We Need To Talk About Kevin: the 5 Most Unfairly Dismissed Costner Gems

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In the 1980s and in the opening half of the 90s, Kevin Costner was going strong. Then things took a turn. Starting famously with the supposed debacle that was Waterworld in 1995, the man who’d won hearts and box office gold as Eliot Ness and Robin Hood took a career detour down a road fraught with one critical/commercial misfire after another. This one-time A-list leading man would eventually end up with more bombs tied to his name than Ted Kaczynski, but is this deserved or fair? It seems almost that after Waterworld the public began to cease trusting him as a brand, but a case can be made for not only that film itself, but several others in Kevin Costner’s repertoire as purely being victims of bad hype. Let’s examine the most underrated Kevin Costner bombs.

5 3000 Miles To Graceland (2001)

Another rare Costner stab at base criminality as opposed to bland yet rugged do-gooderness, Costner plays the cutthroat leader of a group of Elvis impersonating heist men in this thoroughly trashy action-noir that co-stars Kurt Russell. It’s worth it to see Kevin spectacularly blasted to pieces by law enforcement at the climax.

4 Mr. Brooks (2007)

Any project that marks the collaboration between Dane Cook and Kevin Costner is bound to receive some pre-ordained hatred. This schlocky film of forced twists is nonetheless engaging and interesting, with Costner as a meticulous serial killer who is blackmailed by Cook into training him as a protégé, while he is goaded by imaginary friend William Hurt and dogged by detective and fellow 90s bomb-tosser Demi Moore. Mr. Brooks is a painless and amusing bit of sardonic crime fluff that’s worth at least one look to be fully believed.

3 The Postman (1997)

It’s almost as if Costner said to himself, “Well maybe this will work on dry land.” Another gritty post-apocalyptic story with Costner as a lone wanderer opposing a crazed warlord, The Postman has an honest to god all-American sincerity befitting a film about scant survivors dreaming about the restoration of the Union. And Will Patton scores as the previously mentioned warlord. There’s a reason this film scores high on movie site user reviews today.

2 Wyatt Earp (1994)

This epic, detailed account of the legendary frontier lawman’s life was criticized for its pace and length, but its indulgence proves the perfect antidote to the overtly Hollywood, action-oriented heavy fictionalizing of 1993’s Tombstone. Add to that an amazing cast headed up by Costner as the hero of the O.K. Corral that also includes Dennis Quaid’s Doc Holiday (up there with Victor Mature and Val Kilmer) and you’ve got a good way to waste Sunday afternoon.

1 Waterworld (1995)

Damn it, they pulled it off. Mad Max on water, and Costner with gills to boot. This 90s actioner is entertaining and marginally impressive in spite of its reputation, and it has a one-eyed Dennis Hopper leading a crew of bloodthirsty oil-rigging pirates, so one would have to be completely hard-hearted/film-ignorant to not value it. Two words, Instant Netflix.

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