Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 27
Tim Robbins October 16, 1958
Tim Robbins born

Tim Robbins, a versatile actor, writer, director, and political activist, was born October 16, 1958. Having pursued acting since he was a young boy, Robbins performed experimental theater in both New York (at the Theater for the New City) and Los Angeles (with his company, the Actors’ Gang), played small movie roles and TV guest spots until his breakthrough picture, 1988’s Bull Durham, directed by Ron Shelton. Robbins played Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, a minor league pitcher who is schooled by Kevin Costner’s relatively grizzled veteran, “Crash” Davis. Susan Sarandon is the woman who travels between them in a film that was both a great romantic comedy and also a film that captured the ways in which sports shape our identities. Four years later, Robbins had a double-header of his own, starring in Robert Altman’s The Player while making his directing and screenwriting debut with Bob Roberts, a prescient comedy about the campaigning practices of a right-wing senatorial candidate that looks pretty good today. (In an interview with Spinner, Robbins compared the Tea Party to the candidate of his film: “The same propaganda keeps coming back. It was that way when I did Bob Roberts and it went away for a little bit and now it's back; it's relentless. It's propaganda that tries to get the American people to vote against their better interests. Unfortunately, Bob Roberts still works!") Two years later came his starring turn with Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, in which he played an unjustly imprisoned man and then, in 1995, Dead Man Walking, a drama about capital punishment starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. Robbins wrote, produced and directed the film and was nominated for Best Director. Many other strong films followed, including Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and Philip Noyce’s South Africa-set Catch a Fire. Robbins has also been an impassioned political activist, protesting the Iraq War and globalist economic policies. He will be seen upcoming in Martin Campbell’s Green Hornet

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More Flashbacks
November 27, 1909
James Agee born

Cinema and, in particular, the way we look at it was greatly changed by James Agee, who was born today in 1909.

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November 27, 1996
Sling Blade released

Until Sling Blade, Billy Bob Thornton was best known as ballsy character actor who brought a Deep South authenticity to films ranging from Chopper Chicks in Zombietown to Tombstone.

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