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on March 1, 2017
This movie is in my top 5 Movies of all time.
It is a must watch is you like Kevin Costner.
Great story!
Just watch the movie - you will love it!
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on April 28, 2000
Kevin Costner (Bull Durham, Field of Dreams) and baseball movies go together like hot dogs and... well, baseball. They work a magic to become something greater than their individual parts. While some people feel Costner films should be avoided like whatever they make hot dogs out of (am I stretching this metaphor too thin?), there is no doubt that baseball makes them both more acceptable to the palette.
In For Love of the Game, Costner plays Billy Chapel, a forty year old major league pitcher in the twilight of his career. During the course of the final game of the season, he reflects on his life and his career.
Listening to Billy talk to himself as he stands on the pitcher's mound, the audience hears his desperation and his confidence. From the inner peace he finds to block out the distractions of Yankee Stadium to his decision to brush a batter away from the plate.
But this isn't just about one game, it's about Billy's career and his on-again/off-again relationship with Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston, Holy Man). It's about beginnings and endings, coming together and coming apart. It's about the best game of a career at the worst time of a life.
Billy has his moments, but he also makes mistakes. Through it all, Costner makes us believe it. Costner shows us Billy's desperate need to find someone to share his victories with, but we also see a darker side. He is capable of great passion, but also great spite. We don't always love him, or understand his actions, but he is utterly human.
With stunning camera work and vision, director Sam Raimi turns Costner's duel into a thing of beauty. Every pitch becomes a breathtaking moment. The segues to Billy's past are seamless and never confusing.
Perhaps the best thing that can be said about For the Love of the Game is its devotion to baseball. Even in Billy's personal life, baseball is ever present. This is a baseball movie dealing with the soul of the game.
It's a film that speaks to the heart and makes us cry. Not because it's hopelessly romantic, but because it reminds us of our own endings. No matter what they may be. At the twilight of summer, as the regular season draws to a close, this movie reminds us why we love baseball.
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on April 9, 2000
The framework is a major league baseball game. The memories are those of an aging pitcher, Billy Chapel, whose day is not going well at all. His team, the Detroit Tigers are out of the pennant race and expected to lie down like a dog at the behest of the New York Yankees. Moreover, the team has been sold and Chapel is expected to be traded to San Francisco when the sale is announced. His lover, Jane Aubrey, has told him that she "can't do this anymore" and she's headed to London and out of his life. As his catcher, Gus Osinski, told him, it's just not his day.
We're often told that baseball is like life; it meanders and goes along paths we may not expect. And so it is with Billy Chapel, who is pitching his heart out while he relives his life, especially after a chance meeting with Aubrey on a bridge over the Harlem River. Her car has broken down and Chapel stops, ostensibly to help her fix it. Jane, being the cynical New Yorker she is, waves Billy off, but he's intrigued and he prevails on Jane to let him take a look under her hood. Aubrey gets behind the wheel, turns the key; nothing happens. Chapel reaches in, jiggles a wire or two and, to his fortune, the car starts. Jane is pleased and thanks Billy who admits he didn't really do anything. Of course, in a typical New York moment, the tow truck shows up and the operator more or less demands that Aubrey let her car be towed. Chapel uses the opportunity to invite her to a game he's pitching and dinner afterwards.
Now, it might be thought that Billy Chapel is setting himself up for a groupie situation. After a night of passionate sex, that's exactly what Aubrey thinks as well and she wants no part of it. What follows is a recounting of how Billy and Jane come together and fall apart more than once.
This is an excellent baseball movie, with wonderful dramatic stretches and also lots of humor. Kevin Costner, who's done a baseball movie or two in his career, is totally believable as Billy Chapel, a character who seem somewhat modeled after Steve Carlton in that he only wants to pitch to his longtime battery-mate, Osinski (John C. Reilly). Osinski knows Chapel's abilities well and he needles and cajoles Chapel to get the most out of him, not only on the diamond, but in life as well. Vin Scully and Steve Lyons of Fox Sports appear as themselves doing the play-by-play of the game we see unfolding before our eyes. Scully's dialogue sounds as if it sprang right from his mouth, the way he normally speaks. I'd be interested in whether his dialogue was written (most likely) or ad lib.
If there's a disappointment among the entire production, it is the performance of Kelly Preston as Jane Aubrey. Aubrey, we discover along the way, has a past which would seem to explain her on-again / off-again relationship with Chapel. Not all of this is Preston's fault; some of it has to belong to screenwriter Dana Stevens who adapted a novel by Michael Shaara. The baseball scenario is near-perfection, but the treatment of the romance leaves something to be desired. Regardless, Sam Raimi's near-flawless direction of material we don't normally see him do, makes the entire film one to enjoy. It has excellent comic timing, yet marvelous dramatic sequence both surrounding the game and external to it. Basil Poledouris' original score heightened the drama and never detracted from the film.
If you like baseball, you'll love this movie. Costner, who co-produced, must bring something extra to movies about baseball because of his love of the game. This film is one of those that truly has something for everyone and almost completely pulls it off. I heartily recommend it.
[Originally reviewed on 18 September 1999]
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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.
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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."
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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.
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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.
--D. Mikels
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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.
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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."
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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.
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