Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 4/5/00
For Love of the
1999 (2000) - Universal
review by Todd Doogan of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
138 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 54.42, in chapter
7), Amaray keep case packaging, Spotlight
on Location featurette, trailers for For
Love of The Game and The Nutty
Professor 2: Klumps, a text history of baseball's perfect
games with a complete list, On The Mound
interactive trivia game (winner sees Play
Ball With Babe Ruth: Slide, Babe, Slide short), 10
deleted scenes, production notes, cast and crew bios, DVD-ROM
materials (including website information), film-themed menu screens
with sound, scene access (19 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1)
and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English
"You and the ball
and the diamond - you're perfect. You're a perfectly beautiful
thing. You can win or lose the game all by yourself."
Love, like baseball, is a team sport. You can't play either by
yourself. Sure, you can practice all you want, but it's an empty
experience without someone to go up against. But what happens when
the passion falls out of it? Is it worth going on? Is it worth
pursuing that thrill if it's just not in you anymore? Those are the
questions this film asks. For Love of the
Game is a good movie. Not great mind you, but good enough
to mark the last film in Costner's "baseball trilogy".
Kevin Costner went from fan (Field of
Dreams) to the minor leagues (Bull
Durham) all the way to the pros with this film. Here he
plays Billy "Chappy" Chapel, a 19-year career player with
a guaranteed spot in the Hall of Fame. In what will ultimately be
his last professional game, Chappy starts to zone out. He's standing
on the mound, up against the New York Yankees in their own stadium.
As he throws his pitches, we see that his mind is more on the losses
in his life than of the accomplishments. Before the game, Billy has
just found that his on-again off-again girlfriend is finally leaving
him for good. All he can do is think about the good, the bad and how
it all went wrong. It makes for a pretty engaging film.
It also helps that Costner is built for playing baseball heroes.
He's totally believable and very engaging. I liked this film. Like I
said, it's not the best film I've seen, but it's a pretty dern good
one. I'm not a big baseball fan, but I do enjoy character studies.
This is ultimately a bold character study. I say bold, because it
takes some balls to make a movie about a man's relationship while he
throws a perfect game. Not a whole lot of excitement potential
there. Thankfully, the producers got Sam Raimi to direct, and he is
quite able to find excitement in any scenario.
This DVD from Universal is not all that it could be. Although the
picture is a solid anamorphic transfer, there is some heavy grain
apparent in a few darker scenes. The color and light play is pretty
good, but with so much grain, I found the picture a bit distracting.
The lighter moments play out fine, and the trick TV broadcast "cut-to"
shots come off very well. I would have liked to have seen more solid
blacks though. On the sound side, you'll find a pretty good Dolby
Digital 5.1 track. Universal chose to forgo adding DTS to this disc,
but there's no real loss there. The sound field is not too fired up,
which is sort of shocking considering the enormous stadium sounds
the disc had the chance to play with. One neat effect does come
through though -- the "clear the mechanisms" all have an
enormous build and then muted hush, which sounds pretty killer.
There's only three or so moments though. This is a fine disc for
what it is, but I think Universal could have done a better job.
The extras on board more than make up for it though. Even if it's
lacking a commentary track, this DVD feels like a buffed out
movie-only edition. Considering the film, I think it's fine and
dandy. There's the usual Spotlight on
Location featurette on the making of the film. You also
get an interactive trivia game (the reward for winning is a hidden
short starring Babe Ruth), a text history of "The Perfect Game"
(with a chart on who did it and when), a trailer and a huge chunk of
outtakes (about 22 minutes worth, which in most cases features the
whole scene the cuts were trimmed from). Add that to the production
notes, cast and crew bios and a web-link, and you have a disc you
can play with for a few hours.
I wouldn't recommend replacing your day out on the diamond with
this disc, but if you have a rain delay, I can't think of a better
way to pass the time. This is a surprisingly good film, and one that
deserves to be seen. Give it a chance and you might just find your
own love for the game. Batter up.