Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, "If you build it, he will come." He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
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My father's name was John Kinsella. It's an Irish name. He was born in North Dakota in 1896, and never saw a big city until he came back from France in 1918. He settled in Chicago, where he quickly learned to live and die with the White Sox. Died a little when they lost the 1919 World Series. Died a lot the following summer when eight members of the team were accused of throwing that series. He played in the minors for a year too, but nothing ever came of it. Moved to ...
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Wonderful, joyous piece of America where dreams are possible!
I truly believe that every once in a blue moon, a film can contain a sense of wonder, magic, and the power of dreams. The title says it all. "Field of Dreams" is destined to become (if it hasn't already) an American classic, and easily one of the most engrossing films of the eighties. Throughout the decade, we have seen a crock of films that capitalized on getting as much of anything the characters could grasp (hence the "me decade"). This film, made in 1989, reaffirmed what we learned from Hollywood in the forties, that dreams can come true and people can be saved by what they choose to believe in. And to top it all off, baseball is its subject. The great American pastime takes on a mystical quality that is nothing but immortal.
Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a corn farmer that seems to be stranded in his life, only choosing his profession because it allowed him to get away from the idealized dreams of his father that never became reality. One day, while roaming aimlessly through his cornfield, he hears a unknown voice speak to him, saying the words that have become synonomous with the film itself, "If you build it, he will come." He is compelled by the strange message, and even convinces his wife what he heard was real and definite. He believes that the simple words mean he is to build a baseball diamond in his field, and he sets out to do just that, and he indeed does one heck of a job. After at least half a year passes, following endless strains on their patience, who should show up in the field but Shoeless Joe Jackson, the famous alleged criminal from the 1919 Black Sox Scandal who was dismissed from the game of baseball forever, until now...
After all that is said and done, the film takes a back road and curves it into this storyline brilliantly. Ray receives a second message which he deciphers as getting a famous civil rights writer, Terence Mann (played wonderfully by James Earl Jones), to come visit his new ballfield. Of course it is to be expected that Mann begrudgingly resists Ray to join him, but he too becomes propelled by the power of the field's magic, and his life (like Ray's) is changed forever. Even Burt Lancaster shows up out of thin air (literally), but that's a different part of the plot altogether that I wouldn't dare reveal in fear someone reading this review has incompetently not seen this picture.
"Field of Dreams" is one of the strangest films I've seen, and possibly one of the best. When it throws its subject matter at you, you wonder how a story so preposterous can ever work. But somehow, I was deeply moved like Costner and Jones were by the miraculous incidents put in front of me. This film is not like any fantasy film I've seen, but in a way, it is like many that I've encountered. Some of my favorite movies elicited such an amazing feeling of warmth and grace in me that I was afraid to analyse it for fear that it would ruin the awesome impact I received. "Field of Dreams" is exactly like that, an odd piece of moviemaking that overwhelms you with its wonder and positive qualities that in turn leaves no doubt it is a classic, just from the way it moves you while watching it. Therefore, I'm not going to try to pick it apart and attempt to show the world my "field" of brilliance. All I will say is this is the kind of movie Hollywood should be reeling out more often, a tiny masterpiece that lets others be refreshed in their faith and believe in their crazy little fantasies. Ray Kinsella did, and now, so do I. Rating: Four stars.
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