Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Field of Dreams

Given the start of baseball season, I found it appropriate to watch an 80’s film to get me in the spirit. I had the opportunity to watch 1989‘s Field of Dreams, which I had heard a great deal about. The protagonist, Ray Kinsella, is an average American who is suddenly plagued by whispers in his newly acquired corn field. The whispers suddenly become more and more frequent as they utter; “If you build it, he will come.” He takes it to mean a baseball field and he to be Shoeless Joe Jackson of the infamous Chicago Black Sox. Ray decides to plow under his corn and use all of his savings to follow the voice and build a baseball field. Before long, he finds himself on a utilitarian quest to bring several figures from the Chicago Black Sox back to the game of baseball as well as a famous author (Terrance Mann) and a doctor (Doc Graham) who missed out on his dream. The issue of the Black Sox was interesting to me because this movie glorifies one of the largest scandals in baseball history and turns a team of ethical egoists into heroes. Ray then risks everything in his life along with family and his own reputation in following the voice and his perception of it. He struggles with differing right from wrong but ultimately decides to follow his heart in lieu of everyone else around him.

At the end of the movie Ray comes to the realization that everything he had done in building the stadium was to bring back his own father from the dead and have the chance to right his relationship with him. Not only was Kinsella able to reconnect with his father, but also he created a place where everyone could envision their favorite heroes. Those who believed that the field was a magical place could see the games which were played there. Terrance Mann has an epiphany and tells Kinsella to turn the field into an attraction which people will play for the chance to see something extraordinary. Just before the credits, the camera pans out over the field and dozens of cars are seen driving to Ray’s field symbolizing the end of his financial problems and the utility of many about to greatly increase. And I was also very happy to see Ray Liotta, my all time favorite actor, as Shoeless Joe Jackson.


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