Projections - Movie Reviews

For Love of the Game

In a young world, Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) at forty must face truths that are usually reserved for sixty year olds.  Costner is perfect in the part.  Chapel is a 20 year Detroit Tiger pitcher who is destined for the Hall of Fame.  The end of his career is near, the Tigers new management wants to trade him, and Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston), the love of his life, is leaving him.

On a Fall evening at Yankee Stadium, Chapel's career hits a cross road and between innings we visit his life beyond baseball as he struggles with his future and the powerful Yankee baseball team.

Director, Sam Raimi (A Simple Plan) moves us in and out of the romance of Chapel's life at climatic points in the game, a game which is unimportant to everyone except the Boston Red Sox.  Chapel is a pretend adult, his love of the game has at times become an obsession blotting out and blocking all other contact in his life including Jane.

The game is the coming of age catalyst, Raimi mixes a very effective love story with the excitement of baseball at its best.  As the Detroit catcher, Gus Sinski says, "Today we are not the worst team in baseball, we are the best, because of you (Chapel)".

Preston is overly dramatic at times but always fetching, attractive, innocent and exciting as she attempts to learn the combination which will bring peace and balance to Chapel's life.  Jena Malone as Heather is a delight to watch and her part is pivotal to the script.  John C. Reilly looks like a traditional catcher, calling for just the right pitch in each sequence and the right moves with Jane.

With just the right mix, the romantic adventure and the ball game off set each other with perfect balance.  We see a floundering player redeemed in right field, an obnoxious Yankee fan in an airport bar, Vin Scully and Steve Lyons playing themselves as announcers, Bill and Sharon Costner as Billy's parents, a great script, a noble baseball game and a compelling love story.  This may not be the best film so far this year but it is the most enjoyable.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Kathleen
Avg.
For Love of the Game
B+
B-
B+
C+
A-
B

 
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