For Love of the Game (1999)

Written for Luther College Chips on September 30, 1999

Kevin Costner in a baseball movie.  It has to be good, right?

Well, while “For Love of the Game” isn’t an outrageously good film, in the end it delivers.

Kevin Costner plays another role as Mr. All-American Boy and again reminded me why he’s an enjoyable actor to watch.  Kelly Preston does a nice job as his love interest and “Boogie Night”’s John C. Reilly provided some great moments (When doesn’t the catcher in a baseball movie provide funny moments?).  Director Sam Raimi, whose name some of you may recognize as the write/director of the “Evil Dead” series of films, steps up nicely into a mainstream big-budget drama.  Some of his shots of Yankee Stadium are phenomenal.  From the credits on, Basil Poledouris’ musical score is powerful and sets a very sentimental tone.

Sentimental is the one word that best describes “For Love of the Game.”  Things were predictable at times, but if you are prone to sentimental scenes, this is the movie you’ve been looking for.  Moid was curled up next to me, crying like a baby for half the movie.

All of you baseball fans may be a bit disappointed to learn that there really isn’t much baseball action in “For Love of the Game.”  The story is laid out in a series of flashbacks that focus on the love story between Costner and Preston.  However, when we finally get some continuous baseball action over the last 20-30 minutes it is well worth the price of admission.  From time to time when Costner pitches, a special effect is used that falls into the category of “very cool.”  I was gripping my seat with tension during that last section of the film.

“For Love of the Game” may be a bit long, a bit sappy, and have a few oddly placed lines, but when it’s all over you’re left with a good, entertaining movie.  Even though at times it gets borderline chick flick-ish, I’d still recommend it as a must-see for any male baseball fans.  My gut feeling is that it’s a solid date movie, but since Moid was my date for the evening my barometer was a bit skewed (Although, we were the only non-couple in attendance).  “For Love of the Game”’s box office grosses haven’t been over-whelmingly good, so it may disappear from theatres fairly quickly.  Make sure you sneak down to it before that happens.

D.S. Christensen
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