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When Kevin Costner speaks, people listen. The actor has had a leading-man career spanning 30 years, filled with hits and bombs, Oscars and Razzies, highlights and embarrassments. And yet, it's 2014, and when we need comfort from a movie star, he's one of our last best bets. Last year he mentored the very first DC hero in Man of Steel and this Friday he'll be leading an NFL team from the front office in Draft Day. When you need a man in charge, you call Kevin.
Costner's played a variety of parts in his career, but he's most known for a certain conviction, one that's allowed him to play leaders, captains of industry, bosses and fathers. So while a best-of Costner retrospective would be simple, we've decided to compile a 24 hour marathon of the Costner roles where he spoke with the sort of authority that made people listen and respect him. Salute the great American legend, Mr. Kevin Costner.
Tin CupSettle in at noon with one of Costner's many sporting roles. As retired pro Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy, Costner now drinks the day away on his own driving range, giving golf lessons when he pleases. Rene Russo is sexy as hell in this: showing up as a competitor's randy wife, she seeks a lesson with McAvoy, and by lesson we mean wink wink nudge nudge say no more. Costner is excellent in a role where he has to be a mess, but one with the authority to still rule over the game.
The BodyguardCostner is again a hard-drinking has-been, but in this case he's also the single person trusted to protect the life of pop star Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston). And wouldn't you know it, he's so good at keeping her from a stalker that she surrenders to his manly charms. In a million years you couldn't dream up a couple like Costner and Houston, and yet this film makes the romance work. A lot of things work when Costner's got his hand on a gun.
Bull DurhamPossibly Costner's most iconic role, he stars as career minor leaguer Crash Davis, a catcher who earns reverence from his teammates for once getting a cup of coffee at the big leagues. Idiot pitcher Nuke Laloosh, who won't heed his advice, looks even more foolish today now that we've had a couple of decades of Costner wisdom. This should take you comfortably into suppertime, since Costner movies tend to run really long. Also, order a couple of courses, because you're going to need it for...
JFKAll the conspiracies and mysterious put forth by Oliver Stone would be just jibber-jabber if it weren't for Costner. As steadfast prosecutor Jim Garrison, Costner's steely resolve to get to the bottom of the Kennedy assassination enthralls and makes you forget everything you thought you knew about the infamous shooting.
The Company MenCan you believe it's already 9:30? Yes, JFK is over three hours long, so stretch your legs out and chill to John Wells' recession-era drama. Though Costner looks best in a suit and tie, he's one of the few actors in the film to not wear one. As Ben Affleck's brother-in-law, he's a handyman who installs drywall, and who ends up teaching the laid off corporate-leaning Affleck how to work with your hands. If you're gonna learn how to install drywall, Costner's probably the best possible teacher.
Thirteen DaysIt's 1962 and America is staring the Cuban Missile Crisis in the face. In these trying times, there's only one man you can trust, and that's Kevi- I mean, President Kennedy, as played by Bruce Greenwood. Costner takes a supporting role here as Presidential assistant Kenneth O'Donnell, but he's there for all the major decisions, and is often asked to weigh in on the fate of the free world. And aside from his cartoonish Boston accent, you come away thinking a group of world leaders worked with an accented Kevin Costner to save the world back in the sixties.
The GuardianIt's around 2 AM, and it's time for the more dubious parts of Costner's career. He's been slotted into the mentor role many times before, but he's never had a protege as feeble as Ashton Kutcher: here, Costner is a Coast Guard veteran taking rookie Kutcher under his wing. It's all very Jan Michael Vincent, the passing of the torch, but reluctant teacher Costner decides to finally make Kutcher shape up so he can ship out.
For Love Of The GameCostner is in sporting form once again in Sam Raimi's baseball epic, as he plays veteran Billy Chapel. He's about to pitch the best game of his career, topping off a list of incredible achievements, but first he's got to circulate through his entire life Walk Hard-style. The sports cliches are considerable, but Raimi here directs some of the best-looking onscreen baseball action to make you believe that even the opposing team thinks Chapel is a living legend.
BreakfastTake a break – the shortest of these movies is 113 minutes. Jeez. We've slotted a half hour breakfast so you can go about the marathon right on time.
Robin Hood: Prince Of ThievesCostner steps into the shoes of Sir Robin Of Locksley in this rousing adventure film where... well shucks, Costner isn't too good in this. His accent is off, and he seems absolutely indifferent about giving to the poor the spoils he robbed from the rich. But someone has to lead the Merry Men, so it might as well be this extremely handsome American, no?
A Perfect WorldWe close it off around 9:45 a.m. with perhaps Costner's finest role. In this chilly Clint Eastwood film, Costner is Butch Haynes, an escaped convict who takes a boy hostage and becomes an immensely inappropriate father figure. With some actors, this could turn ugly, or even slightly comedic. Costner finds a middle ground – his approach is still menacing, but he barely raises his voice, instead opting for a cold stare and a calm voice. He's a homicidal criminal, but in spite of it all, you end up really liking the guy. It could have only been Costner.