Kevin Costner is one of those actors that people tend to forget about these days. I have no idea why when the subject of “who is the best actor” Costner is always looked over. Okay, maybe “best” actor is stretching things a little, but some of the roles that he has taken on has brought depth and emotion to characters that could have been easily forgettable. I think that it is time that Kevin Costner got the respect he deserves, okay, alright, I know that people are not shutting him down and saying he is NOT a great actor, I just find it strange that he is not at least in the top 10 lists I see floating around. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Let’s celebrate the great accomplishments that Kevin Costner has made both in the past and still working on today. Here are my top five favorite roles that Kevin Costner brought to life.
Lieutenant Dunbar: Dances with Wolves- 1990
Let’s kick off the list with the first Kevin Costner film I remember watching, Dances with Wolves. This film was based on the book written by Michael Blake. Costner not only stared in this film, he was also the director and I can say that still to this day, I watch this movie at least five times a year. I love the way that it transports you back to the west without making it seem like the natives were a ruthless bunch of heathens, in fact, this film does a fantastic job of giving depth and emotion to characters that most films at the time ignored or made one dimensional. The way that Costner’s character was dropped off in a “foreign” land not knowing what to do or what was coming, it made the viewer feel the same way and was a joy to take the path of adventurer with him. This is still one of my favorite movies of all time, and rightfully so since it won a ton of awards including Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director as well as a Golden Globe for best director.
The Postman: The Postman -1997
I have always been a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories, Mad Max was one of my dad’s favorite movies so we would watch anything that was even close to it growing up, and The Postman quickly became another favorite. Admittedly, it has been a while since I watched this movie, but I remember parts of it vividly, like the Shakespeare play he puts on and the lions that seem to be in waiting at all times. There are some strange plot points about this movie for sure, like the fact that there still seems to be an abundance of guns and electricity, but no gas or food. Even with the plot holes, I look back on this film fondly and have even read the book it was based on written by David Brin. Costner also stared in this film alongside Will Patton and Larenz Tate with smaller roles by Giovanni Ribisi, Scott Bairstow and even Tom Petty. Sure, this may be a strange movie to go back to, but I have great memories of watching this film.
“Devil” Anse Hatfield: Hatfield’s & McCoy’s-2012
The Hatfield’s & McCoy’s feud that spanned over multiple generations is a story that was begging to have be made into a dramatization. Fun fact, when doing our family ancestry, we found out that years after the feud, a Hatfield married a McCoy and that is where my family comes from. Okay, back to Costner. The role he takes on as Devil Anse Hatfield is perfect casting seeing how Devil Anse is the type of man to brood and keep his own style of morals and values all the while feeling as though he is doing the right thing no matter who gets hurt. One is reminded of Costner’s roles in Wyatt Earp or Open Range while watching this mini-series. The way the drama is stretched out over each episode plays a large part why Costner won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Miniseries as well as a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries.
I am sure nobody could have guessed that I was going to put this role on the list but go back and watch the life that Costner brings to Jake. His character is not really one of the “main” characters in this story and he is not in the entire film, but the fun “kid-like” persona that he brings is a comedic relief in the over all story. After the first time I watched the film, he was the one I was drawn to the most. Over the years Costner has played MANY western themed characters, but to my knowledge this is the only one with the kind of “fun” one thinks of when thinking of Billy the Kid and the likes.
John Dutton: Yellowstone-2018
All of these years later and still when Kevin Costner puts on that cowboy hat, he makes you believe he is the real deal. Yellowstone is a show that honestly took me by surprise. I have watched many dramatic television shows over the years, and I was not sure this one would hold my attention. But the twists and turns in the series makes for an extremely fun ride and the development of John Dutton in the show is one of my favorite parts. You start out really hating his character as a father but over time learn why he is the way he is, and it is pretty eye opening. This has become one of my favorite shows, and I can’t wait for the next season to start.
A few honorable mentions:
Robert “Butch” Haynes: A Perfect World
In this Clint Eastwood directed film (who is also a co-star in the film), Costner plays an escaped convict who kidnaps a child who has been sheltered by his religious mother, and as the film progresses the kidnapper and child become close friends. Costner slowly becomes the father figure that this kid desperately desires. This film is on the Honorable mentions list due to the depth that Costner brings to his character as a hard neck who has a softened heart. This is a role that not many people think of due to Costner’s long list of great films, but it has always stuck with me as a great story with a sad ending. When I first watched this movie, I was drawn in by the “outlaw with a heart of gold” role that develops as the film unfolds and I am always surprised when friends have not watched this movie.
I would also like to add that although Waterworld was a flop, I loved this movie! Costner’s role was pretty one dimensional throughout the enter movie, but it is still a fun film.
Other great roles he played:
- Frank Hamer, Highwaymen
- Charley Waite, Open Range
- Roy McAvoy, Tin Cup
- Stephen Simmons, The War
- Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp
- Frank Farmer, The Bodyguard
- Jim Garrison, JFK
- Robin of Locksley, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- Ray Kinsella, Field of Dreams
- Crash Davis, Bull Durham
- Eliot Ness, The Untouchables
The worst character he ever played in my opinion, Johnathan Kent in the Man of Steel movie. I don’t blame him; however, I do blame the story itself.
Written exclusively for TheLastPicture.Show by Jacob Ruble
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