Today marks the release of Criminal, a film starring Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Tommy Lee Jones and Ryan Reynolds (who is curiously not listed on the movie poster). Initial reviews say it is awful. Laughably awful. Cringe-worthy awful. 

"It's like the movie was written in crayon, in the margins of a comic book."  — Stephen Whitty, New York Daily News

In the Indy newsroom, these types of devastating reviews mean it's open season on Kevin Costner. Or, more specifically, making fun of me for my earnest and unwavering appreciation of the man and his work over the last three decades. Every time there's a Criminal or Black & White or 3 Days to Kill, I end up having to remind my colleagues of undervalued recent successes like McFarland USA or The Company Men. When Waterworld or The Postman inevitably get brought up (we all sort of agree to avoid Dances with Wolves for our own reasons — as well as his music career), I remind them that he appeared in Night Shift and directed and starred in Open Range. When one reporter wonders if Costner is "just the guy from the baseball movies," it's my responsibility to say, sure, but he's also the dude from No Way Out, Thirteen Days (Boston accent notwithstanding), A Perfect World, JFK and ...

I could go on. Instead, in response to the constant heckling in my place of work and in celebration of one of our generation's best actors, here's a definitive ranking of Costner's 15 best films:

Essential Costner

1. Field of Dreams, 1989

2. The Untouchables, 1987

3. Bull Durham, 1988 

4. No Way Out, 1987 

5. Night Shift, 1982 

Underrated Costner

6. A Perfect World, 1993

7. JFK, 1991

8. Thirteen Days, 2000

9. Open Range, 2003

10. McFarland USA, 2015

11. The Company Men, 2010

12. Tin Cup, 1996

13. Silverado, 1985

14. The Upside of Anger, 2005

15. American Flyers, 1985

Load comments