Preview by: Jack Foley
THERE are two themes which seem to have served Kevin Costner
well during his career - Westerns and baseball.
The western has helped to produce some of the finest moments
of Costner's career, such as Dances With Wolves (as both star
and director) and Open Range
While baseball has contributed to past hits such as Field of
Dreams, Bull Durham and, to a lesser degree, Sam Raimi's For Love
Of The Game.
His latest, The Upside of Anger, finds Costner once more playing
a once-great baseball star (turned disc-jockey) who steps in to
become a drinking buddy to a woman still coming to terms with
being suddenly abandoned by her husband.
It was among the successes at this year's Sundance Film Festival,
where Costner, himself, dropped in for a chat with the press,
and to ski.
Directed by Mike Binder, who previously helmed TV's The Mind
of a Married Man, the film marks a supporting role for Costner,
who plays largely second fiddle to Joan Allen.
Yet it could just mark a turning
point in the star's career, as he looks for less mainstream choices.
"When I think of the next five years, I think of individual
choices. ... I'm looking to stay independent," he has been
quoted as saying.
He also insists that the challenge will be to continue to search
for different roles, rather than sticking to formula, pointing
out that he had repeatedly turned down offers for projects such
as The Bodyguard 2.
His character in Upside of Anger might have his roots in baseball
but, according to Costner, would rather talk cooking than sports,
and is happy to drink, smoke pot and court women his own age.
As such, it was among the hits of this year's Sundance festival,
where its website observed: "Galvanized by a great and witty
script, and powered by truly remarkable performances by Joan Allen
and Kevin Costner, The Upside of Anger is a welcome and inspired
revision of the classic genre.
"Writer/director Mike Binder deserves all the kudos he will
likely receive for this superbly rendered comedic drama, which
is at once traditional and iconoclastic and as absorbing and entertaining
as it is appealingly human."