Tag Archives: kevin costner

*Re-Post* Some Roles Deserve More Recognition Than They Got: Dennis Quaid

wyattearpdoneIf there is one tragedy to award seasons (and I understand there are multitudes of tragedies) it’s that sometimes truly wonderful performances, award worthy performances, get over looked and fall through the cracks, the failure to garner any nominations let alone even one statue. It may take time to come up with a list but there is one performance that pushes to the forefront of my mind when this topic is brought up, and that is Dennis Quaid in the often panned Wyatt Earp.

The film itself has been criticized from it’s release on even by some of it’s stars, I think of Michael Madsen in particular. It is long and can be dry at times and isn’t Kevin Costner’s strongest performance but none the less it has several high points. Two that come immediately to mind are the performances of Gene Hackman and Dennis Quaid. Part of the criticisms of Wyatt Earp is it’s release timing. It was released 6 months after the very popular and highly praised film, based on roughly the same subject, Tombstone. Tombstone also turned in a magnificent performance from Val Kilmer, who played the same role as Dennis Quaid, the infamous, Doc Holliday.

I could write all day about the differences between the Wyatt Earp and Tombstone films but the focus here is on Dennis Quaid’s portrayal of Doc Holliday, one of the most notorious gunfighter’s in the old west.

Doc was well know for a few things. First was his name, John Holliday was given the name Doc, because he was, in actuality a dentist before a famed gunfighter. After Doc contracted tuberculosis he turned to the outlaw life as a way to thumb his nose at his illness and God whom he blamed for his illness. Being the most famous old west figure to hail from great state of Georgia, there is a special place in Dixie’s heart for Doc. There are museums and monuments342034.1 to Doc in his hometown of Griffin, Georgia.

The factors that lead me to feel the way I do about Quaid’s role in the film are several but I will only examine a few. My goal is not to compare it  to the favored Val Kilmer performance because I feel that would be unfair to Quaid.

First is the effort that Quaid put into this role. A normally thick well built man, Quaid lost over 30 pounds to play the dying and sickened gunfighter. With a gaunt look and spot on Georgian accent (I would know I heard it growing up), Quaid almost doesn’t eve look like himself, rather his is a shell of a man, almost as if he had tuberculosis. Quaid became someone different and looked and sounded more different than ever, he had become Doc.

My next thought lies within his performance and compared to historical recored, Quaid captured the ornery disposition that Holliday possessed. With a strong opinion and easy ability to offend, Doc truly on made one friend late in his short life and that was Wyatt Earp. The scenes in the film between Wyatt and Doc are what makes the film worth the entire experience. Costner and Quaid played against and with each other so naturally you are overcome with the wyatt-earp-483196thought that it truly was Doc and Wyatt. This has very little to do with Costner’s acting and everything to do with his trust and faith in Quaid to carry each scene.

Quaid will never get an award for his role of Doc Holliday despite whether or not he deserved one but from this fan’s viewpoint, it wouldn’t have hurt or been out of line to  give recognition where recognition was due.

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Man Of Steel, Is It As Strong As It Should Be?

superman_man_of_steel_2013_wallpaper___portada_facebook-1920x1080It is my humble opinion that no movie has more to live up to this year than Man Of Steel. There are three reasons for this thought and the first one is the fact that Superman is the ultimate comic book superhero. He is the most famous and people that know nothing about Superman know who he is and what he can do. The second reason is that Christopher Nolan is the producer and his name is all over this movie despite not writing or directing it. What Nolan was able to do with the Batman franchise set the bar so high, it’s conceivable that no comic book or superhero will ever live up to that. Finally is that the TV show and original 1978 Richard Donner movie are iconic. George Reeves in the 1950’s was the first Superhero to show up on television and Christopher Reeve was a star making moment. With fellow cast member such as Academy Award winners Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman, along with a script written by Oscar winner Mario Puzo of The Godfather fame, not to mention John Williams classic score.

That being said and noted, Man Of Steel is a fantastic movie that not only adds depth to the origin and beginning of Superman it adds, all be it small amounts of, reality to the story. Now when I say reality take that for what it’s worth. This is the story of an alien baby raised as human with powers no human could ever posses. The movie is designed to do one thing and that is set up a series of sequels and possibly a Christopher Nolan blessed adaptation of The Justice League.

Man Of Steel begins on the planet Krypton with Jor-El before the high counsel explaining what must be done to save his planet that is doomed for destruction. When general Zod attempts to overtake the counsel he is sentenced to a life of being outcast in a black hole, yet knows that Jor-El holds the key to his races survival and vows revenge and to extend his races existence. Kal-El (Superman’s given name) is cast down to earth to help the planet and because he has the ability to blend in on the surface. After he has discovered himself and his purpose and powers Superman is still unsure what he should ultimately do. When general Zod comes upon earth asking for Kal-El to surrender himself and battle ensues in Smallville, Kansas and later carries over to Metropolis. Unsure if he means well or if he means harm, the government is deployed to stop Zod. Superman does all he can to save earthMan-of-Steel-EW-2-Zod from Zod’s destructive plans.

Superman is an icon and there is no one that can deny that, so undertaking a challenge like this was extremely risky but director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan do pull it off.

Keep in mind that the story of Superman is full of logical holes and therefore any film ever made will be as well. With that in mind all should be taken in by the story and effects and ability of Superman because that is what makes him so beloved anyway. If anyone chooses to pick apart the story or even compare it to it’s wonderful start in films you will be disappointed. Entertainment is goal number one with Man Of Steel and it pulls out all the stops. If you love the Clark Kent aspect and the anonymity he posses you may have to wait a while but you will see. It doesn’t have John Williams classic theme or for the most part any of the cheesy lines (although there are a few) but it none the less is truly a Superman movie that erases the terrible memory of Superman Returns and brings the ultimate hero back to the screen in a good way.

With performances by Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Amy Adams and the always underrated Michael Shannon, good enough to not make you fumble and distract from the story line, you will be engrossed no matter what you feel after you will be engaged. Russell Crowe as Jor-El had large shoes to fill following Marlon Brando but he makes the character his own. More details are given origins and and things you thought you knew are given clarity.

Superhero and comic book fans will flock to the theaters to see Man Of Steel, the down side is it will be compared and dissected beyond belief instead of taken for what it is, and that is a great story of a hero and man many wish truly existed. Sit back and enjoy all aspects of Man Of Steel because it’s worth the buck it cost for your seat.

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The Upside Of Anger Shows An Upside To Binder’s Body Of Work

6616-The-Upside-of-Anger--2005-After nearly 12 years of scattered work which did include a short lived series on HBO, entitled The Mind Of A Married Man, Mike Binder would return with his most acclaimed cast to date and most interesting and possibly challenging film yet.

The Upside Of Anger stars Kevin Costner as an alcoholic ex-baseball player turned radio DJ and Joan Allen the newly alcoholic scorned wife of a husband who has apparently left his family for a younger woman, leaving his wife to finish raising their four daughters. When Costner discovers Joan Allen’s situation, a reluctant kinship is formed between the two until the true cause of Joan Allen’s husband’s disappearance is discovered.

The story centers around a woman who just wants to be sad over her apparent situation and a man of fame who ultimately wants to be forgotten by everyone including himself at times. The other central character is that of the self medication choice the two have made and that despite being a perfect match for each other, they are also toxic for each other. As their lives unfold and they grow closer along with experiencing tragedy together they seem to help each other.

With fantastic performances from everyone, especially a young and lesser known Evan Rachel Wood as “Popeye” the youngest of the sisters as the story is really told through her eyes that appear to be wise beyond her years, The Upside Of Anger is probably the best title in that it truly explains the complexity of a life that they thought was complex enough already.

Binder was at the time concerned that Costner would not be interested in once again playing a baseball player. His fears were releaved when Costner told him if the script is right and he likes the material he doesn’t care what the character does for a living. Joan Allen was a natural choice for Terry Ann. The two had worked together on the film, The Contender with Jeff Bridges and she had hoped Binder would be able to write something for her in the future and a better part, she could not have gotten. ?????????????????`

It really is Binder’s finest film up to that point and is amongst his best over all. Despite the seriousness of it’s over subject matter, humor once again does not elude Binder’s script and film. It is his most polished film and most perfectly made. Binder appears in the movie as the womanizing Shep, Costner’s radio producer. Displaying the wit and underrated acting ability that landed him his series with HBO that unfortunately was cut short.

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Mike Binder Shares His Love Of Film Making

Reign Over Me New York Movie PremiereThere is truth in saying that some great things can’t be put in any category. This rule could also be true for film makers. Some of the best musicians and most respected musicians write AND play their music. Similar to this in the film world would be the writer/director. Those are the ones that really garner a lot of respect amongst their peers and the actors they work with. That’s not to say that those who strictly write or strictly direct are not masters at their craft.

One of the best and well respected writer/directors in Hollywood is Mike Binder. Binder is from Detroit, Michigan where he grew up and his movies many times have a tie to. Binder got his start in show business as a stand-up comedian, but his first love was always writing and that is what would get him his start. His first feature that he wrote would be 1990’s Coupe de Ville starring Daniel Stern, Alan Arkin and a young Patrick Dempsey. His next film was called Crossing The Bridge which was his directoral debut. He would experience more and more success as time went on working with a plethora of A-list stars. Recently I had a chance to speak with Mr. Binder about his career and what is on the horizon for him.

You seemed to get your start in Hollywood as a writer, is that what you always wanted to do?

“I started as a stand-up comic but I always loved people like Woody Allen and Albert Brooks who made their own movies and I said, “That’s the coupe-de-ville_lworld I’m gonna follow.” If you ask anyone I see myself as a writer first.”

Your films tend to mix a perfect blend of humor and drama to the point where they don’t fall in any one genre. Is that by design?

“It’s just the way I see everything. I don’t think anything is cut and dry. I hate to see a drama with no humor and I hate to see a comedy that doesn’t feel real. My favorite movie this year was Silver Linings Playbook because I loved the blend that it had.”

How much of your life experiences make their way into your films?

183262.1020.A“A lot! One way or another it usually starts from something I know of or lived through. I don’t think you get the good stuff without it. Like Reign Over Me was a lot of how I felt about the world at the time.”

Reign Over Me was one 9/11 movie that didn’t feel like it was trying to tug at the heart strings of America. I just felt like it was an isolated story that happened to have that event at the center of it. Can you talk about that?

“I was tired of these 24 hour news cycles when these terrible crisis’ happen and everybody watches and pays attention and then it’s like the spotlight goes off it and everybody walks away but there’s still these lives that are still shattered years later and still picking up the pieces from that. That’s the reason I felt really good using a well known event like that. We never showed the towers because it really wasn’t about that at reign-over-me-movie-poster-2007-1020396776all.”

Are there any of your movies or scripts that are really special to you that just seem to stand out more than the others?

“No not really (laugh). I never go back and watch them again once it’s done. If Im flipping the television channels and it comes by I just keep going. There’s also just a couple of my movies that just didn’t come out as good as I hoped. I feel that way about a lot of my stuff. Thats why I keep going ya know? I mean I’ve never really had a hit because it’s very hard to get movies made. I’ve always had people really like my movies and actors like my movies and that helps.”

Your production company is Sunlight Productions. Is there any projects you go after?

“Well we just do my stuff. It’s just me and a few people that have worked with me for a long time. We are getting ready to do a movie with Kevin Costner who we worked with before and I wrote the movie. We don’t really look for outside material and I’m not the kind of guy that wants to produce a movie just to produce it for a check.”

Mike Binder is a true film maker. He genuinely loves story telling and has a passion for it and to tell it the best way he knows how. The film Binder mentioned with Kevin Costner is now in production titled Black And White. This is one man in Hollywood not out for the fame and the biggest payday he can get. He truly is one we want to see more from and thankfully we will.

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Field Of Dreams Transcends The Game It Honors

Everyone who loves baseball has several reasons why they love it. Some call it the perfect game, others call it the thinking man’s athletic sport. Still others love the fan fare that comes with going to a game. There is one thing for sure, every fan has a baseball hero and no sport loves it’s heroes the way the game of baseball does. They honor and remember all of it’s greats like no other profession and sport does They are near mythic heroes and the stories are like that of old greek gods.

One movie took all these loves of heroes and the love people have of their heroes and did it better than any homage any book or story could do. Field Of Dreams is just that, a tip of the hat to baseball’s heroes and those that remember and love those heroes. It’s not as much a baseball movie as it is a love of what baseball has brought to people and how it has affected people. Field Of Dreams really is much more than a baseball movie, it’s a nostalgia movie. It uses baseball as it’s vehicle to show a man’s never forgotten love of his father and how he vowed to love his family as much as his father loved him only he’s going to show it much more than his father did.

Kevin Costner has been criticized in the past for making too many baseball movies and playing it safe in that regard but his first two baseball movies were nothing short of pure gems as far as movies go. We did not include Field Of Dreams on our top five baseball movie list because it seems to be about so much more than baseball. A man’s search to understand his father and his father’s love for a game, baseball is the medium is the story teller uses that can be understood by many father’s and son’s. It helps pull the intended emotions of the story teller and made every man who saw the movie or read the book immediately want to hug his father and play catch with them just one more time.

Dreams is a movie that will forever be seen by young men and their fathers that will translate through the line of time. It will always also make grown men cry forever and thats what it should do. There is no shame in that and maybe it being a sports movie is what makes that OK but sports or not it’s a love story between a father and son and with one game of catch all the unsaid things they wanted to say to each other is finally said and accepted.

The Best Baseball Hollywood Has

With Brad Pitt’s Moneyball nominated for 6 Academy Awards this year and spring training just around the corner I felt it was time to countdown the 5 best baseball movies of all time. In Moneyball Billy Beane uses a line that, I’m not sure if it was actually spoken or not, but it quickly became one of my favorites, “It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball”. That pretty much sums up Hollywoods love affair with America’s past time. With that in mind this list was born.

 

5.For Love Of The Game

Kevin Costner plays aging star pitcher, Billy Chapel who can see the end of his illustrious career right in front of him. He begins to think of life after baseball and what to do with it and who to spend it with. His longtime girlfriend, Jane has made a life choice that, unknown to Billy, doesn’t include him. During a routine start on the final day of the season, Billy looks back on his career and relationship with Jane. More focused on his thoughts than the game, Billy goes on to make history in what will be his last game. A movie that has enough baseball to appeal to the men and enough of the love story to appeal to women, For Love Of The Game appeals to all.

 

4.Major League

An all time classic comedy about a basement dwelling Cleveland Indians team threatening to be moved if the teams dismal ways continue. A greedy owner throws together a misfit team in hopes of relocation to Miami. The one thing they didn’t count on was the hope of this teams last chance players and their hope at pulling out a winning season. With one of the most memorable roles as the teams play by play announcer, Bob Ueker delivers some of the most loved lines associated with the game of all time.

 

3.Bull Durham

Kevin Costner’s second movie on the list is without question one of his best movies of all time. Costner stars as minor league baseball legend Crash Davis who is traded and tasked with helping develop young hotshot pitcher, Nuke Laroosh. With Laroosh destined for the majors he has a few kinks to work out and not just in his mechanics but in his attitude and approach to the game. Noted as the movie that introduced one of Hollywood’s longest relationships of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon the memorable chemistry was clearly felt between Sarandon and Costner.

 

2.Moneyball

The true story of the 2002 Oakland Athletic’s and their frustrated general manager and how with the second lowest payroll in the game, they still managed to produce one of the most memorable season’s in recent memory. Billy Beane played by Brad Pitt is forced to re-examine how a team is built using a new system of statistics and mathematics now known as sbermetrics. Having changed the game forever with the help of his new young assistant, Peter Brand wonderfully played by Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill. Moneyball is a movie that transcends the game and tell the story of being able to make a difference no matter what the outcome.

 

1.The Natural

Adapted from the classic novel by Bernard Malamud, The Natural is the story of Roy Hobbs, a man who was raised to be and had the skills to be the best player the game ever saw before tragedy stuck and he was forced away from the game for 16 years before finally working his way to the majors. Determined to make the best of his limited time he inspires a down on their luck team to rise to the best the game has to offer. With a classic performance by Robert Redford and perfectly cast as the teams manager is Wilford Brimley who is looking for one final chance at a winning season. Perfectly cast and beautifully shot, The Natural is a love story to baseball’s golden era and has the rousing cheering ending we love from our sports movies.