For Love of the Game (Widescreen) (Bilingual)
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Legendary Detroit Tigers pitcher Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) has always been better at baseball than at love. Just ask Jane (Kelly Preston), his on-again, off-again girlfriend. At the end of a disappointing season, just before what may be the last professional game of his life, Jane tells Billy she's leaving him. Now, with his career and his love life in the balance, Billy battles against his physical and emotional limits as he plays the game of his life. And now with every pitch, Billy comes closer to making the most important decision of his life. The suspense doesn't end until the last ball is thrown in this heartwarming drama about love, life and the perfect game.
Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) is having a bad day. His girlfriend Jane (Kelly Preston, stunning as ever) says she's leaving, and his boss (Brian Cox) says he's selling the business and ace employee Billy may be out of job. Sounds like business as usual for an old-fashioned veteran. However, the business is baseball and for Billy Chapel, the 40-year old former all-star for the Detroit Tigers, it means his career--and his life--is at a crossroads.
Although it is no Bull Durham, For Love of the Game finds a solid and very believable role for Costner. The film is based on Michael Shaara's (The Killer Angels) stream-of-consciousness novel (the rough manuscript was found after his death 1988). The entire film takes place on Billy's day on the mound against the Yankees, a meaningless late-season game for the Tigers, but everything for Billy. In flashbacks, he lingers over his long relationship with Jane and his baseball career (from World Series heroism to a career-threatening injury). His one viable link to the game at hand is his catcher, played winningly by John C. Reilly. Costner, like Chapel, is looking for one more great performance, but the film is too simplistic and loopy at times to resonate. The love story has an extra helping of cuteness, and legendary baseball announcer Vin Scully nearly takes on a leading role, waxing grandiloquent. It's no grand slam, but a solid double. --Doug Thomas
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I have always liked this movie, it combines success, failure, sports and relationships all wrapped up in a creative storyPublished 11 months ago by PRidley
An aging baseball player goes out and throws the game of his life, meanwhile he recalls the relationship he has had with his gal. Engaging.Published 12 months ago by ellison