Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner is currently making the rounds going on television shows to promote his new movie, "Mr. Brooks," in which he plays a serial killer. I actually think that Costner will do a great job playing a bad guy, but that’s not the point of this post. Seeing the movie previews has reminded me of something that I have known for years; Kevin Costner is an underrated actor. Take Costner in his five best movies (in my opinion, Dancing With Wolves, The Untouchables, Field of Dreams, and then two of Bull Durham, JFK, Tin Cup and Thirteen Days) and compare them with the five best movies of other actors of his era. I think it’s fair to say that Costner would do well. While Costner is not in the same class as Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Denzel Washington or Tom Hanks, I think he’s certainly in the next tier with Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, Mel Gibson (before he went crazy) and Tom Cruise (see Mel Gibson). I would take Costner’s top five movies/performances over Ford, Williams, Gibson and Cruise.

I think it’s fair to write that Costner does not have the reputation he deserves because of one movie, "Waterworld." The cost to make Waterworld was so extraordinary at the time that it had no choice but to fail. Even though other actors have had flops, Costner seems to have “suffered” more for "Waterworld" than any other actor has for another movie. Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty recovered from "Ishtar." Even Mel Gibson earned three Oscar nominations for "Apocalypto."

I admit that I have a certain bias for Costner. “Field of Dreams” is my favorite movie of all time, and I also played Black Jack in his Deadwood, South Dakota casino. Plus, Costner seems like the kind of guy who would buy you a beer. Maybe "Mr. Brooks" will bring Kevin Costner back and make others believe what I just wrote, that he is an underrated actor.


Rinsem's Rink said...

Let me preface this by saying I love Field of Dreams... However, we are talking about an actor who plays the same character in every movie he's ever been in... also... Robin Hood, The Bodyguard, The Postman, Message in a Bottle?

Christine said...

I have to agree with Rinsem's Rink - while I enjoy many of the movies you listed, I never feel like Costner is acting like anyone new - he's just being Kevin Costner. Maybe his new movie will change my mind (I hope so with the character he is supposed to be playin), but so far there's no range in his acting for me.

Sean said...

To Rinsem's point, I purposely left out The Postman and Message in a Bottle. I remember Robin Hood being OK (co-starring Morgan Freeman) and The Bodyguard has been prophetic. Whitney has needed someone to protect her from Bobby Brown at times over the years. I also left For the Love of the Game. Costner was great in the baseball portions of the movie. (I blame Kelly Preston for the other parts of the movie that weren't so good; Bill Simmons actually wrote about this recently.)

As for Costner playing the same character, I can't really disagree. However, Kevin Costner playing Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams and The Untouchables was terrific. If you look at pre-Governor Arnold, Sly Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Samuel L. Jackson, they all play the same character every movie too. That's why I can't put Costner at the top category, but I think he definitely deserves to be in the next level of actors from the past 20 years.

Rinsem's Rink said...

Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams and The Untouchables gave him the Star status for sure and he really deserved it. Unfortunately he never really developed any other characters after that. I think if he would have followed up on those two movies with some quality roles, he would have jumped way ahead of many of the leading actors in Hollywood.