Author Topic: Field of Dreams (1989)  (Read 1669 times)

Offline Antares

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Field of Dreams (1989)
« on: May 02, 2010, 03:36:27 AM »
Field of Dreams





Year: 1989
Film Studio: Universal Pictures, Gordon Company
Genre: Sports, Classic, Family, Fantasy
Length: 106 Min.

Director
Phil Alden Robinson (1950)

Writing
W. P. Kinsella (1935)...Book "Shoeless Joe"
Phil Alden Robinson (1950)...Screenplay

Producer
Brian E. Frankish
Charles Gordon (1947)
Lawrence Gordon (1936)
Lloyd Levin

Cinematographer
John Lindley

Music
James Horner (1953)...Composer

Stars
Kevin Costner (1955) as Ray Kinsella
Amy Madigan (1950) as Annie Kinsella
Gaby Hoffmann (1982) as Karin Kinsella
Ray Liotta (1954) as Shoeless Joe Jackson
Timothy Busfield (1957) as Mark
James Earl Jones (1931) as Terence 'Terry' Mann
Burt Lancaster (1913) as Dr. Archibald 'Moonlight' Graham
Frank Whaley (1963) as Archie Graham

Review

“If you build it, he will come”

       Kevin Costner has been pretty successful starring in baseball films, and his career will be best defined in years to come by his performance in Field of Dreams. To some he comes across as a modern day Gary Cooper and to some he’s as charismatic as an Indian totem pole. But he was made for the role of Ray Kinsella, the Iowan farmer who upon hearing a voice in his cornfield, plows his crop under, and builds a baseball field over it. One night he senses the presence of someone on the field and discovers the appearance of ‘Shoeless' Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and over the next few days the rest of the Chicago ‘Black’ Sox are magically transported onto the field. The voice then sends him on a cross-country trek that will introduce him to two strangers whose lives will also be changed by visiting the mystical diamond. Redemption is at the heart and soul of Field of Dreams and through personal sacrifice all the characters involved will find the inner peace that has been missing from their lives through the tonic of baseball. If you are not a baseball fan this film will come across as rather corny and over-sentimental, but to the legions of baseball purists in our country, it is just short of Citizen Kane in their eyes.

“Ease his pain”

       That being said, the one problem I have with the film is the casting of Ray Liotta as ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson. His portrayal would leave you to believe that Jackson was raised in a bustling northern city such as Chicago, instead of the quiet and pastoral town of Greenville, South Carolina. Jackson was functionally illiterate and signed his player contracts with an X, but if you listen to Liotta speak, you’d swear that Jackson had at least taken Philosophy 101 in college. Another problem lies in that Jackson was a left handed batter, and Liotta is seen batting from the right side. In the film Eight Men Out, Jackson was played by D.B. Sweeney who was also right handed, but took the time to teach himself to hit from the left side. He also portrayed Jackson as a naïve and somber man who spoke in a slow southern drawl and thus his performance is the one that all baseball fans see as genuine.

“Go the distance”

       Putting the Liotta matter aside, Field of Dreams is solid entertainment for anyone familiar with our national pastime and transcends generational boundaries. It’s a film that can help bridge the gap between grandfather, father and son, and can be just as rewarding as taking your child to his first major league game or buying his first baseball glove.


Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 11:53:53 PM by Antares »

Najemikon

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Re: Field of Dreams (1989)
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2010, 04:01:01 AM »
Interesting review. I really enjoyed Field of Dreams and I love its optimism, though I don't think all of the story's potential was exploited. But what I really wanted to say is directly related to your comments regards baseball.

I tend to enjoy sports movies, which is odd as I don't like sports! Apart from snooker, but that hardly makes for a thrilling movie... :laugh: Even more so with baseball (it's actually called Rounders, you know... ;)), as everything I know I learned from this and other movies, like A League of Their Own. It also gave another level to Frequency. So actually, I liked Liotta's judgement in that performance and wasn't compromised by any knowledge of who he was supposed to be (I did at least recognise he was a "real" person, before you say anything!).

As a story, I think it successfully portrayed the sport to a non-believer. I really understood the unique relationship Americans' have with the game and that respect across generations that is passed down, so it still had weight despite me being less than bothered about the sport. Certainly it was a different sense I get from similar stories about American Football and it is much more comparable with how my country would seemingly lay down and die for football (you know, proper football, not 'soccer' :tease:) and simply be passionate about rugby (that's the proper, mans version of what you delicate lot need armour plating to play :devil:).

I'm amusing myself with the irony that although I really dislike football and can only feign slight interest in rugby, I'm still getting some satisfaction from the xenophobia I can generate from them! :hysterical:

Offline Antares

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Re: Field of Dreams (1989)
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2010, 04:16:57 AM »
You know Jon, the one film that hit the nail right on the head concerning the legacy the game has in this country was City Slickers. The scene where they're discussing the game and its impact on individuals. That scene hit me more than anything in Field of Dreams because it spoke volumes to what baseball is between families and generations.

Najemikon

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Re: Field of Dreams (1989)
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2010, 04:23:03 AM »
Ah, yes. I know the one you mean, I think.