For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Sports Themed Movies, here’s a review of For the Love of the Game (1999) by J-Dub of Dubsism.
Next month’s genre has been chosen by Matthew Simpson of Awesome Friday and we will be reviewing our favorite Best Picture Nominated Movies that didn’t win.
Thanks again to Tyler of The Geek Card Check for choosing this month’s genre.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of May by sending them to AwesomeMatthew@movierob.net
Try to think out of the box!
Let’s see what J-Dub thought of this movie:
- Today’s Movie: For The Love Of The Game
- Year of Release: 1999
- Stars: Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston, John C. Reilly
- Director: Sam Raimi
This movie is not on my list of essential films.
NOTE: This installment of Movies Everybody Loves That I Hate is not being done as part of a blog-a-thon. Instead, this is a monthly event hosted by MovieRob called Genre Grandeur. The way it works is every month MovieRob chooses a film blogger to pick a topic and a movie to write about, then also picks a movie for MovieRob to review. At the end of the month, MovieRob posts the reviews of all the participants.
For April of 2022, the honor of being the “guest picker” went to Tyler Howat of The Geek Card Check. The topic is “Sports Movies.” Let’s be honest…you know I had to take a swing at that. Not only am I a rabid sports fan…this whole blog should tell you that…but I am a die-hard baseball guy. Now that we are deep enough into spring to start seeing the best of the “Boys of Summer,” it’s time for me to dissect why I would rather take a cup-splitting line drive than sit through this movie again.
1) The “Kevin Costner” Rule
Let’s just cut through the guano here. With precious few exceptions, it’s easier to split the atom in your garage than it is to make a watchable movie featuring Kevin Costner. Now, one of those exception was Bull Durham…which could have been the best baseball movie ever made if somebody would have taken a Louisville Slugger to Susan Sarandon.
But after the shit-heap that was Field of Dreams, there was simply no way anybody should have subjected themselves to another Costner baseball movie…under any circumstances. Not to mention, as a film-maker, Costner was on a cold streak since Tin Cup. We got The Postman and Message in a Bottle back-to-back. For Love of the Game was “Strike Three.” You’re out.
2) Why Does This Movie Even Exist?
Just before the aforementioned Tin Cup, Costner had his “Waterloo” in Waterworld. Not only was it a complete crap-fest and financial disaster, but apparently I’m the only person who remembers that Kevin Costner said that if Waterworld bombed, he would stop making movies.
Well, that clearly didn’t happen. Maybe that’s why Costner is in such a state of denial about it.
3) What Is This Movie Really About?
This whole movie really takes places in main character “Billy Chapel’s” head; everything else is “window dressing.” Realistically, the whole point of For The Love Of The Game is “Billy Chapel’s” internal monologues.
Here’s my take. Imagine this entire movie being written in Costner’s living room. Imagine “Big Kev” sitting on his couch in “Billy Chapel’s” uniform mumbling things like “Maybe Waterworld was a big, fat turd” or “Does everybody know I’m really a complete fraud? How did Dances With Wolves win best picture over Goodfellas?”
If I really want to see a Detroit Tigers’ pitcher talking to himself, I’ll look up some YouTube videos of Mark Fidrych.
4) Seriously…Why The Hell Did I Watch This?
Here’s a lesson in composition and it’s importance. Because of the way this movie is structured, trying to invest in this film’s plot is like trying to follow a hail-storm of curveballs. The biggest problem is For The Love Of The Game bloats into a film which is easily at least 30 minutes too long. Worse yet, none of that time is spent making me give a shit about any of the main characters. Instead, the viewer gets taken on this weird double-helix of twist and turns which only winds its way to an over-stuffed exercise in self-importance.
That’s why all I can see in “Billy Chapel” is Costner’s soulless reprise of “Crash Davis” from Bull Durham. Except in that movie, we get to know “Crash Davis” and what his motivations are. In For The Love Of The Game, “Billy Chapel” is like if Costner did a “paint by numbers” version of “Crash Davis,” and he expects you to like it because…well…he’s Kevin Fucking Costner.
Worse yet is Kelly Preston’s role in this film is every bit as forced and formulaic as was Susan Sarandon’s in Bull Durham. Not to mention, the relationship is exactly the same. It’s another exercise in the “love interests” bickering incessantly before they give in to what we all know is going to happen. If you loved “Sam and Diane” on Cheers, you’ll love this <barf noise>.
5) The type-casting of J.K Simmons
Granted, his role as “Frank Perry” (the manager) comes relatively early in the Oscar-winner’s career, but J.K. Simmons is burned in my brain as “Emil Skoda,” the no-nonsense psychiatrist from Law and Order. To top it off, whenever I hear his voice, I am immediately reminded of the original voice of the “Yellow M&M” of commercial fame.
6) The Rumors About Kevin Costner’s Penis
True or not, this totally makes sense to me given Costner’s level of delusion (“Waterworld didn’t suck”) and his well-known reputation for being a “diva.” Rumors abounded about this film about a beef between Kevin Costner and Universal Pictures because the studio cut his “full-frontal” shower scene. According to IMDB, Costner said to Newsweek that Universal showed no “real courage” removing that scene, citing that the movie needed a family-friendly rating.
In their defense, Universal was on record saying that audiences had not-so-positive reaction to the sight of Costner’s junk…in fact, it was reported there was “giggling.” I’m not sure what that means, but Kevin Costner need not worry about our awareness of his penis. Anybody who opened their wallet for this craptacluar movie felt it firmly up their ass.
If you really have a hankering for a baseball movie, you’ll enjoy these far more than For The Love Of The Game.