Field of Dreams (1989)

Field of Dreams
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
Written by W.P. Kinsella and Phil Alden Robinson
(number 269)

This movie feels like a bit of the heart of Americana – from the Warhol print of Marilyn on the wall by the front door in the house, to the footage of the corn field under the vast Iowa sky, to the farmers in their overalls to the whole fascination with baseball.

Kevin Costner is really young… this was really the start of his run of doing very well, which he then sent into a tail spin by doing Waterworld. He was fresh off Bull Durham and about to do Dances with Wolves, and he’s all late nineties bright and baggy brightly patterned shirts and epic hair, brown shoes and white socks. He’s pretty adorable.

It’s a very strange movie, and the characters are pretty strange… like Ray’s wife Annie being totally blase about him doing crazy things to basically bankrupt them. She gets very angry about the school banning books, but doesn’t mind too much when he’s following his weird ass dreams based on the disembodied voice in his corn field.

We also get James Earl Jones being a reclusive 60s writer, who was supposed to be J.D. Sallinger but Sallinger didn’t give permission for his name to be used. Thomas Mann is delightfully grumpy and incredulous.

I know I’ve watched this movie before, but actually maybe I only watched the first bit because I could only remember the bit where he hears the voices, builds the field and there were ghosts. There’s this whole rest of the movie with the writer and tracking down bits of American history via baseball players and the legendary Shoeless Joe. They go back to the field after some chasing around and it’s pretty sweet.

There’s so much nostalgia packed into one film, and it’s all for something which manages to be familiar to me even though I’m not American, not that into baseball or familiar with the sixties. There’s a huge vein of daddy issues through the movie as well.

The script isn’t the best, some very purple language and a couple of wtf moments. Like, when they’ve been arguing all day about Thomas Mann and baseball and whats the connection and then suddenly Annie goes from anti to pro because yeah, she had a dream about Thomas and baseball and Ray being there too and apparently hadn’t made that connection. Uh huh.

Does it make me love the people? Yes, especially Annie and Thomas Mann. They’re both pretty sharp, witty characters and although they both delve into to schmaltz… it’s that kind of movie. Annie is a neat ‘not just a wife’ character with a firey spark and a wee plot where she stands up against a book banning PTA.

Bechdel test: Annie and Beulah have a fight about whether or not literature should be banned in schools, and it’s bad ass. A big intellectual argument about books, and being uptight and it’s epic.

Best line:

Annie Kinsella: All right, Beulah, do you want to step outside?

Or maybe all the baseball players asking ‘Is this Heaven?’ it’s pretty feelsie.

State of Mind: Okay but I don’t really think baseball is the most important thing in the world, but it’s still a pretty cute movie. It’s a bit of an anticlimax though, all that build up and we don’t get to see the big game – just Ray playing catch with his dad.

Watched movie count.

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