Field of Dreams (1989)
Director: Phil Robinson
It’s baseball week here in the Quick Daily Review section, and I’m starting us off with one of my all time favorite baseball movies, and a movie that has been quoted to death by just about anyone who has ever driven by a cornfield for the past twenty-five years now. Ray (Kevin Costner) is a simple family farmer with a nice little family, and a big mortgage on his house. He becomes the town laughing stock after listening to far away voices that tell him (he thinks) to build a baseball field in his cornfield. Turns out the voices were onto something as very soon he is visited by Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta)… He winds up going on a road trip quest to find out just what exactly the hell is going on. Said trip takes him to the home of a former 1960s radical author, played by James Earl Jones. Field of Dreams is one of those movies that felt like a classic before it actually became one. Costner was never more Jimmy Stewart-ish than he is here, and that’s saying something. From the haunting score to the dreamlike narrative, there’s a lot to admire here. It can be a little preachy at times, especially near the end when James Earl Jones gives the famous baseball speech, but damned if it isn’t just the kind of feel-good Americana that makes yours truly well up a bit. Speaking of welling up, any male who can stay dry eyed during the final touching scene of this movie is either heartless or has an eye duct problem of some kind. The two things this movie seems to revere most is Baseball, from the time prior to the modern era and also the crazy 1960s with all its political turmoil. These themes seem like strange bedfellows, but the tie-in here is the father and son theme. Teenage rebellion (especially in this era) greatly diminishes the list of father-son bonding activities at times, but thankfully, there are still universal things such as baseball that bring together even the most polar of opposites.