(Check out the list so far)
The Movie: Field of Dreams (1989)
One Sentence Plot Summary: Ray Kinsella builds it, and they come.
Why It’s on the List: This is the most non-traditional sports movie ever been written. It’s more of a father-son movie that relies on the audience to bring their own baggage. If you’re fortunate or unfortunate enough to have parents then you may see what happens with Ray Kinsella and his father as something of a mirror. It’s never made totally clear why Ray and his father don’t get along, and that doesn’t matter. Movies don’t have to explain everything. There are times when movies should be held responsible for certain plot points, but all we need to have is Ray make some general comments. If you have the right actor, and I’d argue Kevin Costner is the right actor, then that’s all you need.
This is a rather simple movie and a sentimental one. I’d like to think I’m not that type of person, but some of the movies you put on this list would probably convince you otherwise. You almost have to watch this as a fairy tale and not something to be read literally. It’s one long metaphor about these kinds of relationships. So many people in the world would probably give up a lot to have one more day with their father and have that catch. This movie literalizes that.
A lot of the dialogue is designed to be poetic, from Ray Liotta’s moments in the cornfield to everything James Earl Jones said toward the end of the movie. This movie also serves as the last on-screen performance of Burt Lancaster, a wonderful actor from a very different time period. This is a movie that isn’t perfect and has a lot of detractors (especially younger folks it seems), but I connected with many aspects and appreciated the romanticism.
*Maybe we shouldn’t have idealized a time in baseball before integration THIS much.
*Annie brings a 1960s sensibility to the movie, and it’s treated pretty poorly. I would have almost they rather not touch on the political stuff if this was how they’d handle it. Similar feelings about Terrance Mann who becomes a cliché machine at the end.
MVP and Best Performance: For a movie as absurd as this one, Kevin Costner in the lead role not only has to click, but he has to give a borderline award-contending performance, and I would argue he did. He is incredibly believable as Ray Kinsella, a man who did not have the greatest relationship with his father, a man who would a baseball field right in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, a man who would travel around the country just to prove his point, a man how is hearing voices…rather a voice and somehow isn’t put in an asylum. Kevin Costner brings a tremendous amount of sincerity to all this, every line delivery. This is my favorite movie of his, and I think he’s one of our best actors even if his filmography doesn’t always reflect that.
Best Quote: “If you build it, he will come.” – ???
Is there a sequel? No.