This coming weekend will bring the release of Kevin Costner’s third (yes I said third) film of 2014. I’m a huge fan of Costner and I can say it’s great to see him back after a lengthy hiatus. So in light of his return I thought it would be cool to spotlight this great actor in this week’s Phenomenal 5. Now the wonderful movies that didn’t make this list are a testament to the fantastic career he has had. Considering that I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. Still I have no trouble calling these five Kevin Costner films absolutely phenomenal.
#5 – “Open Range”
In 2003 Costner headed back to the old west alongside Robert Duvall in “Open Range”. Costner also hopped back into the director’s chair and reminded us of what an incredible cinematic eye he has. The story revolves around free grazing cattlemen who run into an Irish land hoarder who doesn’t want them anywhere around. A violent wild west clash explodes between the two groups ending in one of the best western shootouts ever put on screen. Costner is fabulous both in front and behind the camera which is the main reason the movie works so well.
#4 – “Field of Dreams”
Kevin Costner has always had a heart for baseball movies. He made several throughout his career but for me his best is also the quintessential baseball film. “Field of Dreams” works for a variety of reasons. It captures everything that makes baseball so special to me. It also pricks my heart by telling a moving family story with a father as its centerpiece. And what a great cast. But Costner leads the way and he doesn’t miss a best. There is so much heart in this film and it’s one of those that I never get tired of watching.
#3 – “No Way Out”
If you look at Costner’s great filmography “No Way Out” is one that may get lost among the bigger titles and bigger hits. But I absolutely love the film and it is one of the best thrillers to come out of the 80’s. Costner plays a U.S Navy Lieutenant who gets caught up in a web of scandal, corruption, and espionage. There is a great supporting cast featuring Gene Hackman, Sean Young, and Will Patton but it’s Costner who ratchets up the nervousness and intrigue. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the story and it will keep you on edge right up to its big surprise finale.
#2 – “The Untouchables”
In many ways this is a nostalgic and sentimental choice but I can’t help myself. I love Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables”. The film gives a very cinematic version of Agent Eliot Ness (Costner) and his Prohibition Era mission to bring gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) to justice. The movie takes a ton of liberties with the characters and the actual accounts but in terms of pure cinema it is hard to beat what De Palma gives us. Costner is perfectly cast and alongside the great Sean Connery he gives this story such vivid life.
#1 – “Dances with Wolves”
Many critics have viewed “Dances with Wolves” as a good movie but undeserving of the Oscar accolades it received. I have to disagree. I think the film is beautiful, captivating, and epic. Costner directed and starred in the film which won seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. There is no doubt that “Dances with Wolves” tinkers with historical fact for dramatic effect but it also tells a moving story and challenges many perceptions. But most importantly it is a great overall movie and despite the naysayers Costner pulled off a grand achievement.
So there are my five phenomenal movies from Kevin Costner. I automatically know a few that will be brought up (and should be) in the comments section below. I can’t wait to hear them and other Costner movies that may have made your list.