2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2004
If Costner stuck to baseball movies and westerns he would be fine. This was a really good movie. It is actually a cross between a chick flick and a sports movie. The baseball scenes are expertly done and the other part of the storyline is expertly woven into the movie. I really enjoyed this movie and think lots of other people will too. Even if you've read the book, you should still see this movie. Just my opnion though, I could be wrong.
on April 24, 2003
My son, a former college pitcher, absolutely adored this film--not because of the overall story, but because of the head games pitchers play on the mound. And to its credit, FOR LOVE OF THE GAME vividly depicts a day out on the hill for a major league pitcher at the twilight of his career, Detroit Tiger ace Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner). My son instantly identified with Chapel's talking to himself between pitches, trying to get inside the head of the batter (What's he expecting? Fastball or breaking ball?), hoping that his next pitch will throw the batter off balance. And finally, Chapel's ability to completely shut out all noise and distractions ("Clear the mechanism," he says to himself.) was very effective.
And those are the highlights of the movie. Unfortunately, FOR LOVE OF THE GAME is a compilation of flashbacks centering around a contrived love story that has been rehashed and recycled thousands of times. Director Sam Raimi gives us a story about the on-again/off-again relationship between Chapel and Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston), a magazine exec. Chapel is unwilling to make a commitment, while Jane's pessimistic insecurity about the relationship becomes downright annoying. Costner is so wooden in these scenes he appears to be going through the motions, while Preston whines and pines like a high school sophomore. The final scene between the two of them, in the airport, is uncomfortable to watch.
John C. Reilly turns in an admirable performance as grisly veteran catcher Gus Sinski, and the soothing voice of Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully lends wonderful credibility to the drama as Chapel makes a bid to pitch a perfect game. I only wish FOR LOVE OF THE GAME had confined itself to the action on the mound; there wasn't much action going on anywhere else.
on December 5, 2002
Following the shining examples of earlier characters in "Bull Durham" and "Field of Dreams", Kevin Costner has once again taken on the role of a baseball player and played it to perfection. In this film, Costner stars as Detroit Tigers ace pitcher Billy Chapel, a 19-year veteran of the major leagues. Chapel's hall of fame career is winding down, and his team is playing out the string of another long season. To make matters worse, Jane, Billy's girlfriend, played superbly by Kelly Preston, has informed him that she has accepted a job offer in London. The final bit of bad news comes from the Tigers' owner, who informs Billy that he's sold the team and Billy will probably be traded next season. All of these things are weighing on Billy's mind as he steps on the mound at Yankee Stadium.
However, right from the beginning of the game, Billy realizes that this day is going to be special. He has his best stuff working, and he's blowing through the Yankees like they were little leaguers. Gus, the catcher played wonderfully by J.C. Reilly, offers continuous encouragement to Billy throughout the game. One of the best moments of the film is the way Billy blocks out the noise of the crowd in his mind, and all that the viewer hears is the wooosh of the ball as it is pitched. I got chills when this occurred. It was extermely realistic.
During the course of the game, Billy has "flashbacks" to his relationship with Jane. We get to see how they met and the evolution of their romance. Although he hides it well, it is clear that Billy truly loves Jane, but he's afraid to admit to her that he really needs her in his life. I thought the flashbacks were excellent. In some films, the flashbacks tend to take away from the movie, but not in this one. I think they were one of the better aspects of the movie.
By the time the game reaches the 7th inning, Billy asks Gus if any Yankee has reached base. Gus says no. Only then does Billy realize that he's in the midst of a pitcher's dream; the perfect game. Summoning incredible courage and strength, Billy manages to complete the ultimate baseball feat.
Watching this movie was a real treat for me. I enjoyed Costner's earlier performance in "Field of Dreams", but he tops it with this amazing performance. I recommend this excellent movie to all baseball fans, and fans of good movies in general. Its one you'll remember for a long time.
on April 28, 2002
This movie takes place almost entirely in one day, but the flashbacks in the mind of Billy Chapel (Kevin Costnar) while he is on the mound and in the dugout give it a sense of time by spanning his life. Billy is at a crossroads both personally and professionally. And by the next morning he has both figured out.
While not a pure baseball movie it does offer a glimpse of what could be going on inside the head of a pitcher who is "in the zone" during the best game of his storied career. He is throwing a perfect game but does not even realize it until around the sixth inning when he has to ask his catcher. He does not realize it because his mind is elsewhere, on Jane (Kelly Preston) his on and off girlfriend of the last five years who has just told him she is going to live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. She dropped this bomb only ten minutes after his boss, the owner of the Tigers, told him that the club is being sold and he will be traded to another team the next year. What a morning it started off as. Throughout the game while he is throwing bullets he is trying to figure out what to do about Jane and about his career.
Kelly Preston does a fine job as Jane and Jena Malone plays Jane's daughter, Heather with another good performance (although a much smaller part than some she has had).
Overall a good movie for guys and gals to watch together. The girls will like the love story, the guys will like the baseball and the memories of how it connected them (as it does Billy) to their fathers and the sandlot games of their youth. I liked the way the movie game full cirle to the first scene near the end to give you background on what was going on in that scene. A movie worth watching.
on December 14, 2001
With the exception of some interesting fast balls and watching Kevin Costner sweat a great deal, this film is the story of an off again on again shaky relationship between Billy Chapel(pitcher for Detroit)(Costner) and his want to be Jane, played by Kelly Preston. Congradulations to Costner who manages to maneuver his way through the entire film without cracking a smile. Whoops maybe when I took a bathroom break once.
Preston does deserve an award herself-a best agonizer of the year trophy. Lots of facial distress and we don't even know her real problem until half way through the film. Lighten up Kelly. Lighten up Kevin. Is this acting?
The baseball scenes appeal to baseball fans. I looked at my husband, the great Seattle Mariner fan. He was captivated by the pitches during the big game(Detroit vs NY) and in the end he shed a tear or two. Really. Obviously it works better if you love baseball. The story line--wait a minute, I think there is a story line there somewhere. Oh yes, it is about trust and about trust and about trust. So trust me when I say 'for love of your money' rent "Field of Dreams" instead." Or a great baseball story which is also a great story with wonderful acting. (You even get Madonna in that one) Not to mention Tom Hanks in a momumental role as the boozing manager of a lady's baseball team during the second World War. " A League of Their Own."
on March 23, 2001
Kevin Costner again stars in another baseball movie. This time he is a 40 year old pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. As the movie opens, he has dinner in his hotel room and a drink at a minibar. The next morning he awakes with 3 bad news.
(A) The team owner (Brian Cox) has sold the Tigers, (B) He might get traded, (C) His on and off girl firend he leaving him and taking a job in London, Because she tells him "you don't need me, you'r perfect with the ball and the diamond. Not the thing you want to hear when you are facing retirement.
Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) has to decide to hang it up after 19 years or have a 20th season? His girlfriend is Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston). She is his on and off girlfriend.
Then it flashes 5 years before a game in New York, when Billy and Jane first met. At first she doesn't know who he is until a tow-truck driver says, "Hey your Billy Chapel."
Anybody Kevin Costner's age might be retired from baseball. Kevin Costner had two or more baseball films before this, and when of them was called "Field of Dreams".
Soon he has to look for his grandfriend's daughter named Heather (Jena Malone). Which after first she says freedoom. The movie was directed by Sam Raimi. If you love baseball, then this is the one for you.
on March 6, 2001
Over the past weekend, my wife and I actually got the opportunity to rent a couple of movies, sit down, and watch them! (In a large family, such is usually NOT the case!)
Three stars for "For the Love of the Game". We loved the baseball (indeed, I suspect that Kevin Costner does as well) and felt that the way flashback were handled from within the context of the game itself was quite effective.
However, we were both disappointed at the development of the relationship. My wife was completely underwhelmed by Kelly Preston's acting ability (or lack thereof), and I felt that Jane, the character she portrayed was poorly developed -- and frankly, the bits that WERE developed, I didn't like. I found myself with no sympathy for her whatsoever.
Other pluses to the movie would include the authentic-sounding announcing by Vin Scully, and the remarkable visual and sound editing when Costner is on the mound.
As a lover of baseball, I enjoyed the movie -- but as far as baseball movies go, it ain't great.
on March 6, 2001
I liked this movie, but I won't watch it again...at least not for a while. Kevin Costner did fool me into believing that he could be a major league pitcher (albeit for the Tigers) but then again he's had plenty of practice playing ball players. Of his "baseball" movies this one is certainly the weakest. I wish I had spent the money on Field of Dreams or Bull Durham, but oh well.
As far as Costner movies in general go, I'm not a big fan and this one didn't do a whole lot to improve my opinion of him. For Love of the Game falls closer to the Waterworld/Postman end of the Costner movie spectrum then it does to the Dances with Wolves side. But if you generally like him then I'm pretty sure that you will enjoy this movie. I'm not going to call it a "Hit" like some others, because it is not a hit on DVD and it was certainly not a hit at the box office.
Jerry Springer-esque parting thought: If you really really really need a baseball movie fix then buy this, otherwise just watch 2 hours of ESPN Classic.
on March 4, 2001
Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) is an aging major league pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Billy does everything he can to be the best at the only thing he really cares about....baseball. However, Billy lucks up and finds a great woman named Jane (Kelly Preston). Will Billy find someone that he really really cares a lot about with Jane, or will America's favorite pastime, baseball, still be the only thing that Billy Chapel will fight for? I recommend watching the movie to find out.
"Field of Dreams" is one of my favorite movies of all time. I know that just about everybody's question will be "Is For Love of the Game as great as Field of Dreams?" after they see that this is a baseball movie and that Kevin Costner is the movie's main star. In my opinion, they're both great movies and they're two of the best sports movies ever made, but I didn't think that "For Love of the Game" is quite as good as "Field of Dreams" is. This movie has its spectacular times such as when Billy is giving it all he's got to try and get a perfect game. The love interest between Billy and Jane is also interesting and well done. I think the only reason that I didn't think it was as good as "Field of Dreams" is because "Field of Dreams" was VERY original and it was unbelievably captivating. Whereas, "For Love of the Game" is a great movie, but it's not as original and not as captivating as "Field of Dreams."
If you like great sports or baseball movies, and especially if you liked "Field of Dreams," I recommend getting "For Love of the Game."
on February 10, 2001
Another big mistake for Costner. Maybe he thought that because he made two baseball themed pictures that were popular and well received by critics and audiences he could fool us into enjoying another. Well, this overly long (more than two mind numbing hours), sappy, and sentimental flick was just more than one person can bear. It might have been okay, worthy of two stars, had the picture shaved off half an hour of the tale which was much more a DULL love story than it was about America's pastime. (I would prefer a film about the latter, more like The Natural with Robert Redford and Glenn Close). Kelly Preston is almost invariably annoying, and this role is no exception. Somehow the relationship between Preston and Costner's characters are not at all believable and are completely contrived. Dialogue is very... superficial and what makes it worse is its obvious aims for something more sophisticated than it was. These relationship films are a delicate sort of thing, and it takes a special skill to pull them off. Costner and Preston don't have the chemistry to make it happen, and the story is just too... sentimental. Costner's character, an aging baseball pitcher, is making what will be his last appearance in major league baseball, and while he is on the mound (and happens to achieve the grandiose no-hitter as an amazing cap to his, of course-cinematically-amazing career) he reminisces about his relationship with Preston's character. Earlier on the morning of the game, he is notified by the owner of the team that the team is changing ownership and rather than trade Costner, the owner thinks it would be a graceful time for Costner to bow out of baseball, while he is still at the top. Just after this, Billy (Costner's character) is dumped by Preston's character, Jane. Naturally this sends the middle-aged softie (yes, and in all these memories he so generously shares with us for more than two hours of out lives he shows himself to be the kind of guy we all hope to find... the guy who loves us for who we are, who loves our children from previous relationships, and someone who really needs us... which is at the heart of the relationship between Billy and Jane. She thinks he does not need her) into a middle-aged reverie... looking back on the good times, and sadly, the bad. But this is all just sugar and spice and everything nice... even the bad times are not THAT bad, and you won't feel compelled to feel anything about these people. It is just another glossy, overproduced showcase of vanity.