Field of Dreams

Terence: "It's unbelievable."
Ray: "It's more than that. It's perfect."

Field of Dreams has a deceptively simple and somewhat idiotic plot. When he was young, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) rejected his father's baseball dreams, but didn't replace them with dreams of his own. One day in his cornfield in Iowa, Ray hears a voice saying, "If you build it, he will come."

Ray plows over some of his corn and builds a baseball diamond, enduring the ridicule of his neighbors as well as the very real possibility of losing his farm. After the ghosts of the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox come to play in the field (giving a whole new meaning to the term "dream team"), Ray goes on a bizarre road trip to Boston to find and help a writer who was famous in the sixties, which leads him to a ghost in a small town in Minnesota. In the process of doing these illogical things, Ray finally makes peace with himself and inadvertently attains his fondest wish.

I have trouble connecting with fantasy that doesn't have vampires in it. I'm more of a sci-fi fan. But Field of Dreams is a fantasy nearly everyone can relate to, because it's grounded in reality. It's about seeing our parents as people, about accepting their dreams as well as realizing our own. It's about the importance of following an irresistible impulse, doing what's right, and taking a leap of faith, even when it can cost you everything. The resolution never fails to move me, even though I've seen it a dozen times.

Ray Liotta is perfect as the ghost of Shoeless Joe; he has this supernatural, all knowing but I'm-really-just-a-guy feel to him. James Earl Jones is memorable as the bitter, disillusioned J.D. Salinger-like writer who rediscovers his purpose in life. Amy Madigan is great fun as Ray's outspoken, supportive wife; I always enjoy her big scene at the PTA meeting. And Burt Lancaster is touching as Doc Graham; I always loved the little story about the blue hats. Kevin Costner does a great job as Ray, too. This is one of his three best movies, in my opinion. (The other two? The Untouchables and Bull Durham.)

Field of Dreams makes you feel like you did when you were a child, the world was full of wonder, and anything was possible. (In other words, like the people in that line of cars.) It's such a memorable little movie that it's become a part of American culture. It brings the biggest mystery of life literally into our back yard while giving us a story that is joyful, poignant and beautiful. (You could say that I like this one, huh?)

Quotes:

Annie: "If you build what, who will come?"
Ray: "He didn't say."
Annie: "I hate it when that happens."

Annie: "What if the Voice calls while you're gone?"
Ray: "Take a message."

Ray: (smiling) "I have just created something totally illogical."

Shoeless Joe: "Is this heaven?"
Ray: "No. It's Iowa."

Mark: "You don't know the first thing about farming."
Ray: "Yes, I do. I know a lot about farming. I know more than you think I know."
Mark: "Then how could you plow under your major crop?"
Ray: "What's a crop?"

Ray: "The Voice is back."
Annie: "Oh, lord. You don't have to build a football field now, do you?"

Annie: "If you experienced even a little bit of the sixties, you would feel the same way, too."
Woman: (indignantly) "I experienced the sixties!"
Annie: "No, I think you had two fifties and moved right into the seventies."

Annie: "Omigod. As a small boy, he had a bat named Rosebud."

Doc Graham: "This is my most special place in all the world, Ray. Once a place touches you like this, the wind never blows so cold again."

Four out of four bats named Rosebud,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

16 comments:

Mark Greig said...

"Hey... Dad? You wanna have a catch?"

I'm a Brit and I don't get baseball at all but that makes me cry every single time. Great review, Billie.

Jess Lynde said...

This is definitely one of those movies that it is OK for men to cry at. Cougartown did an episode this year where Jules was trying to get her boyfriend Grayson to cry, and the only thing that worked was Field of Dreams. It's that line that Mark quoted that does it.

Thanks for the fond memories, Billie. I adore this movie. It never fails to move me. I get most choked up by Archie crossing the line to turn back into Doc Graham and save little Karen, thus giving up on his baseball dreams but accepting that, in life, he got to become what he was truly meant to be. I'm getting teary just thinking about it!

Favorite quote: "Peace, love, dope! Now get the hell out of here!" (or something close to that)

As far as Kevin Costner flicks, I also have a special place in my heart for Dances with Wolves. I know people treat it largely like a joke these days, but I still think it's a wonderful movie. Mary McDonnell and Graham Greene were great in it, too. No Way Out is another pretty awesome Costner flick, but I think Field of Dreams and The Untouchables are my favorites of his.

Greg said...

I'll be honest: I loathe this film. The story is boring, the performances are average at best, and its just... terrible. I know there are plenty of people like yourself who love it, but I'm not one of them.

Small aside: according to a friend of mine (who also dislikes the movie), that line about "having a catch" was completely inaccurate. Apparently you don't say that in the Midwest: you say "do you want to go play catch?". Doesn't really matter to me, but if true it's yet another strike (no pun intended) against this film.

A far better baseball film is "Bang the Drum Slowly". I've also heard great things about "Bull Durham", though I haven't had the chance to watch it yet.

Anyway... just my opinion.

Greg said...

Typo: "its" should be "it's". Always want to point those out, in case there are any people like me out there who will discount a person's opinion if there are spelling errors in his/her comment or review. Maybe I need to be a little less harsh on that, since we all make mistakes.

Greg said...

Very well-written review, by the way. Forgot to mention that. This site really deserves to be read by more people: you guys do great work.

Austin said...

Ahh, Billie, if only you were a guy, then this movie would really hit home. "Hey, day, wanna have a catch?" For any American born guy, that right there is enough to make your eyes burn. When you have nothing in common with your father, when it's hard to communicate, you always have sports to bond over.

Greg said...

I actually don't hate the movie. I often tend to exaggerate my dislike for a particular film/TV show. There are very few films that I outright hate. I'd probably give the movie a C or C- if I were reviewing it (I use letter grades on my blog), which is around two-stars on a standard four-star scale. It's not an F by any means: a movie or show has to be truly horrible to earn a grade such as that. "Field of Dreams" isn't.

And I can definitely understand why so many people love it. If you buy into the story, it's kind of magical. I just couldn't make that initial leap.

Anyway, sorry if I was a little too vehement in my disagreement. "Loathe" was a bit too strong of a word to use in describing my opinions about this film.

Jess Lynde said...

I didn't interpret Austin's comments as meaning he thought your review was invalid, Billie. I think he just meant that you would appreciate/understand the film in a different way, if you were a guy. Especially one who intimately understood the power of sports in father-son relationships.

Not that, as a woman, I really understand this, but it definitely seems to be Ray getting the chance to reconnect with his dad through the field that strikes home for guys and moves them to tears. Your review, on the other hand, focused on the magical qualities of the movie: the wonder, the leap of faith, the cost of following your dreams. You didn't even highlight the catch quote that is the money quote for so many men who enjoy the film!

So, again, I think Austin just meant you would understand the power of the film differently if you were a guy. And that your review would have connected with him differently.

Billie Doux said...

I removed my earlier comments. They were sounding pissy and that wasn't my intention.

Jess Lynde said...

OK. I removed my one comment because it now seemed to be coming out of nowhere. Moreso than my second comment anyway. :)

But, because I'm genuinely curious, I'll re-post the question: Should we assume that all movie reviews and comment areas are spoiler-free zones unless otherwise noted?

Josie Kafka said...

Hi, everyone.

Yes, our policy is that movie reviews do not contain big spoilers. However, read the comments at your own risk.

Billie Doux said...

Jess, I removed Terence's speech since you specifically referred to it as spoilery. And I apologize to everyone again, specifically if I made anyone feel bad about posting spoilers in comments.

Austin said...

Hi Billie, it's Austin again. I didn't see your reply to my comment but I understand that you may have misinterpreted it. Jess Lynde is absolutely right. I was merely commenting how powerful this movie is for men, as it is often quoted as the one movie that can make men cry.

So, once again, I must apologize. I loved your review, by the way. I should probably have stated that originally. I just wanted to touch on that topic for the other readers who would appreciate that aspect. It's the most important part of the movie for me and it's why I always watch it when it comes on TV!

Billie Doux said...

No worries, Austin. Thanks for your comments.

Harry Earle said...

Well I'm a man (not a very manly man, but still) and I cried buckets! Especially with Ray - John chucking the ball around. Even though I'm not really into team sports let alone baseball, I really felt the magic in that and so many other moments. Thanks for your review Billie, you convinced me to watch it and it really didn't disappoint. I know this is going to be one of those films that I'll come back to many times over the years. And if I have kids, I'll sure as hell watch this with them!

Billie Doux said...

I'm glad you liked it, Harry. That's why we do this reviewing thing -- to share the love. :)