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For Love of the Game (1999)

Drama movie directed by Sam Raimi

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  • Apr 8, 2011
For Love of the Game


Sam Raimi is one of my all time favorite filmmakers and I will basically buy anything that the man is involved with, luckily for me I have enjoyed all of his films. I was a bit surprised when this film first came out because it didn't really seem like his kinda thing but I knew he could pull it off. The result is a really good baseball movie that really isn't about baseball, and Mr. Raimi did a great job with it. I went to the theaters to see this at the time of it's release and walked out thinking "that was a pretty good movie".

Based on a novel by Michael Shaara this is the story of Billy Chapel [Costner] a baseball legend at the end of his career and the end of his love life. It is the final game of the year and all he wants is to ignore the pain in his arm and give it one last go. Add into the fact that his lover Jane Aubrey [Kelly Preston] is tired of him and is moving on. This movie is really about this man's journey to finding himself, to bad he does that while playing a career making game. Or maybe it is because of that that he is pitching a career making game. It seems that while he is on the plate thinking about his life with her he is throwing the perfect game, and doesn't even know it. Towards the end when he starts to realize it he starts to go into a slump.

Sam Raimi shows a bit of a different approach and style with his direction in this film, it is more of a conservative style. The pace is good and the film transcends between present and past easily, but the last third of the film is excellent. Screenwriter Dana Stevens did a great job adapting the book into a film although I will admit that I have not read the book. Costner is good in the role of the fading legend and seems right at home on the plate, his scenes with Preston are good as well but just don't seem big enough. Kelly Preston is great in this film and plays the emotional unstable Jane perfectly. J.K Simmons is excellent as the head coach for Costner's team but does not get enough screen time in my opinion. Still it is John C. Reilly who is my favorite in this movie, as always he is great. He plays the catcher and the guy who is helping get Billy threw, excellent performance.

The best thing about this film is by far the baseball parts, just the way it was filmed and edited was great. As for the love story it is good and well done but it just falls short of being that classic love story, not sure what a good example would be. This is far from Raimi's best movie but it is a really good one, and to be honest it may be one of the reasons he got the Spiderman job. To all those who have yet to see this I recommend it but be warned, this is not your every day average Raimi flick. Still it is a very good one, worthy of a purchase.


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April 08, 2011
Excellent review! This is one of my all time favorite Costner films and one of my all time favorite sports its truly a very inspiring story of a man, his woman and his love for the game. What a great little film this is, nice work.
May 29, 2011
Thank you
April 08, 2011
Not much of a baseball fan nor a Kevin Costner fan, but I agree that this is a very good film and it displays a different side to Raimi. I'd like to see him do more straightforward dramas like this. Nice review, Alex.
April 09, 2011
I am a Sam Raimi fan though....
April 09, 2011
No zombies or skeletons or Bruce Campbell here.
April 11, 2011
I think Raimi should make a film with ghouls and zombies playing football like in the book "Play Dead".
May 29, 2011
Thanks Orlock
More For Love of the Game (1999) reviews
Quick Tip by . April 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
This is not Raimi's best movie but it is a really good one, and to be honest it may be one of the reasons he got the Spiderman job. To all those who have yet to see this I recommend it but be warned, this is not your every day average Raimi flick. Still it is a very good one, worthy of a purchase.
review by . March 06, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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About this movie


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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Director: Sam Raimi
Screen Writer: Michael Shaara, Dana Stevens
DVD Release Date: April 4, 2000
Runtime: 137 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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