This weekend’s Sunday movie, BMAF headed to the 1989 Field Of Dreams, A much-loved fantasy drama starring Kevin Costner.
The film is written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson (Sneakers, The Sum of All Fears) is based on W.P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe.
This fantasy drama is not only well-loved by movie fans but also was nominated for 3 Oscars, Best Screenplay; Best Picture and Best Score for James Horner.
It is a film about hope, love and believing in dreams yet has the feel of a story is more suited for an episode of the Twilight Zone.
The film opens with a narration from Ray Kinsella (Costner) who tells of his life so far. From this we learn he is a lifelong fan of baseball, had a troubled relationship with his father, with an argument seeing him attend college as far away as possible and only ever returning for his funeral.
Now married to Annie (Amy Madigan) Ray has moved to Iowa with their daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffman) having brought a farm.
One day, whilst out in his corn fields, Ray hears a voice, which repeats ‘If you build it, he will come’ and a vision of a baseball field.
Ray believes if he builds a field, he will see ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, a player his father idolised, but who he never got to see play after he was implicated in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. As this is a film, Annie doesn’t seek him psychiatric help, but instead agrees he should build the baseball pitch, even though this will remove most of their crops and head them to financial ruin!
As this is a film, Annie doesn’t seek him psychiatric help, but instead agrees he should build the baseball pitch, even though this will remove most of their crops and head them to financial ruin!
Upon building the pitch, Shoeless Joe (Ray Liotta) does indeed turn up and brings over and he starts bringing other baseball players who have died with him, prompting him to ask if he is heaven, to which Ray replied no Iowa!
Things regards the financials have now got desperate with the bank looking to take control of the farm for missed loan payments, with pressure coming from Mark, Annie’s brother (Timothy Busfield) to sell up.
The pressure is increased as we learn that Mark can not see the baseball players! Despite all this looming, Ray receives another message, telling him to ‘ease his pain’ which leads him to acclaimed writer Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) who is now in hiding from the public, for people taking offence to his ‘radical views’
Terence, intrigued by his story, joins the mystery which then leads them to Archibald ‘Moonlight’ Graham who only ever played one pro game of baseball and never got to bat. Upon finding Graham (Burt Lancaster), he tells them he has no regrets as he made a difference another way, by becoming a doctor and saving the lives of many.
Frustrated, Ray returns to Iowa with Terence, however, on the way they pick up a young hitchhiker who turns out to be a big baseball fan and is the young ‘Moonlight’ Grahm (Frank Whaley)
Upon arriving back at the farm, they find even more players have arrived at the field, to the extent that they can have full games. Joe invites Archie to bat, completing his secret dream to bat in a professional game.
During this time, Mark returns angry at Ray for not selling, during a heated argument where the family believe they can charge for people to watch the baseball players, Karin falls from the stands!
In desperate need of a doctor, the young Archie leaves the field to become his older self, to save Karin from choking. Ray feels guilty as Archie has in effect sacrificed himself for leaving the field, but Archie forgives him as he made his dream come true.
Because of this, Mark becomes able to see the players, and believes in their plan that they can make money from this.
Finally, Joe invites Mann to come with them onto the pitch and join them, this angers Ray, who is not invited. Joe reminds Ray of the messages ‘if you build it, he will come’ and ‘ease his pain’
Ray then notices the last player on the pitch removing his mask, which turns out to reveal his father, John (Dwier Brown) and the messages now make sense, the film ends with Ray introducing the family to John, that he never got to do, and to play baseball with him again, as they play the camera pans out and we see a queue of cars for as far we can see, ready to pay to have these memories brought back to them.
This really is a great film with strong messages about believing in your dreams and to not hold onto grudges, its another classic from the Eighties and we highly recommend it.
Are you a fan of Field of Dreams? We would love to hear from you here at Barking Mad About Films.
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