Just as everyone has an opinion, a favorite meal and a nose — albeit a fake one at times — so too does everyone have a birthday. Even celebrities. Here at Birthday Bash, it’s my mission to salute the fine actors, filmmakers and other Hollywood heroes that are celebrating their special day this week. After all, it’s cheaper than mailing a cake.
This week's Birthday Bash is highlighted by an iconic action star, a recent comic book hero and one of the most reputable actors of our time.
Sylvester Stallone (July 6): When you're thinking of the greatest action heroes in cinema history, it's hard not to place Sylvester Stallone toward the top of the list. Stallone's lengthy film career includes iconic turns as prizefighter Rocky Balboa and PTSD-suffering John Rambo, two roles that the actor resurrected in recent years with a surprising amount of success. Even outside of his most famous characters, Stallone has other memorable movie credits to his name, such as "Tango & Cash," "Cop Land," and "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot." Alright, maybe he'd like to wipe a few of those titles off the board...
Birthday Wishes: Stallone, now 63 years old, is currently filming an ambitious actioner entitled "The Expendables." The flick features a host of action film stars, including Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke and more. With a cast like that, and given the bloodbath that was "Rambo," let's hope that Stallone's latest can live up to expectations.
Billy Crudup (July 8): Not exactly sure who Billy Crudup is? Well if you've seen "Watchmen," then you're at least familiar with his oversized blue naughty bits. The actor played the nearly omnipotent Dr. Manhattan in the recent superhero film directed by Zack Snyder, though his actual likeness was obscured behind computer-enhanced graphics throughout much of the movie's runtime. Outside of "Watchmen," Crudup has had memorable turns in "Almost Famous," "Big Fish" and "Mission: Impossible III," among others.
Birthday Wishes: He already got his feet wet in the comic book movie world with "Watchmen," but does the fun need to end there? Crudup is my first choice to play the ill-fated war hero John Custer in "Preacher," though the actor could easily fill a leading role in any number of other upcoming graphic novel-based films.
Tom Hanks (July 9): From animated features and comedies to dramas and thrillers, Tom Hanks has truly done it all. Perhaps best known for his Oscar-winning turn in "Forrest Gump," Hanks has nonetheless proved himself in a variety of roles including "Saving Private Ryan," the "Toy Story" franchise and most recently as Robert Langdon in "Angels & Demons." Heck, he even starred in a comic book movie of his own in 2002's "Road to Perdition," proving there's no genre that the actor isn't willing to contend with.
Birthday Wishes: While he's a brilliant performer in front of the screen, Hanks has offered equally brilliant work as a producer, most notably with HBO's World War II miniseries "Band of Brothers." In 2010, Hanks and co-producer Steven Spielberg will return to that dreary world once more with "The Pacific," an all-new World War II miniseries that is sure to bring all the gravitas and visual spectacle seen in their previous epic.
Special shout out goes to Ringo Starr (July 7), the Beatles drummer who occasionally dabbled as a film star. As the British rockers have dwindled down to just two members, here's hoping that Ringo (and Paul) will stick around for many more birthdays to come.
Be sure to come back next Monday for an all-new edition of Birthday Bash!