following year. His latest film, Night at the Museum, opens Dec. 22. Happy birthday, Ben.

Other '80s birthdays today:
Bo Jackson (44) and Billy Idol (51).

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:20pm]


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