For Love of the Game
Though certainly not in the same class as Kevin Costner's other baseball movies, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game is, if nothing else, a brave attempt to portray the sport with some degree of realism. Universal's DVD edition, though far from perfect, does the film many favors, offering good audio-visual quality and plenty of special features. Although not as visually arresting as the Evil Dead films that made director Sam Raimi's name, For Love of the Game still illustrates his expertise with detail and movement, and the anamorphic widescreen picture looks particularly good during the game sequences. The sound is even better, with DTS and Dolby 5.1 tracks available, each offering lush audio quality. The extra features are led by the familiar "Spotlight on Location" behind-the-scenes featurette, which is 20 minutes or so of everyone involved in the film saying how great it is. Far better are the deleted scenes, which also run to over 20 minutes, and contain some very interesting moments (not least a "groupie" strand omitted from the final version). Given that Costner had a very public dispute with Universal over the final cut of the film, it is a shame that more background information about the final edit is not provided (and a shame for Costner fanatics that the fabled nude shot is nowhere to be seen!). A commentary by Raimi might have been interesting for the same reason, as well as to provide a better understanding of why he chose to direct such a commercial film. The remaining special features include the original theatrical trailer, some good production notes, DVD-ROM features, and cast and filmmaker biographies. Two more novel features are "The Perfect Game" and "On The Mound." The former is a bit of baseball background with some statistics, the latter a trivia game that lasts about 30 seconds. For Love of the Game is not an obvious film upon which to lavish such care and attention, but Universal should be given credit for delivering what is undoubtedly an excellent DVD.