After rewatching We are Marshall and Bull Durham recently I got to thinking about the greatest sports movies of all time. While complying my list of great sports classics, one name kept popping up over and over: Kevin Costner. While he is far from a one-genre star, as he has appeared in over 40 movies, he is most famous for his starring roles in several sports classics. Will Perry (’16) has a massive appreciation for Costner’s work. “Kevin Costner is the greatest sports movie actor,” he said, “of all time.” In Costner’s honor I will now build my list of his top five sports movies, although I highly doubt He will come.
1. Bull Durham- This movie epitomizes the life of a minor league baseball player and shows us simultaneously the beauty and ugliness that comes with the job. This movie has way too many good quotes to single one out as the best, but here is one of my favorites with clean language.
Best Quote: “Come on Rook. Show us that million-dollar arm, ‘cause I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours.” Crash Davis
2. Field of Dreams- A quiet film with a relatively low production budget, Field of Dreams nevertheless is one of those movies that has become better and more famous with age. From Terrace Mann, played by James Earl Jones famous speech on the value of baseball to Ray Kinsella, played by Costner, and his dad finally playing a game of catch, the movie made an emotional impact on any viewer with a pulse.
Best Quote: “ Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack.” Terrance Mann.
3. Tin Cup- Costner plays Roy McAvoy, a failed professional golfer who makes a living by giving lessons at a driving range. This one especially speaks to me as an athlete, as it portrays, given in an extreme way, the frustrations of failure and how one really has to fight to overcome that impulse. Sarah Maurer (’16) enjoyed one of the movie’s most famous scenes. “I liked the part where he is on the driving range betting the other guy that he can outdrive him,” she said. “He hits the ball onto the road.”
Best Quote: “Well, so am I! I mean, look at me, all right, what I'm wearing. I mean, I'm playing for Rio Grande Short-Haul Trucking, Briggs and Brown Sanitation, First State Bank of Salome, Woody's Smokehouse... You think a... you think a guy like me bothers to worry about the percentages?” Roy McAvoy.
4. For the Love of the Game- This movie portrays Costner as Billy Chapel, an old former MLB pitcher as he remembers the best game of his career, a perfect game. Along the way, the director does a great job of blending Chapel’s personal struggles with his memory of the game. It also reflects on the realities of aging and is a highly relatable film that gets bonus points for having the legendary Dodgers announcer, Vin Scully, announce the perfect game.
Best quote: “The cathedral that is Yankee Stadium belongs to a Chapel.” Vin Scully.
5. Draft Day- Costner stars as the fictional General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, Sonny Weaver Jr. who is under a great amount of pressure to make a good selection in the upcoming NFL Draft. As a huge fan of Moneyball, both the movie and book, I appreciated the massive amount of trade maneuvering that Weaver Jr. did in the movie. I personally didn’t find the personal backstory in this film as compelling as some of his classics, but the main story is solid.
Best Quote: [discussing a potential draft pick] “He looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.” Sonny Weaver Jr.