The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features


Stick a fork in Kevin Costner, he's done.

The once-ruggedly handsome leading everyman from Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, The Untouchables and No Way Out is officially over. The Kevin Costner experience has been on the down slope for quite a while, and dadgummit, the bottom has been hit, and he has fallen off the radar once and hopefully for all.

The film which proclaimed his death knell is Dragonfly, the latest in a series of mistakes that bear Kevin's once proud name over the title.

Kevin's journey into obscurity and unimportance began in earnest with The Postman, which was long, slow and dull. He then gave us the long, slow and dull Message in a Bottle, the long, slow and dull For the Love of the Game, the long and slow (but surprisingly not dull) Thirteen Days, the just plain horrid 3000 Miles to Graceland (which, for a Vegas Elvis heist picture, was surprisingly long, slow and dull) and has culminated in the long, slow and dull Dragonfly.

6 films, 6 flops. Buh-bye.

Dragonfly is the long, slow and dull tale of Joe Darrow. Joe's wife Emily dies more or less in the opening credits. But then she just doesn't bother to leave him alone. So is he getting messages from the dead? Or is he just fooling himself with wishful thinking? And what about the children?

For God's sake, what about the children?

Emily had a birthmark on her body in the shape of the dragonfly, and the insect was her "totem familiar" or some such nonsense. So now that Emily's dead, Joe sees dragonflies everywhere. And a bunch of mostly-dead kids start drawing pictures of a squiggly cross and telling Joe to go there. But where is the squiggly cross? What do they mean? Who cares?

The movie is a long, slow ride to nowhere. However, its ending saves it from being a total disaster. It has one of those endings that make you sit up and wish you'd just stepped into the theater to catch the last five minutes. Sadly, in order to appreciate the ending, you have to sit in your chair, your bottom slowly fusing with the cushions, for the entire movie. What a pain.

Kevin Costner no longer acts. He hasn't acted since JFK, if then. He doesn't emote, he doesn't activate, he doesn't exist. He stares. He stands in a room and stares, as if he's really, really sleepy. His voice has the vocal range of a musical triangle. You'd think someone would have explained this to him by now, and done their utmost to steer him away from any movie which forces him to do voice-over. If you thought Kevin was dull to watch, try just listening to him.

I think back to Dances With Wolves and wonder how we could have thought he was such a great actor. He was up for Best Actor for that film. How is that possible? Actually, it's pretty easy, his character spent much of the movie zoned out on life. A perfect fit for Kevin.

I used to like him a lot. Bull Durham and Field of Dreams are two truly great movies. I've got the DVDs. And I don't love these just because I love baseball. He was a different actor in those films, but he got old, he became a caricature of himself, and he decided that he was best used in films that were long, slow and dull. So sad.

There are other actors in the film. Joe Morton stampedes around the hospital like he's the big bad wolf. Linda Hunt is her usual wonderful self. Kathy Bates continues to pop up in the strangest flicks. None of them can make up for Kevin sucking the life out of the celluloid.

Dragonfly picks up a very forgiving 2 Babylons. Still, no need for you to see it, it's about as spooky as burnt toast.

Let us all bow our heads in a moment of silence in memory of Kevin's career.

Editor's Note:

I have no idea what "death knell" is, and the SMC was in the bathroom when I was editing this, so I couldn't ask him if that was a typo or not. I'm leaving it in. Probably some D&D reference.

Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Tom Shadyac
Starring: Kevin Costner, Joe Morton, Susanna Thompson, Linda Hunt, Ron Rifkin, Kathy Bates, Jay Thomas and a bunch of squiggly lines.

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