Why did the entire world seemingly take a huge dump on Kevin Costner's post-apocalyptic epic The Postman ?
I can understand the muck thrown at Waterworld, that movie was terrible, but why was there so much hatred for The Postman? The plot wasn't that bad, and even though Costner's performance wasn't extremely dynamic, Will Patton's performance as General Bethlehem was the peformance of his career, in my opinion. It had an interesting plot, in my opinion. The fact that people, uneducated and isolated would come to embrace something (such as Postal Service) as a way to reach out to other survivors isn't that far fetched, tbh. We see the same universal reaching out for communication in other post-apocalyptic movies too.
Maybe I'm just not seeing it, but tell me why it's such a universally reviled movie. Is it too long for people? The plot too outlandish and far out? Weak, annoying supporting cast?
Last edited by Pig Newtons on Nov 9th, 2010 at 09:45 PM
I don't hate the film and I've seen it several times over the years due to cable, but it's not a great film.
Costner isn't all that flexible in his acting; it works in some movies but not in others, ie 3000 Miles to Graceland (shit film) and A Perfect World (great film).
His acting didn't work to well in Postman. Add to it that the plot was a bit generic, evil bully/villain and the hero that finally stands up to him. I did like the overall premise though, US Postal service used to reunite a scattered nation.
I think the plot was actually fairly unique. Sure you had a protagonist v antagonist main idea, but it was fleshed out pretty well.
Here's another question: If they hadn't made The Postman until 2003 or say... 2007, would it have faired better in today's theaters? We've had our share of post apocalyptic movies in the last decade and admittedly, most have been complete shit. I think it would have done better.
He's not very flexible; doing accents isn't his thing. He tried doing some Boston (at least that's the closets thing it sounded as) in some movie about the Bay of Pigs, he sounded like some silly *******.
Well...He was making it up as he was going along. Besides, in the post apocalyptic future we have to believe people had little education. Teachers and school systems would have died off, and the remaining survivors in their colonies may have only been taught to read and write, at a 3rd grader level. Sorta like the Old West, where people went to school until they were 13, then quit to work the farm.
His accent didn't ruin the movie at all, I wasn't taken out of the movie for a second. I've heard trivia that he did try to do an English accent and it was so bad they told him to just play it his way. To me he does a posh American voice which passes quite well for me.
Yes he sounds American at times but so did Christian Slater; the movie was still fun and we haven't yet even had an English actor doing a modern take on the character so we can't really say if its as worse as how an Englishman would do the role.
Exactly, Russell Crowe tried to do an accent (I haven't seen Crowe's, I like Costner's) and in some quarters it was panned. He was even asked on a radio interview if he intended to sound Irish, obviously Crowe was very annoyed!
As for The Postman, I don't remember much of it but here I go. I think it wasn't as favourably received for two possible reasons.
Firstly Waterworld, although some may like it wasn't considered a good movie and maybe because Costner returned to the post-apocalyptic theme people couldn't wait to associate the two. Secondly, most post-apocalyptic movies are in nature depressing-with the fall of society and everything- and perhaps it was felt that Costners character single-handlely solved things by simply organising something mundane as reforming the postal service. I'm not saying communication isn't important but it seemed to lack something beyond just what he was doing in the film.
The novel was written in the early 1980's. By the early 90's, the postal service had become a running gag for violence in pop culture due to a rash of mental breakdowns by employees; hence the term 'going postal' for going berserk. No one was going to look seriously at a postman as a hero to rally around a broken civilization; even today it would be a challenge.
But maybe another director wouldn't have tried to milk it for gooey sentimentality. I think of one scene in particular that's over the top unnecessarily -
- When the service is getting going, and a young boy comes out of his house with a letter because he hears the running hoof-beats of the postman(Costner) on his horse. Costner goes by so quickly he doesn't stop for the letter, and the boy is saddened.
But then Costner pulls up down the lane, and looks back. The boy is still there, looking hopeful with his letter. They regard each other for long moments. The music swells; Costner runs his horse in increasing speed an he charges back towards the boy. The boy grins widely as he holds up his letter, and Costner snatches it from his hand as he rides past. The music is triumphant!
So over the top, it made me want to hurl.
Kevin Costner has been in movie jail ever since. None of the films he's done since have been event ones, unlike his previous decade.
"I'm not smart so much as I am not dumb." - Harlan Ellison
For me I like in no particular order Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Untouchables and 3000 Miles To Graceland (sorry Rob). I've also seen Dances With Wolves but I was forced to watch it at school and movies at school are never fun!
He was on a roll for some years, after breaking out with The Untouchables in 1987. I overlooked his accent problems in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (I read how he went into the role with so little time for prep after Dances With Wolves) because it was a fun movie. JFK might still be his best film. But if Wyatt Earp & Waterworld were strikes one & two against his career, The Postman was strike three.
"I'm not smart so much as I am not dumb." - Harlan Ellison
I completely agree that this movie is far better than it was reviewed. I like the story and the characters and the message.
I think Costner does a great job playing a reluctant hero who grows throughout the film. There are a number of other great characters in it as well. Bethlehem is a solid and interesting villain, played in a way that he clearly doesn't see himself as one. Angie is loving, strong, brave, and resourceful. She saves the Postman's life twice. I thought the movie built up their relationship well, so that when they are together at the end, it felt believable and not rushed. Ford Lincoln Mercury was a great character and did more to put the "country" back together even than the Postman. Again, I thought his character conveyed this well. He had been waiting his whole life for something to believe in, something bigger than him. When he found it, it wasn't surprising that he would risk his life for what he saw as a higher purpose.
Many of the secondary characters were memorable too. There was Giovanni Ribisi's character and his "Why did you have to go and ruin it for me?". Also, the town Sheriff who kicked the Postman out but raced after him to hand him a letter for his sister because, jaded as he was, he too wanted to have hope. Even the sadistic captain was memorable. They all seemed genuine to me and helped to flush out the story with engaging characters.
As a whole, the movie is a little like the Field of Dreams. It takes its time. It's sentimental. It's ultimately uplifting. But, for me, it works and is good enough that when I catch it playing on a channel, I usually have to stay to the end.