Tag Archives: JFK

Top 15 Kevin Costner Movies

Kevin Costner has so many great movies, it was difficult in paring down the best ones to a minimal 15, but I did it to the dismay of all Bull Durham fans out there–it was on the bubble and I had to cut it. With that being said, here’s my top 15 Kevin Costner movies:

15 – No Way Out (1987)Many people consider Tom Farrell in No Way Out as the performance that launched Kevin Costner’s career as a leading man.  No Way Out was a remake of The Big Clock (1948 – Great movie by the way) starring Ray Milland in the Costner role and Charles Laughton in Gene Hackman’s role. This is a fantastic thriller and some, though not all, scenes supposedly inside the Pentagon were filmed there. The most notable on-location scene occurred inside the actual office of the Secretary of Defense.

14 – The Guardian (2006)The opening story of the helo rescue gone bad was loosely based on a real event that occurred August 7, 1981. The crew of CG1471 from Airsta Kodiak was responding to a distress call of a fishing vessel near Prince William Sound. As the crew attempted to hoist the survivors of the boat, a wave hit the tail of CG1471 causing the helo to crash into the seas. A painting named “So Others May Live” hangs on CG Airsta Kodiak depicting the rescue. In real life, actors Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher are both members of the Delta Chi fraternity. Interestingly, in this film, Clancy Brown portrays “Captain William Hadley” and in “The Shawshank Redemption” he portrays “Captain Byron Hadley.”

13 – The Postman (1998)The second post-apocalyptic feature film which Kevin Costner stars in the lead role as a drifter with no name. The other film is coming up on this list at number 10. People are probably freaked out that I picked this movie over Bull Durham or Wyatt Earp or Message in a Bottle, but I simply loved this film more than those.

12 – Open Range (2003)Robert Duvall was the only actor that Kevin Costner had in mind for the role of Boss Spearman. Robert Duvall accepted the role of Boss Spearman within twenty-four hours of reading the script. Costner said if Duvall had turned down the part, he might not have made the movie at all. Originally, the studio had Kevin Costner top-billed over Robert Duvall, but Costner asked the studio to top-bill Duvall instead. At only two hours and nineteen minutes, this is the shortest of the three movies Kevin Costner self-directed. They average three hours each.

11 – Dances With Wolves (1990)Michael Blake wrote a spec screenplay in the early 1980s. When Kevin Costner came across the project in 1986, he suggested to Blake that he should turn it into a novel, thereby increasing his chances of getting it made into a film. Blake did so and after many rejections found a publisher in 1988. Costner immediately snapped up the movie rights with an eye to directing it himself.  The studio wanted the final cut to be 2 hours 20 minutes. They had to settle for Kevin Costner’s cut of At 236 minutes, the director’s cut of “Dances with Wolves is the longest of Costner’s three self-directed movies, which average 3 hours.

10 – Water World (1995)Kevin Costner insisted that his friend Kevin Reynolds be given the director’s position as they had previously worked on Fandango and Robin Hood together. Later, Costner had a falling out with Reynolds over the film’s direction, but they would come together again after this movie to film the Hatfields and the McCoys.  Despite reports, on the contrary, Costner worked extremely hard on this film and was on the set 157 days, working 6 days a week. Kevin Costner and Kim Coates became good friends after this movie and later worked together on Open Range which was directed by Costner.

9 – For The Love of The Game (1999)After pitching his perfect game at Yankee Stadium, Kevin Costner’s character carries John C. Reilly to his hotel room, where Reilly says to him, “you’re the cream in my coffee.” In Costner’s movie JFK (1991) a woman on the street comes up to him asking if he remembers singing with her at a party to which he responds, “oh right, we sang ‘you’re the cream in my coffee'” as he walks away. The movie’s production and release coincided with the fact that two real life perfect games were pitched at Yankee Stadium during that time frame. David Wells of the Yankees threw a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins at the Stadium in May 1998, six months prior to the filming of game scenes there. David Cone, also of the Yankees, would pitch a perfect game at Yankee Stadium against the Montreal Expos in July 1999, almost exactly two months prior to the film’s release.

8 – The Bodyguard (1992)

This film was originally proposed in the mid-’70s, starring Diana Ross and Steve McQueen, but was rejected as “too controversial”. The film concept was to be attempted again in the late 1970s, with Ryan O’Neal and Diana Ross cast as the leads. The project fell through after only a few months because of irreconcilable differences between O’Neal and Ross, who had been dating. Kevin Costner said that he based his portrayal of Frank Farmer on actor Steve McQueen. He even went as far as to get McQueen’s trademark haircut for the role. This was Whitney Houston’s first movie role. Kevin Costner was one of the movie’s producers. He campaigned to have Houston play Rachel. Whitney Houston would give Kevin Costner singing lessons on set in exchange for acting advice. It was Kevin Costner’s idea for Whitney Houston to start “I Will Always Love You” a capella. Originally I Will Always Love You” wasn’t in the movie – the big single was “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.” When that song was used in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Kevin Costner suggested: Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” It would become Whitney’s signature song.

7 – JFK (1992)

Oliver Stone was given a copy of Jim Garrison’s book, “On the Trail of the Assassins“, by a friend to read on the plane to the Philippines during the filming of Platoon (1986). After reading the book, Stone knew he’d found a new film project. After reading Jim Garrison’s book, Oliver Stone immediately bought the rights with his own money. Donald Sutherland and Kevin Costner both have very long monologues in the movie. According to Oliver Stone, both of them memorized these speeches (Kevin Costner had thought that one take was necessary for his speech). Reportedly, after starring in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Kevin Costner wanted a year off making films. Director Oliver Stone brazenly sent Costner’s wife a copy of the screenplay for JFK (1991), so she persuaded him to star in the film.

6 – Silverado (1985)

Cook Ranch, twenty-five miles from the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico, served as the site for the town of Silverado. Production Designer Ida Random and Set Designers Bill Elliott (a.k.a. William A. Elliott), Chas. Butcher, and Richard McKenzie had the challenging task of completely creating the forty building western town. From a vast body of historical reference, Random and her team, and a construction crew of one hundred forty, designed and built such structures as the Midnight Star Saloon, a hotel, and a church. Construction Coordinator Clarence Lynn Price, and his able crew, completed the town in twelve weeks, in less than desirable conditions, below freezing temperatures, and winds as high as sixty miles per hour.  The town of “Silverado” has since been used in such movies as Young Guns (1988), Wyatt Earp (1994) (also starring Kevin Costner), Last Man Standing (1996), Lonesome Dove (1989), All the Pretty Horses (2000), and Wild Wild West (1999) (also starring Kevin Kline). In the latter film, as a reference to director Lawrence Kasdan, “Kasdan Ironworks” can be seen on the side of one of the buildings.

5 – Draft Day (2014)

Sonny trades three first-round draft picks (which includes that year’s #7 overall pick) for the #1 pick of the draft. Sonny then trades three second-round picks for the #6 pick of the draft. Then he swaps #6 for his original #7, the future first-round picks he traded away, plus a special teams player. With the picks, he gets the LB he originally wanted at #1 and a RB at #7; essentially trading three second-round picks for the number one overall pick in the draft and a special teams kick returner. The trade Cleveland made in the movie is similar to the real-life trade made in the 2012 NFL Draft, where the Washington Redskins traded their 2012 number six overall pick, 2012 second round selection, 2013 first round selection, and 2014 first round selection for the 2012 number two overall pick to the St. Louis Rams, in order to select Robert Griffin III.

4 – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

One of the absolute best things in this movie, hands down, is Alan Rickman. He’s just brilliant in this. Alan Rickman turned down the role of the Sheriff twice before he was told he could more or less have carte blanche with his interpretation of the character. Alan Rickman ad-libbed the line about canceling Christmas. Some of the other Sheriff’s witty lines (such as telling a couple of wenches “You! My room, 10.30 tonight. You! My room, 10.45. And bring a friend.”) were devised by Alan Rickman’s friends comedian Ruby Wax and playwright Peter Barnes. He enlisted their help in spicing up his dialogue because he felt the script was terrible. Kevin Reynolds enabled these script alterations by not informing the producers or screenwriters or anyone in the crew. Rickman said in an interview years later that he knew these new lines were having the desired effect when during takes he noticed the crew members covering their mouths, trying not to laugh.

3 – The Untouchables (1987)

Eliot Ness and his role in bringing down Al Capone had been completely forgotten at the time of his death in 1957. No Chicago newspaper carried news of his passing. His heroic reputation only began with the posthumous publication of the Untouchables book he had co-written with Oscar Fraley, and the television series adapted from it…and then this movie, which was a very loose remake for the TV series–and is the best of all. Brian De Palma previously directed Scarface (1983), which was a very, very loose remake of Scarface (1932), which was about Al Capone. Kevin Costner has acted with all three of the main leads of Goodfellas (1990) in three different movies. Costner co-stars here with Robert De Niro. He later worked with Ray Liotta in Field of Dreams (1989) and Joe Pesci in JFK (1991).

2 – Tin Cup (1996)

Kevin Costner and Don Johnson are good friends in real life. And also that Johnson was considered to play Eliot Ness in the untouchables but turned it down and it went to his friend Kevin Costner. Don Johnson and Cheech Marin would go on and star together in the television series “Nash Bridges” later the same year this movie came out. Cheech Marin had said he disliked golf until he joined this film, later having become an avid player of the game. The scene at the end of the movie where Roy hits the shot into the water hazard, again and again, was based on an actual event. Gary McCord, the commentator with the handlebar mustache in the movie, is an actual commentator and pro golfer. In a 1987 tournament, he had a shot similar to Kevin Costner’s. He needed a birdie to win and went for it. He hit the water over and over again and finally made the shot, but it cost him 15 strokes. In the movie, Costner gets it in 12. The scene where Roy wins a bar bet by hitting a golf ball at a pelican also was based on a real-life incident from McCord’s career.

1 – Field of Dreams (1989)

After the movie was completed, test audiences didn’t like the name “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, because they said it sounded like a movie about a bum or hobo. Universal called Director and Screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson to tell him that “Shoeless Joe” didn’t work, and the studio changed the title of the film to “Field of Dreams”. When Robinson heard the news of the change, he called W.P. Kinsella, the author of the book, and told him the “bad” news, but apparently, he didn’t care, saying that “Shoeless Joe” was the title the publishing company gave the book. Kinsella’s original title was “Dream Field”. Ray Liotta had no baseball experience, and batted right-handed, although “Shoeless” Joe Jackson was a leftie. Phil Alden Robinson allowed Liotta to bat with his right, but still put him through several weeks of extensive training with University of Southern California baseball coach, and former Brooklyn Dodger, Rod Dedeaux, in order to be convincing as one of the sport’s greatest hitters. Liotta eventually developed a good swing. The scene where he hits a line-drive straight back at Kevin Costner actually happened. Costner’s fall on the mound was real, and although it was a surprise, he stayed in character.

In the novel, instead of seeking fictional author Terrance Mann, Ray Kinsella seeks real-life 60s author J.D. Salinger. In 1947, Salinger wrote a story called “A Young Girl In 1941 With No Waist At All” featuring a character named Ray Kinsella, and in his most famous work, the novel “The Catcher in the Rye”, one of Holden Caulfield’s classmates is Richard Kinsella. (In the original novel, Ray has a twin brother named Richard.) J.D. Salinger was very offended by the fictional portrayal of himself in W.P. Kinsella’s novel “Shoeless Joe”, upon which the film is based. His lawyers said that they would be “unhappy if it (the story) were transferred to other media”, so the studio created the character of Terence Mann. Archibald “Moonlight” Wright Graham was a real baseball player. On June 29, 1905, with the New York Giants, he played one Major League Baseball game. Following that one game, he continued playing professionally through the 1908 season, mostly in the New York State League, until retiring at the age of thirty.

I read the book after I saw the film and loved both, in the end. I just wish that they had kept the twin brother in the film, being a twin myself. In the novel, Ray Kinsella is reunited with his identical twin brother, Richard Kinsella (a subplot that was discarded for the movie).

Top 10 Comedy Teams of All Time

 

I love to see a good comedy team again and again.  And what makes a good comedy team?  There’s magic that happens when some people get together.  Chemistry is key.  Sometimes it just clicks and you know that you’re seeing something special.  Part of it could be that the performers are just having so much fun themselves that it’s infectious.  I would like to celebrate the top 10 Comedy Teams of All Time, by counting them down.

Creating the list was very difficult, because there are so many.  I did not get to include many teams that were truly great.  I would also like to shout out a few Honorable Mentions to a few of my favorites.  Teams such as:

Burns_allen_1952George Burns and Gracie Allen

Smothers Brothers  The Smothers Brothers

Cheech and ChongCheech and Chong

Gene Wilder and Richard PryorGene Wilder and Richard Pryor

Mel Brooks and Carl ReinerMel Brooks and Carl Reiner

Peter-Cook-And-Dudley-Moo-002Peter Cook and Dudley Moore

Don Knotts and Tim ConwayDon Knotts and Tim Conway

Now I can go on and on, because there are many more great teams.  But eventually I will have to get to my top 10.  So, with no further adeau…  The Top 10 Comedy Teams of All Time:

#10 Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

Nick Frost and Simon PeggI know, I know.  They haven’t been around as long as some of the Honorable Mentioned teams, but these guys are awesome.  They’re bromance is as entertaining as it is endearing.  I would see anything with the two of them in it.  Always funny.  They work very well together and I want to see them continue to work together for many years to come.  So, will they work together again?  Nothing is set, but their true friendship is well documented and they’re always looking to spent time together.  Why not get paid, and make many of us laugh in the process.  Fun for them, and us.

A few of the projects they’ve done together are; Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul, The Adventures of Tintin, The World’s End, and The Boxtrolls.  Keep it up guys, I can’t wait for the next one.

#9Amy Poehler and Tina Fey

Tina Fey and Amy PoehlerThese two amazing women are quickly climbing the ranks of the Best Female Comedians of All Time.  And that’s saying something.  They’re right up there with the best of the best.  So, it should be no surprise to find them here.  Now again, like number 10, they’re a great team and great friends.  When it works, it works.

Here is a list of some of the projects they’ve done together; Chicago’s Improv, Olympics, Second City, Saturday Night Live, Martin & Orloff, Mean Girls, Baby Mama, and Sisters.  Not to mention, they’ve hosted the Golden Globes together 3 times.  All to rave reviews.  May we continue to see them together in the future.

#8 Jack Lemmon and Walter Mattheu

Jack Lemmon and Walter MatthauI love these guys, and it’s not just because of Grumpy Old Men.  They each have prolific careers in their own right, but put them together and something extra special happens.  This original Odd Couple made some of the most memorable movies together.  They will be greatly missed.

Here are a few of the highlights of their work together; The Odd Couple, The Fortune Cookie, The Front Page, Buddy Buddy, Kotch, JFK, Grumpy Old Men, Out to Sea, Grumpier Old Men, and The Odd Couple II.

#7 Bob Hope and Bing Crosby

Bob Hope and Bing CrosbyThese guys were well established before making their “Road” movies together.  They filmed seven together beginning in 1940 and even had an 8th planned, but it was scrapped after Crosby died prematurely from a heart attack.

They performed many times together on the stage, television, and to the troops around the world.  Both of them were well known supporters of men and women in uniform.

Their films together were; Road to Singapore, Road to Zanzibar, Road to Morocco, Road to Utopia, Road to Rio, Road to Bali, and Road to Hong Kong.

#6 Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

Lewis_and_MartinThese two first teamed up in a night club routine, moved on to radio, and eventually into television and the movies.  They performed together for 10 years, to the day.  Much of their earlier material was improvised.   They made over 17 feature films together and were hailed as “the hottest act in the 50’s!”

They split rather abruptly and it was widely publicized.  Both went on to become very success on their own.  Years later they reconciled, but they never officially performed together again.

Some of their most popular films were; My Friend Irma, Money From Home, Scared Stiff, The Caddy, Living It Up, and Hollywood or Bust.

#5 Monty Python

monty-python-original-cast“Monty Python’s Flying Circus” first aired on October 5th, 1969 and the world would never be the same.  After a very successful series of 45 episodes, Monty Python continued on with records, stage shows, books, specials, films, and much more.  The team consisted of; Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam.

They have all gone on to successful solo careers and have performed periodically together for special occasions.  Their films include; And Now For Something Completely Different, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, and Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.

#4 Laurel and Hardy

laurel-and-hardyThis pair appeared in over 32 silent short films, 40 short sound films, 23 full length feature films, as well as television, radio, and stage productions together.  Both of them were well known actors before they teamed up, but skyrocketed in popularity afterwards.  They continued to work together for over 20 years.

Some of their most popular films are; Helpmates, Block-Heads, County Hospital, A Chump at Oxford, Way Out West, The Devil’s Brother, Babes in Toyland, Sons of the Desert, and The Music Box.

#3 The 3 Stooges

stooges-fixThe 3 Stooges made 220 films.  They appeared on television, cartoons, radio, books, and a lot of merchandise.  The most famous Stooges were Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard.  Other members were Shemp Howard, Joe Besser, and Curly Joe DeRita.  We used to watch them every afternoon mixed in with our cartoons, as it ran continuously for many years in syndication.  I doubt there is a person out there that doesn’t know who they are, even today.  Their brand recognition is amazing.

Their most popular films are; Hoi Polloi, Three Little Pigskins, How High is Up?, Brideless Groom, Punch Drunks, Disorder in the Court, Sing a Song of Six Pants, Who Done It?, and Malice in the Palace.

#2 Abbott and Costello

Abbott-and-Costello-620x366These two created the best sketch of all time, “Who’s on First?”.  It’s also what pushed them into the big leagues.  They began performing together in Burlesque shows and made their way from the stage to radio to television and the movies.  In a partnership that lasted for over 32 years, they made some of the most popular films during World War II.

Some of their most popular films were; Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, Abbott and Costello Meet the Foreign Legion, The Time of Their Lives, Buck Privates, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hold That Ghost, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

#1 The Marx Brothers

The Marx BrothersThese guys not only top most comedy lists I’ve seen, but they are my personal favorite for Best Comedy Teams Ever.  They’re the best.  Their movies are classic.  Five of their thirteen films, were selected by the American Film Institute as among the Top 100 Comedies of All Time.

This family of performers honed their skills in vaudeville and their first two films, The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, were originally stage plays.  The team consisted of Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo (for five films), and Gummo (Manager for the brothers).  And let’s not forget Margaret Dumont, who is considered by many to be the fifth Marx brother, as she appeared in most of their films as the “straight man” to Groucho’s zaniness.

Some of their best films are; Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, Duck Soup, A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Room Service, and At the Circus.