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10 Reasons to Love: Kevin Costner

One of Hollywood’s most famous and yet unfairly remembered stars of recent generations has to be Mr. Kevin Costner. Despite a prolific first decade or so to his career, riddled with true classics and sterling performances (let’s not forget Bull Durham, The Bodyguard, and Wyatt Earp, all of which didn’t make my list), his name was forever blackened by the legendary failure that was the diabolical mega-flop Waterworld (at the time – the most expensive movie ever made) followed swiftly by the similarly epic but disastrous The Postman in 1997. Despite a few notable roles and films under his belt since then (Mr. Brooks, Swing Vote, The Company Men are all worthy films that couldn’t fit into the Top 10) he still can’t seem to shake off the image those unfortunate movies left him with.

But I remember him for his great achievements and below I’ve comprised 10 very valid reasons for why you should damn well rethink your opinion.

So I here I give you 10 REASONS TO LOVE . . . KEVIN COSTNER

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01 JFK

One of modern history’s most tragic and fascinating assassinations is explored in a way that only Oliver Stone in his prime could achieve, leaving conspiracy nuts stuttering for breathe with excitement. A near perfect movie with a stunning cast, brave, confident direction, an incredible score and an overblown extended director’s cut, which is the only true way to witness this modern classic. Oh, and Costner leads the fray with great, calm gravitas.

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02 The Untouchables

Brian De Palma’s classic movie about real-life cop Eliot Ness’s attempts to take down the most legendary gangster of all time; Al Capone, was made successful by a number of essential parts. The strong performance by Robert De Niro, Sean Connery in his most loveable role (along with Highlander), the brilliant thematic score, and the gorgeous cinematography. But once again Costner is the beating, patient heart of the film doing his usual quiet, bubbling determined look. A truly brilliant film.

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03  Open Range

Even those of us who lament the idea of settling in to watch a Western (myself included) will be embroiled in the thrilling, meaty, adult world of Open Range. Costner returns to the genre after the amiable but largely forgettable Wyatt Earp and steals the show. The final shoot-out is a brilliant slice of realism and the cinematography is beautiful but it’s Costner’s direction that really exceeds.

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04  Dances With Wolves

That Costner’s debut behind the camera as director could be as epic, confident, completely involving, and extraordinarily unique as this sprawling cowboys and indians epic is the first miracle. That he could accomplish this feat alongside starring in it only makes his talent all the more evident. A must see, as simple as that.

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05  Thirteen Days

One of his more overlooked films, focusing on the tense two-week lead up to the Cuban missile crisis from the point of view of the White House. It’s not quite the classic it could have been but it’s still a sterling, fascinating and beautifully played out political drama that provides a brilliant insight into what actually happened behind closed doors.

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06  A Perfect World

After Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood directed this largely ignored road trip movie about an escaped convict (played with career-defining charm by Costner) who befriends his hostage – a small boy – as they attempt to outrun the law. I have to say this is a real childhood favourite of mine and it still makes me smile and cry in equal measures. A thoroughly great little gem and certainly one of Costner’s finest performances.

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07  Tin Cup

Between his disastrous fantasy projects Waterworld and The Postman, Costner somehow found the time to star in this light, fluffy rom-com centering around the world of golf. It’s a real guilty pleasure this one as it’s wonderfully entertaining and is perfect for a brain-dead Sunday evening flick. Don’t be snobby and check it out.

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08  Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves

Do I really need to say anything about this one? A cheesy, fun, and classic blockbuster film that really helped ignite Costner’s career at a time when it seemed he could do no wrong in the public’s eye.

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09  Field of Dreams

An American classic. It didn’t appeal to quite so many here in the UK, but there’s no denying it’s still a classic film, even if it does get a bit odd and cheesy in retrospect.

10  Man Of Steel

OK, ok, so it’s not out for another year or so, but Costner stars in Zack Snyder’s incredibly exciting Superman reboot as Clark Kent’s adopted Earth dad! C’mon! How is that not exciting?!

I rest my case.