Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baseball in the Movies

Somehow I found myself watching For Love of the Game from 1999 with Kevin Costner last night (again), and it started me thinking about baseball movies.  (Oh no!  He's thinking again!)  How many baseball movies are there?

If you enter "baseball" in IMDb, you get 149 hits under partial titles.  It didn't look very accurate, so I did a Google search for "movies about baseball."  That turned up this web site, http://www.bostonbaseball.com/baseball_movies and they list 199 titles.

Next question...how many featured Kevin Costner?  That site lists four baseball movies with Costner.  Chasing Dreams from 1982 is one of Costner's first films, and apparently it was not very good.  Then there are the famous ones, Bull Durham in 1988, Field of Dreams in 1989 and For Love of the Game.  Those last three are all pretty good movies with lots of great bit actors.  Let's look at some of the interesting bit parts in For Love.

Vin Scully, the famous baseball announcer played himself.  He has had 11 acting roles plus 43 appearances as "self" over the years, including "Mister Ed" in an episode called "Leo Durocher Meets Mister Ed" in 1963.  But he never really acted, he just did announcing and narration.

Bill and Sharon Costner, Kevin's real parents, appeared as his parents in a thought balloon during the end of the game.  They also appeared in Tin Cup four years earlier, another Costner sports film...different sport.

Director Sam Raimi's brother Ted had an extra part as a doorman.  Ted also has 80 roles of his own listed on IMDb.  Sam must be an interesting person.  He was amazing in a 1993 film called Indian Summer.  Sam has acted in 25 films, directed 16, written 19, and produced 40.  That's well rounded.

Larry Joshua played the obnoxious Yankee's fan in the airport bar.  Larry was also in Dances with Wolves with Costner in 1990.  He has 64 roles listed, mostly on TV, but with a good number of movies and a great NY accent.

Hugh Ross was the trainer for Coster's character, Billy Chapel, who helped him back after the accident.  Ross was in Wyatt Earp with Costner in 1994.  Are we seeing a pattern here?

I guess when you are as big in Hollywood as Kevin Costner, you can cast whoever you want.  That is not a bad thing, though.  If you know who they are and what they can do, you can more easily place them in a fitting part so they can bring more magic to the screen. 

Well, there isn't as much magic in For Love of the Game as there was in Field of Dreams, but its a pretty good movie that could really be called a chick flick for guys.

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