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Hatfields & McCoys

Hatfields & McCoys is a 2012 History Channel three-episode miniseries about the legendary feud between the two families. It has a pretty solid cast, starring Kevin Costner as “Devil Anse” Hatfield and Bill Paxton as Randall McCoy, and featuring Tom Berenger, Powers Boothe, Jena Malone, and many other recognizable faces. It was directed by Kevin Reynolds, who is perhaps best known for directing the Kevin Costner classics Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Waterworld.

The Hatfield-McCoy feud was a nasty and ongoing rivalry between two families that raged for years. It started over the murder of a McCoy, it escalated with accusations of pig stealing, and it resulted in a number of fights, battles, legal trials, and deaths over the course of a few years. These were the days of pride and honor, and you were expected to fight if someone insulted your good name. This miniseries goes over most of the events that escalated the feud. You see why they started fighting and why they never stopped. It’s a story that can’t be confined to a two-hour running time.

It’s pretty solid for the most part. It has a tendency to slow down and lose momentum from time to time, but there is enough action and snappy dialog to keep things flowing. I think they spent a bit too much time on the love triangle between Johnse Hatfield, Roseanna McCoy, and Nancy McCoy. It seemed like they threw it in there to pad out the running time. Surprisingly, Kevin Costner doesn’t have the worst accent in the production. Bill Paxton’s Southern drawl is terrible, but it becomes a lot more bearable if you put it on mute.

I didn’t watch it when it first came aired on the History Channel. I only saw it for the first time a week ago on Netflix. It was good. I liked it enough to write about it. Check it out if you like Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, docudramas, or lengthy feuds between families that aren’t yours.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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For Love of the Game

Kevin Costner did a lot of baseball movies. Over fifty-seven by some estimates. In this one he plays an aging pitcher throwing the last game of his career. Sam Rami directs it, and it is really down to earth, especially considering some of the crazy stuff he’s done in the past. The film flashes back and forth between fictional Detroit Tigers pitcher Billy Chapel facing the New York Yankees and key moments in Chapel’s relationship with his on again/off again girlfriend, Jane.

John C. Reilly plays Gus, Billy’s reliable catcher and friend. J.K. Simmons plays the Tigers manager. Brian Cox plays the owner. Jena Malone plays Heather, Jane’s daughter. And the always sexy Kelly Preston plays Jane Aubrey, the sexy love interest.

The baseball playing is really just a trick to lure guys into watching this film. It’s really a chick flick. It’s bearable because of the baseball to an extent, but this is a love story. There is way more about love and relationships than there is cool stuff about baseball. And there’s no nude scenes, so the love story part isn’t that cool.

Vin Scully plays himself. For some reason he is announcing a game between the Yankees and the Tigers. It doesn’t matter that he’s the announcer for the LA Dodgers. Whatever. It’s dumb to get permission to use real teams from the MLB and then have the wrong announcer from the wrong side of the country calling a game for the wrong league.

I’ve seen a lot of Kevin Costner baseball movies. This one probably isn’t even in his top twenty. If you see it while channel surfing, it’s ok to watch it. Just don’t go out of your way to see this movie. You aren’t missing much.

There are worse chick flicks than this. But just remember that it is a chick flick pretending to be a baseball movie. That’s manipulative Hollywood marketing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Oh by the way, he pitches a perfect game and gets the girl. Life is great sometimes.

Critically Rated at 11/17

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