Retro Review: For Love of the Game

Kevin Costner returns to baseball diamond as he tries to follow in the footsteps of his previous baseball odysseys.

The film follows the recollections of an aging pitcher (Kevin Costner) as he tries to make baseball history. The film flips back and forth in the pitcher’s life as he tries to figure out his love affair with a magazine writer (Kelly Preston).

The film’s director Sam Raimi, who brought us “A Simple Plan”, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and the “Evil Dead” trilogy tries once more to gain recognition in mainstream Hollywood. His take on this baseball journey is a bit contrived and looks a lot like a Sidney Lumet movie but really brings out the smoldering tenderness that Costner had in “Message in a Bottle”.

What’s a huge downer in the movie are the baseball scenes which aren’t tense or exhilarating as the movie tries to focus upon Costner’s heart.

I think what have made “For the Love of the Game” more interesting would have been director Ron Shelton who delivered wonderful Costner vehicles like “Bull Durham” and a favorite of mine “Tin Cup”.

In “For the Love of the Game”, we have to accept the evolution of Costner’s baseball movies which throughout his career have been what makes Costner great. In “Bull Durham” we were treated to a light vision and impressive comedic talent of America’s favorite past time.

Next he followed “Bull Durham” with still one of his best films “Field of Dreams” which beautifully explored the passion felt when we follow our dreams.

Following this heart felt journey we find Costner echoing his own life in some scenes as a broken-hearted pitcher trying to find his way back. “For the Love of the Game” brings baseball further into the Costner’s heart and we are here to witness the journey.

“For the Love of the Game” is a sports movie for the romantic at heart. I have heard some guys say this movie wasn’t a sports movie as they deny that feelings can be felt in sports. I think this movie does chronicle sports but in a tender way which Hollywood has yet to fully explore.

Hollywood has touched this subject with TV’s “Sports Night”, “Field of Dreams” and the now classic boxing film “The Champ” when these film pulled at our heart strings we are reminded that the competition of sports is still one of the greatest dramas out there.

To put it simple “For Love of the Game” is one of those “touchy-feely” movies laced upon a sports theme.

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

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