Field of Dreams. Dances With Wolves. Robin Hood. Man of Steel. The Postman. Hidden Figures. These are but a taste of Kevin Costner’s cultural prevalence over his four-decade career leading into Yellowstone.
It feels hard to believe with this bonified A-list status, but Costner has had more box office bombs than most actors have had films in their career. His self-produced, misguided Waterworld began the trend in 1995, with an array of failed dramas and action-adventures sizzling out in between occasional mega-hits.
Yet Costner, much like John Dutton, has proven unflappable. And thank the entertainment gods for that! The world is a better place the more Kevin Costner is in it.
Regardless, Costner’s underperformance at the box office was prevalent in the 21st century, as well. Which leads us to a mostly-forgotten film the actor fronted in 2014: Black or White.
At the time of it’s release, Black or White greatly underperformed for an A-lister’s drama. Box Office Mojo cites the film’s total earnings at a paltry $22 million. This does not, however, reflect the quality of this film. In fact, reviews were glowing at the time.
Film critic Richard Crouse said of the film at the time that “Black or White gives Kevin Costner several of his best on-screen moments in years. […] He’s a believable drunk with the look of a man who has weathered tragedy but hasn’t given up. A bent-but-not-broken spirit oozes off him and a stronger script might have placed his name on more than a few Best Actor lists.”
Kevin Costner’s Rough-Shine in ‘Black or White’
But it’s not just Outsider and critics singing the praises of one Mr. Costner: the family-centric film has now found a wildly-successful second life on streaming giant Netflix.
Written and directed by Mike Binder and based on a true story, Black or White is billed by Looper as a “cross between a family drama and a thought-provoking parable of race relations in America.” And in the weeks after it’s release to Netflix on March 2, 2021, Black or White quickly became one of the streamer’s Top 10 movies in the U.S. – which is no small deal to audiences or Netflix. It’s staying there, too, and Kevin Costner fans are loving it.
As entertainment trade Looper puts it: “Black or White follows a man named Elliot Anderson (Kevin Costner), who struggles with alcoholism in the wake of his wife and daughter dying. He becomes the caretaker of his daughter’s child, Eloise (Jillian Estell), but the girl’s grandmother, Rowena Jeffers (Octavia Spencer), questions Elliot’s ability to raise a child by himself.”
“Things get ugly,” however, “as both grandparents believe they’re the best person to look after the child, resulting in the two entering the courtroom to decide who should be Eloise’s legal guardian. Through it all, Elliot and Rowena both learn more about forgiveness and race.”
Joining this stellar cast is Gillian Jacobs, Andre Holland, Bill Burr, and Marvel’s Avengers franchise star Anthony Mackie (pictured above with Costner).