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For Love of the Game
An aging baseball legend, faced with being traded after 20 years with the Tigers, is also facing losing the love of his life. All this, during the best game of his career.

Starring Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston, Jena Malone...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

[--- Stay Away! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
There will be many, like me, who believe that, regardless of Kevin Costner's recent failures, he could still make a baseball movie. Forget about it.

"For the Love of the Game" is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The baseball scenes are stilted and cliche. There is none of the funny realism of "Bull Durham" or the magic of "Field of Dreams". Costner plays an aging pitcher with one good game left in him. His charactor is as pompous and inflated as he is. The movie never gives us any reason to care about him.

Or about his love interest. This movie is not really about baseball -- it's a love story between two people who have no reason to be together. The woman love interest is photographed in close-up, making various faces, as if her face alone is enough to carry the movie. The dialog -- more than half the movie is Costner and the woman conversing (or so it seemed) -- is rediculous and predictable.

The whole movie is a great big bomb. Stay away.

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
The baseball scenes in this movie are incomparable. I highly recommend this movie for that reason alone. All the little struggles of what goes on inside a game has been captured on screen. I remember watching Mike Schmidt, of the Phillies, struggling through his last season, and wondering what was going on in his mind. This movie shows me exactly what was going on.

Since the last strike, I've stopped watching baseball, having grown disenchanted with the sport. And, of course, it didn't seem the same since Robin Yount retired. But THIS movie restored my faith. It was like watching Robin Yount's or Mike Schmidt's or Nolan Ryan's last game from the inside out.

That is, except for the love story part; I don't imagine that all retiring players also relived their private lives while they were playing their last game. But I also didn't think that got in the way of the real story.

If you like baseball, or ever liked baseball, see this movie.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
hi, my name is adam, i think this movie is awesome. it reminds me of when i use to play baseball. i was on the allstar teams in little league. but then when i got to high school, i couldn't make the jv team. i still love the game though. thats y i went to see this movie with my dad. hes really nice to me and we both thought it was an excellent movie about baseball.

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
This is a good movie. And for those of us who don't know that much about baseball, it teaches how a game works -- a big help (never could figure out why the pitcher is so important, but I get it now). You know how it's going to end, but half the fun is watching it happen. Well acted, well paced. My two teen-aged sons loved it. Not a great movie, but very satisfying.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
For Love Of The Game

Maybe I’m looking at this film through rose colored glasses. Sam Raimi is one of my favorite directors, a real talentwith visual ingenuity and a penchant for silliness. With last holiday’s bleak A SIMPLE PLAN, Raimi gave up his EVIL DEAD past and churned out the most satisfying dramatic thriller of last year. He is certainly growing by leaps and bounds as a storyteller, and his latest film, FOR LOVE OF THE GAME, is another surprise for those of us who are fans. A truly elegant, dashingly romantic, white-knuckled look at baseball and matters of the human heart, GAME represents what a true Hollywood soap opera should be, effective.

Kevin Costner plays Billy Chapel, an aging pitcher for the Detroit Tigers heading for the mound for may be his last time ever. The team owner has sold the organization to a corporation and they have plans to trade Billy. His arm continues to fail him more every time he steps up to thrown. And to top it all off, Billy must deal with his tempestuous relationship with Jane, a woman he met by a broken down car on the side of the road five years ago and has yet to fully commit to. With all these thoughts swirling inside Billy’s head, he begins to pitch possibly his last game. Unable to keep his mind clear, Billy thinks back on his life during the game and considers the mistakes he has made and the people he has met.

Told mostly in flashback, LOVE OF THE GAME is first and foremost a baseball movie. While being knocked for his recent professional choices (yeah, I liked THE POSTMAN, say what you will) Kevin Costner seems to have been crowned king of the baseball flicks. Ron Shelton’s BULL DURHAM is pure genius, the best baseball film ever. FIELD OF DREAMS is more like GAME, both share a strong heartbeat and retaining a smart enthusiasm for the sport. Costner has been the glue that held both films together. He’s always been a good actor, only reaching brilliance once (DURHAM). He has the rare charm the many actors forget to consider. While not technically proficient, Costner knows screen charisma well. GAME gives us a desperate Costner performance, one which lets the actor take his guard down for once. His Billy Chapel is a man used to success, yet unsure how to use it to his advantage. A man who can hardly imagine himself consumed by anything but baseball. It’s a great performance from Costner. My only hope is that public opinion doesn’t tarnish the acting for the paying crowd.

Kelly Preston has the more troublesome task of shining brighter than Costner. A working actress for sometime now, this new film feels like the first time Preston is really acting. I enjoyed her supporting work in 1998’s underrated JACK FROST, and GAME finally puts her front and center. She bounces effortlessly of Costner, and the two - while skittish at first - melt into a nice chemistry that packs more emotion than I expected. The loopy John C. Reilly (BOOGIE NIGHTS) and Jena Malone (STEPMOM) are also quite pleasant in small roles.

Working with even more restraint than his SIMPLE PLAN, Raimi brings to the table his gift for camera placement and visual tenacity. The baseball scenes in GAME are very romantic, the title doesn’t lie. A self-professed fanatic of baseball, Raimi’s love of the game shows in each shot. With noted cinematographer John Bailey, the two create a pristine looking film. The stadium scenes are both frightening cinematic and realistic at the same time. The look of the film might not register with many people, but I couldn’t help but to admire such attention to detail.

Screenwriter Dana Stevens made quite an impression with her spare and warm CITY OF ANGELS remake. What she brings to GAME is the feeling of courtship that I enjoyed in Costner’s last film MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE. Costner and Preston really show the genesis of a relationship, warts and all. The structure of flashback that Stevens uses to tell the story isn’t as unfortunate as it sounds. It’s all a rather nice mix of familiar baseball melodrama and a hearty dose of Hollywood soap opera. Stevens proves once again that she has a wonderful ear for romantic entanglements.

Call me a sucker for the obvious, but FOR LOVE OF THE GAME really worked for me. I really was moved by the story and enjoyed all the nuances and quirks. This classy film might not have a hero with a chainsaw for a hand, a crispy scientist with a reliance on synthetic skin, or a quickdrawing Sharon Stone. What it does have is strong emotional resonance. A audience film that the mainstream will love and the arthouse will adore. I’ll take that any day.-------- 10/10

[--- Stay Away! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
About two-thirds through this movie I decided to rename it, "For the Love of God, Let This Thing End!"

A romance plot that I could not wait through nor believe, a series of baseball vignetts that were cliche' if not nausiating. No catcher and I mean no catcher, and I was one for over 30 years, ever says "We'll be AWESOME for you man"... although you do have to wet nurse pitchers like that most of the time.

No pitcher "clears any mechanism" except to adjust his cup so he won't pinch himself on the delivery. Sure one concentrates, sure one sees his friends and enemies at the plate and thinks briefly about it ... sure, if you love baseball and have played the game you cry when Robert Redford tells Robert Duval ... "have you ever played this game?" tell me anything Kevin! tell me you like slow wet kisses that last for hours ... tell me anything, just don't flash back to my dad and have him say ... "just hit the glove, son". PLEASE!

Why should a 20x something go for a 40x something except that his hair has not receeded to far yet and his butt is not down around his ankles yet.

Ms. Preston's diatribe about "oh how I love him ... oh how I hate him" is used many times in film to create the necessary tension. Its just how long the director makes me sit through the next section to make a point only to return me to the game to find a hanging curve my mother could hit and Vince Scully as the Voice of the Yankees. (or the main guy at Fox ... neither works).

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
For Love of the Game


For Love of the Game encompasses the usual components of a romantic comedy, but also has its own flare of old fashioned competition. Kevin Costner, playing the part of Billy Chapel, a major league baseball pitcher, encounters many obstacles, one being his pitch against both time and the other team. The other, the love quarrel between his counterpart, Kelly Preston, Jane, the two trying to maintain a loving relationship end up finding themselves in a love/hate situation. Billy Chapel is considered too old for the wonderful game of baseball; he struggles with the decision between staying in the game or retiring while he can. He has played baseball forever and he can't seem to give it up that easy. Billy's best friend and catcher provides a great big screen friendship to which most people can relate. The movie has something in it for everyone, men choose to watch it for the baseball highlights, women watch it obviously for the romance, but there is a moral to this story that makes you feel good as you leave the theater. The will to win is the underlying theme of this new flick. Billy's will to win over the arthritis in his hand and his will to win Jane, make this story so real. As he woos her into loving him despite his bad moods and his obsession with baseball, his love for the game is just as intense as their love for each other. Each of them being scared of commitment and rejection, they find that together they can find in each other what they both need, love. For love of the Game is a great flick to see with a significant other, or your entire group of friends. However, I wouldn't see it if you are recovering from a break-up, it is definitely a tearjerker. Seeing Billy Chapel's charming, sensitive side, it is impossible for the audience not to shed a tear along with Jane. I attended this movie and at first thought it was only a romance, but the movie has many great scenes from the diamond to the bedroom. I really enjoyed this movie, giving it an above average rating. I would definitely see it again and would most likely drag my boyfriend to go see it too. I feel that this is something that everyone can enjoy. It is a movie that makes you realize that if you have the will to conquer something you can definitely do it. Knowing what is like to make a lifetime decision, I think most people can relate to the fact that Billy Chapel's option to stay in the majors or quit would take some major soul searching. This is exactly what Billy does, between the flashbacks and the love quarrels the audience realizes that Billy is just trying to fit all the pieces of his puzzle together. When he sees that the major pieces, baseball and Jane are missing, he immediately makes his choice. This is a movie for all people, making the audience realize their priorities. "You can love a lot of things in a lot of different ways." Billy realizes he has a love for Jane as well as a passion for the game.

Jul 15, 2003
"For Love of the Game" is a lousy movie about baseball. Once more Kevin Costner is in a terrible movie about baseball. "Field of Dreams" is a special movie, but this film is tiresome and very empty. Baseball shouldn't be this boring.

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