Thursday, August 19, 2010

The (super)Natural

Field of Dreams
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Cast: Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan
Released: 4/21/89

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (lost to Driving Miss Daisy)
Best Original Score - James Horner (lost to Alen Menken for The Little Mermaid)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Phil Alden Robinson (lost to Alfred Uhry for Driving Miss Daisy)

Field of Dreams is a movie I watched many times when I was younger because it was a favorite of my family's and we had it on video. I'm sure I saw it on the big screen, but if I did, I don't remember. While I still remember what the movie is about, it's been many, many years since I last saw it, so I decided to rent the DVD. (I don't own a VCR so I couldn't drag the old VHS out - I doubt it would have played anyway!) In many ways it was like seeing it for the first time again. The only parts I really remembered were Kevin Costner hearing that disembodied voice declaring, "If you build it, he will come" and Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other baseball players of the past descending from the cornfield. I remembered James Earl Jones being in the movie, but I couldn't recall any of his scenes and I forgot entirely about the PTA meeting. 

Of course you have to suspend your belief when watching this movie because a guy building a baseball field in the middle of his corn field just because a voice told him to is just plain ludicrous! There are many scenes that make me go "Wha-?", but perhaps since this is such a beloved movie, I'm able to just go with it.

An interesting side note about the movie's title: As you may already know, Field of Dreams is an adaptation of W. P. Kinsella's novel, Shoeless Joe Jackson (which I read when I was a freshman in high school, but don't remember anything about the book), but the studio didn't want the movie to be the same title because they thought that the audience would think it's about a homeless guy or that Costner is supposed to be the title character. Somebody suggested Field of Dreams, but the director didn't like it. He talked to the author to tell him that although the screening was well received, they had to give it a different title. Kinsella told him that he didn't come up with the book's title and said he wanted to call it Dream Field instead, so the director took that as a sign and thus that's how the film became Field of Dreams.

I've been to the actual location where the movie was filmed in Dyersville, Iowa (and I had to look that up on Wikipedia because I couldn't remember the name of the town) where I saw the baseball field. It was a lot smaller than it looked on the screen. There were people there playing baseball, but I was more interested in the cornfield! 

I'm not a big baseball fan, but I would recommend Field of Dreams to those who are and those who aren't. 

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