For Love of the Game Reviews
August 9, 2012
Kevin Costner usually does not interest me. I don't know if I'd call him a bad actor, it's just that his characters tend to be bland. But he is a baseball fan, and I think the films he has chosen in which the game is the subject matter tend to be his better films. I haven't seen most of them in a long long while, but I have recently re-watched this Sam Raimi baseball film: "For Love of the Game"...and when it focuses on the game and not the rather mundane/average love story, it is actually pretty good. The present day game Costner is pitching, and the interactions with other players in flashbacks are interesting, but the romance angle is a whole lot of bleh. Raimi is a better director than this - but the movie isn't unwatchable, because the true drama and tensity of what a real Perfect Game is like is there...but that stuff has enough weight that I don't care about his girlfriend issues too much, especially when they don't do anything new with that material.
October 14, 2013
A great and uplifting sports flick.
October 10, 2014
Overly long,overly soppy and the presence of baseball doesn't really help. Why did I watch it? Simple: Kevin Costner.
October 7, 2014
The Detroit Tigers travel to New York to play a season-ending series against the New York Yankees. At 63-98, the team has long since been eliminated from playoff contention and are playing for nothing but pride against the Yankees, who have a chance to clinch the American League East with a win. For 40-year-old pitcher Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner), however, this may end up being the most significant 24 hours of his life. In his Manhattan hotel suite, Billy awaits his girlfriend Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston), but she doesn't show. The next morning, Billy is told by Tigers' owner Gary Wheeler (Brian Cox) that the team has been sold and that the new owners' first move will be to end Billy's 19-year tenure with the Tigers by trading him to the San Francisco Giants. Billy also learns from Jane that she is leaving that same day to accept a job offer in London. Billy is a famous, accomplished pitcher, but has a losing record this season, is near the end of his career and is also recovering from a hand injury. Wheeler hints that Billy should consider retiring rather than join another team. As he goes to Yankee Stadium to make his last start of the year, Billy begins reflecting about Jane, detailing how they met five years prior. As the game progresses, with friend and catcher Gus Sinski (John C. Reilly) aware that something is on Billy's mind other than baseball, Billy dominates the Yankees' batters, often talking to himself on how to pitch each one. While in the dugout resting between innings, Billy also reflects how his relationship with Jane was strained by his shutting her out of his life after he suffered a career-threatening injury in the off-season. The pain of pitching is getting worse as the game goes on. Billy is so caught up in his thoughts that he does not realize he is pitching a perfect game until he looks at the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth inning. Gus confirms that no one has reached base, and says that the whole team is rallying behind Billy to do whatever it takes to keep the perfect game bid alive. Billy's shoulder pain has become intense by this point, and after he throws his first two pitches of the inning well out of the strike zone, Tigers manager Frank Perry (J. K. Simmons) makes the call to warm up two relief pitchers in the bullpen. The count goes to 3-0 before Billy recalls pitching to his father (now deceased) in the back yard. He rallies and throws a strike, then gets the batter out on the next pitch. Before the Tigers take the field for the bottom of the ninth inning, Billy has final ruminations about his career and his love for Jane. He autographs a baseball for Wheeler, who has been like a father to him for many years. Along with the signature, Billy also writes on the ball that he will retire "for love of the game."...
I admit, I like "Bull Durham" and "Fields Of Dreams", they are different from eachother but still has baseball as the pillar of the story. "For Love Of The Game" is not an exception and we get to see a great performance from Costner in a slightly similar role to the one he did in "Bull Durham". We are confronted by the difficulties of a relationship and the joy of a relationship, love, trust and as well the realisation that something is coming to an end and how you handle that. I love the idea of how Billy Chapel reflects on the past five years of his life from the pitchers mound and realising, that his life has been anything but perfect, despite the fact that he is pitching a perfect game at the same time. I think itīs well made and believable from many angles. Specifically the baseball games has been handled and shot in a great way and Sam Raimi takes you all along right down to the field to feel the action. I like for example that he crosscut a lot to "televised" shots during the final game in the movie, that gives the whole atmosphere a really authentic feeling with replays and all. Details, great details. Costner feels so at home in a movie like this, and the role itself is just made for Costner. The fact that he himself through god knows how many pitches during the shoot makes the whole environment glow from an in-depth live feeling of baseball. "For Love Of The Game" might have some sappy moments, but the general set up is of my liking.
September 16, 2014
Seen this one many times, always a good one to go back to towards the end of baseball season.
May 12, 2013
(First and only full viewing - 5/12/2013)
June 9, 2014
Although it was the least popular of Kevin Costner's baseball films, as For Love of the Game was directed by Sam Raimi, part of me felt that the film had to have positive merits to it.
For Love of the Game essentially goes back and forth between the two central genres of the story which are melodramatic romance and generic sports. While the sporting aspect of the film ends up being entertaining, the romantic aspect is not. The thing is that For Love of the Game has the passion to be a good sporting movie and the budget to depict some entertaining scenes, but the romantic theme in the film just really drags it down. For Love of the Game had the potential to be a thoughtful film depicting the way that a human's emotions manifest themselves physically on the person and affects their lifestyle, particularly in a sporting themed setting this time, but it ends up resorting to going in circles through all the essential generic storytelling elements.
The romantic story in For Love of the Game is usually a subplot in a sports movie while the general focus is more on the sporting aspect, but Dana Stevens' script focuses more on the aspect of the romance which is not that good. The romance in the story does not contribute to making the characters strong at all and it is just soppy sentimentality which turns melodramatic without firm dramatisation. For Love of the Game could have been a good sports movie, and the direction of Sam Raimi was precisely what proved that to be the case. But since it quickly sinks into tedious melodrama which is not that entertaining. It circulates this again and again at a slow pace until the end of the 137 minute running time. If you can honestly sit through that much tedious hokum then For Love of the Game is the film for you. Others will not have the same sense of enjoyment.
The problem comes down to the script. I mean the language of the film is fine but it is too focused on creating some kind of romantic dilemma which it just cannot. The romance in the film is cheap and weak, and it does not match up to the quality of the baseball scenes. While Sam Raimi does his best to maintain the nature of the script, it is written to have a poor nature and so the execution of it ensures that it cannot exceed that. For Love of the Game is stuck within limitations of its script that nothing can succeed, not even the quality of Sam Raimi's direction.
Thankfully, For Love of the Game does benefit from Sam Raimi's direction. When it is on the baseball field, For Love of the Game is entertaining because it has a lot of great baseball sequences which are shot with powerful cinematography and edited nicely. The scenery of the film is also very nice as it renders everything convincing, so it is exciting to watch Kevin Costner get back to playing baseball once again even if he has to go through tedious romance to do it. And while it does not live up to the standards of the Academy Award nominated Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, For Love of the Game has some memorable baseball sequences which ensure that the film is fun when on the field even though it is poor when off it. It is at least nice to see Sam Raimi taking on a more lighthearted genre for once because he gives the film style and atmosphere, and frankly he works as hard as one can with material that is so lacklustre.
The cast of For Love of the Game evoke a rather mixed response
Kevin Costner gives a nice leading performance in For Love of the Game because he is gentle and allows his natural persona to take over the part. He makes himself an easily likable lead based on the fact that he establishes a sense of determination in him which has viewers siding with him as he progresses through his baseball career. Although the romance of the film is tedious, Kevin Costner plays himself into it well so he manages to turn in a performance which has him working as both a man of romance and a sports hero well enough. Kevin Costner constantly maintains the right level of passion in his performance which makes him a genial presence, and his nomination for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor is just ridiculous. For Love of the Game is one of the lesser quality baseball films Kevin Costner has starred I, but his performance is one of the best aspects of it.
Kelly Preston is not all that great though. I found that her performance mainly consisted of her overthinking everything and delivering it in a melodramatic way which reinforced the already negative nature of the romance behind For Love of the Game. You'd think she had landed the contract on a soap opera with how she acts in For Love of the Game because it is really poor form. Although her chemistry with Kevin Costner is ok because it seems like they really share something, Kelly Preston is really not admirable for her performance in For Love of the Game because she is too over the top for her own good or for the good of the film itself which has her dragging it down when she tries to steal it.
John C. Reilly is always a nice presence, so in For Love of the Game he is good to have around because of the kind of chemistry that he shares with Kevin Costner and how the friendship they develop makes an impact on the story as it tries to progress.
Jena Malone pulls off a nice supporting performance though as her childish charm has the strength to appeal to viewers while her natural charisma and easy ability to interact with the surrounding cast boost her credibility.
So For Love of the Game benefits from a decent leading performance from Kevin Costner and stylish direction from Sam Raimi, but due to an excess of melodramatic romance and a poor leading performance from Kelly Preston, it ends up being a swing and a miss.
July 29, 2013
Gotta give this 5 stars. I liked it just as much as I did when I saw it (way) back in 99. It's stood up well. Kevin Costner is excellent as aging Detroit Tigers pitcher 'Billy Chapel' and looks just like one of the pro's out on the field. Told for the most part through flashbacks, this starts at the end and then goes back as Billy "clear's the mechanism" and begins pitching in what could potentially be his last game, as his team has just been sold and the new owners have plans to trade him. Throughout this game he reflects on his life, 18yr career and on-again-off-again relationship with 'Jane' (Kelly Preston) which has also reached a impasse. For the most part this is baseball movie and it gets super exciting as Billy unknowingly nears a perfect game, debates retirement and Jane winds her way through the airport on her way to England. I'm not sure what the critics ever thought of this but I think its fantastic; great story, told in a clever way, sweet well portrayed romance and just a classic sports movie. Also enjoyed John C Reilly as his catcher and his relationship with former owner (Brian Cox.) The game has changed.6/21/14
June 8, 2014
Advertises itself as a baseball movie, but is just worthless romance between two actors, Costner and Preston, who don't even have good chemistry. John C Reilly excels in a supporting role, however, and the small segments of baseball actually look like Kevin Costner is good at it.
May 8, 2014
this movie should have 75%
April 12, 2014
Shows the progress of a relationship while showing the last game of a pitcher's career. Raimi goes out of his comfort zone, Kelly Preston proves that there is more to her than just being the Travolta trophy wife and this is the sort of film that was made for Kevin Costner. I kind of love that when MLB plays a dramatic film this is the one they choose.
March 13, 2014
This Rating is unjustified. Great Sound Track, Great Acting, Great Story.
February 2, 2014
Un bon drame romantique sportif ?
January 22, 2014
As a baseball movie, it's great , for anything else, it's bad. Personally, I love it.
January 21, 2014
A guilty pleasure of mine. It dips deep into melodrama repeatedly. If it were a puppet show I would say it fails at concealing the strings, as repeatedly the scenes feel forced. The acting, particularly from a young Jena Malone, is rather stilted, but Raimi always gets you from point A to point B with a certain charming flow even when the story, visuals, and the acting he's coaxing from his players aren't top notch, and that element is present here. He tells the story well even if the story itself isn't that great, and with the backdrop of a perfect game of baseball he pulls me in for the ride every time.
January 14, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
December 28, 2013
Great baseball film to watch, Kevin Costner has another great performance in this semi confusing movie. The thing it does bad is not really have great transitions between memories being played back and the present.
December 15, 2013
Sappy; but I love this movie
October 23, 2013
Longer than it needs to be, and sappy/predictable at times, but overall really enjoyable. I liked how Costner's character was reflecting on his career throughout the game. I feel that very few baseball movies show the pitcher alone on the mound with his thoughts. It's usually pretty rare. All in all, this is a good, likable baseball film. Worth seeing if you're a legitimate baseball fan.
September 1, 2013
So trite and predictable.