Kevin Costner was so embarrassed about Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. that he once tried to buy the rights to stop its circulation.
Pop quiz: what do you associate Kevin Costner with? Modern fans have been digging him in Yellowstone (here’s hoping we’ll ever see the rest of season 5), and long-term fans remember him for things like Dancing With Wolves or even Waterworld (don’t laugh, that movie has fans…there are dozens of us!). However, there is one film so bad Kevin Costner tried to remove it from existence: he once made a failed attempt to buy the rights to his debut film Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. because he didn’t want anyone else to see it.
This particular bit of trivia may puzzle big fans of Kevin Costner, especially because of the persistent rumor that his first film appearance was in The Big Chill. That was arguably the first big film he starred in (albeit only playing a corpse thanks to the omission of flashback scenes he filmed), but he starred in commercials and smaller films before that. This included Ron Howard’s Night Shift and Sizzle Beach, U.S.A., but the latter film only came out after Costner was a major movie star.
How did that happen, exactly? Sizzle Beach, U.S.A., was filmed back in 1981, making it the film debut of the otherwise unknown Kevin Costner. As an up-and-coming actor, Costner couldn’t afford to be too picky about the roles that he got, so he agreed to star in this film despite its very bad script.
The movie also called for Costner to film a sex scene that he was later embarrassed about, especially because the film didn’t get released until 1986, one year before Costner became a major Hollywood actor thanks to the success of the films The Untouchables and No Way Out.
All of this led to a kind of perfect storm for Kevin Costner: right when he is starting to become a household name, audiences are suddenly able to check out his embarrassing first movie, complete with an awkward sex scene. Once he had enough spare cash from the success of his films, Costner tried to buy the rights to Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. so that he could bury the film entirely. But the rights were owned by Troma Entertainment, the company that brought us The Toxic Avenger and gave an early start to DCU guru James Gunn, and they simply refused to sell.
In case all of this is making you want to track down Kevin Costner’s first movie to see how bad it is, we’d honestly recommend against watching it. The movie was critically panned by the handful of professionals who saw it, and TV Guide once accurately described the film as “Inept from the opening titles to the closing credits.” In fact, this movie is so bad that while it was fleetingly referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000, it was never directly parodied, likely because it’s simply too awful to make jokes about.
Then again, if you’re frantically refreshing websites every day for news of Yellowstone coming back, watching this film might be your only way to watch Kevin Costner anytime soon. And since Costner plays a stable owner in this movie who teaches people how to ride, you might be able to tell your friends this is a prequel movie focusing on John Dutton’s early years. Otherwise, though, the only thing to look forward to when you start watching Sizzle Beach, U.S.A. is watching the credits finally begin to roll.