The Snobs here decided to take a look back at Costner and his resume. It’s one brimming with sports films (including Draft Day, which we’ve excluded because you guys haven’t seen it yet), and period pieces. Whether he’s building it so they will come or raising the man of steel, Costner always brings that smug charm that’s always served him well. Without further ado let’s get to it with number ten…
10. Tin Cup (1996): Costner plays Roy McAvoy, a driving range owner, and talented golfer…who lives in the middle of nowhere. He spends more time drinking beer than running his “business”. That is until Molly (Renee Russo) the town's new psychologist changes his life. Costner is as nonchalant as it gets here. Russo plays an interesting juxtaposition with Molly, offering both a nuisance to Roy and his only beacon of hope. It’s 90’s romcom cheese but Costner and Russo sell the crap out of it!
9. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991): It’s the steal from the rich give to the poor story told with a big budget, and even bigger baddie with Alan Rickman as vile as ever as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Costner steps in as Robin (Hood) of Locksley, and almost three hours later we get to the point. I don’t care how crappy people THINK this movie is…it’s awesome! Melodramatics aside the all-star cast surely makes this watchable in spite of director Kevin Reynolds! Whose uneven tone kills an otherwise interesting take on an Errol Flynn film. That Rickman doe, see this for the duel between he and Costner…plus Morgan freakin’ Freeman!
8. Man of Steel (2013): Is this cheating? You know since Costner isn’t the focal point. Nope! Without Jonathan Kent what would become of young Clark? Especially after that whole implosion of his home planet thing. Costner plays the man responsible for not only teaching our future Man of Steel how to be a man but deal with his extraordinary gifts. He does so with a fatherly pathos that makes us wish he were our dad. Overall, without Jonathan’s guidance who knows what would’ve become of Superman.
7. JFK (1991): Yeah, 91 was really good to Costner. Not only as our number nine pick from 1991, but this Oliver Stone masterpiece came out. Stone, never one to shy from controversy, delves into some interesting theories here, and Costner as New Orleans DA Jim Garrison shows grit and passion in his role. Let’s not lie though, Gary Oldman freaking rules in this movie as “alleged” trigger man Lee Harvey Oswald. Sometimes it seems like the entire production is flying by the seat of its pants and Costner is on the forefront of that assumption. His fearless bravado brings this character to life. A character whom he looks not alike, but after this, we cannot imagine anyone else in this role. Just freaking see it.
6. A Perfect World (1993): So the year is 1993 and Clint Eastwood had just killed the Oscars the year previous with my second favorite western ever (Unforgiven) and can make any film he wants. He decides to go with this curious and somewhat heartfelt character study. Costner here plays an escaped prisoner who up and snatches a young boy as a pseudo-hostage. As the two grow closer so does the long arm of the law, and Clint Eastwood’s Chief Garnett is that law. He’s a terrifying gem, one whose machismo here is only trumped by the acting chops of Costner’s turn as Butch Haynes. It’s a crime drama and a twisted father-son story and in the end one worth your time.
5. Silverado (1985): Admittedly I’m a sucker for westerns, and this is a great little gem of a film in Costner’s canon that not enough people know about. Costner plays a gunslinging, kiss-stealing sumbitch named Jake, who despite his youth likes to shoot off, but not with his mouth. With all the talent in this film (the criminally underrated Kevin Kline, Danny Glover, and Brian Dennehy) it’s Costner that steals the show. It’s a full of energy western setpiece with a style unique to itself. Underrated, it is truly a great western in a time when great westerns weren’t being made.
4. Field of Dreams (1989): He built it. They came. Costner is Ray Kinsella an Iowa farmer who has an epiphany that should he build a baseball diamond in his corn field something will happen. Initially, he assumes the “they” was the ghost of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (played by Ray Liotta). But the field serves a higher purpose both literally and figuratively. Costner is simply outstanding here. In a film often considered the best baseball film of all times (we disagree, read on and you’ll see) there’s a certain sentimentality that connects us and Ray, despite its often overly ham-fisted emotionalism.
3. Dances With Wolves (1990): Costner does double duty here acting, and directing this Civil War period piece. Sure it’s three hours, and sure it sometimes suffers in the pacing department but looks at that stache! In all honesty, this is Costner's magnum opus! His performance as Union Lieutenant John W Dunbar, a man who chooses to abandon his life (which as you know seeing the film he wasn’t fond of anyway!) and become a member of the Sioux tribe of South Dakota. The film’s title is a nod to Dunbar’s Sioux name. Winner of seven Oscars including Best Picture it’s not a film it’s an experience, and at one minute past three hours of runtime, it’s a lengthy journey.
2. Bull Durham (1988): This is in our opinion the best baseball film of all time. Here we have Costner playing catcher Crash Davis, a perennial minor leaguer who's just joined the terrible Durham Bulls. Remember that smug charm we spoke of? Yeah, here it is in spades! And when you have a guy like Tim Robbins in there as a part of the tomfoolery it doesn’t get much better. When you can effectively mix in romance which this film does, and Susan Sarandon is excellent here as not just a squeeze for Crash. Director Ron Shelton having played in the minors really helps the realism and his seeming loss of control helps even more.
Before we get to number one let’s highlight a film in Costner’s canon that just well… just stinks!
Dishonorable Mention. The Postman (1997): Totally wanted to go with Waterworld, but that wasn’t all Costner’s fault. Kevin Reynolds again “directs” a directionless, expensive piece of nothing. However, our dishonorable mention is this 1997 film directed, and starring Costner. This one, this one all on him. An overcrowded, overlong, slow, and boring spectacle. Costner crafts an interesting first third, the second third seem to lag, and the final act is atrocious filmmaking at it’s very finest. We love Costner, but dammit this is a bad movie.
And now number one…
1.) The Untouchables (1987): What do you get when you make Sean Connery an Irish beat cop, and team him with a rookie played by Andy Garcia, and Kevin Costner as federal agent Eliot Ness? A really good team! Couple them with an out of his mind performance by Robert De Niro as the former Kingpin of Chicago Al Capone. You get the best film in Costner’s CV and one that won Connery an Oscar. Brian De Palma (Scarface) brings screenwriter David Mamet’s prohibition tale to life in all it’s Armani’s dressed glory. Costner is magnetic as Ness, and holds our attention anytime De Niro isn’t busy bringing his “A” game here. Go watch it right now. It’s one of my favorite movies….ever!
Really hope you’ve enjoyed our debut top ten. If this is popular enough we’ll do some more. Let’s get some dialogue. Tell us what you think! What’s your favorite film from Kevin Costner?
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