The boys are all here for ya, we’ll back you up, we’ll be there. ‘Cause, Billy, we don’t stink right now. We’re the best team in baseball, right now, right this minute, because of you. You’re the reason. We’re not gonna screw that up, we’re gonna be awesome for you right now. Just throw.
Disclaimer for family members who love this movie: I didn’t really like it, so you probably want to skip this one. Just a heads up.
For the Love of the Game is the first, and least, of Kevin Costner’s three appearances this month.
I’d never actually seen it before. A number of people hounded me to watch it over the years, but I never got around to it. I didn’t exactly think I’d hate it, I just had a feeling I’d be indifferent to it. I was right.
It’s an ok baseball movie, combined with a boring, mostly nonsensical love story. I don’t feel like the emotional beats are earned, and the character motivations often don’t make any sense to me. The flashbacks feel like standalone moments in a vacuum, as in I never felt like these characters were in a relationship going on outside of the memories Chapel revisits throughout the game. Each interaction is just moving the relationship into a territory convenient for the film’s narrative, not in a direction it makes sense for it to go.
The baseball is fairly decent, as Billy Chapel attempts to pitch a perfect game in the final game of his career. The only problem is that the baseball quirks and in-jokes — which are few and far between — are so memorably handled more successfully in other, superior films.
Still, with a little bit more depth to the love story, or if we got flashbacks with more resonance from other points in his life, I would have liked the film quite a bit more.
Also, can we talk about the end? It’s totally shitty that Chapel never actually has to accommodate the needs of his partner in any way. He’s supposedly matured by the end of the film, but the relationship still never costs him anything the way it’s cost her. He finishes his playing career on his terms, pitches a perfect game, leaves literally everything he has left in his arm on the field, then walks away. It’s only then, with baseball no longer an option, that he’s suddenly ready to follow Jane to London and let her needs impact the relationship. She still just gets the leftovers. That sucks.
Up Next: Pelotero, a documentary about two ballplayers in the Domincan Republic hoping to get signed by a Major League Baseball team.