Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Field of Dreams is a 1989 baseball drama starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta. Nominated for three Oscars, it is often thought of as being one of the best baseball movies of all time. Set in Iowa, it is about a farmer who feels prompted by a mysterious voice to build his own baseball diamond. Then some of the 1919 Black Sox show up.
Field Of Dreams is a bit underwhelming in my opinion. It's not a bad movie, per say. It's slower paced, but there isn't a lot of story to justify its runtime. The concept is unique, and the Black Sox angle is unlike any other baseball movie out there. Field of Dreams is a bit like The Natural, but set in modern times.
I don't want to complain incessantly about it. It's not a bad movie, just another odd pick as the greatest baseball movie of all time. Acting and story are both good. It is just that it's a bit too long and slow paced. It doesn't deserve its runtime. I give it a 4/10.
Field of Dreams was a movie that, for years, I had trouble appreciating. It was the small things that held me back like some pacing issues toward the beginning of the movie and oversites like Shoeless Joe batting right handed and throwing left handed (Shoeless Joe was a right handed thrower and hit left handed). I watched it again last summer to prepare for a Father's Day interview with Dwyer Brown (who played Kevin Costner's dad in the movie) and those issues became a little less significant as I focused on what story was trying to tell. Dwyer talked about how, to this day, people ask him if he'd like to have a catch. It connected with people in a deeper way than most baseball movies will, the desire to go back.
Despite the mistakes and pacing issues, the story is a timeless one that transcends generations. The mistakes, however, cannot be ignored. I give it a 7/10
I can understand why people don't like this movie, but it's easily one of my favorites. From road trips to baseball to reconciling with the past, Field of Dreams hits all the right notes for me. All of the baseball scenes are wonderful and the humor is just right. Maybe the idea of a road trip to take a famous author to a baseball game is unrealistic, but it works for me.
The real meat of the story for me is being able to reconnect and redeem relationships from the past. I grew up in a single-parent household and have no memories of my father at home. Even as I grew older, it was obvious I wasn't a priority. From missing my high school graduation to providing for his other children in ways I would never see, the idea of a redemption story that includes a simple game of catch is always going to resonate with me. My story is very different which is why I cling to Ray's story so tightly.
It's not perfect, but 9/10 for me.
• The field is real, built on a real farm. After filming, it passed onto the owners of the farm, who do allow people to visit. It's located in Dyersville Iowa. (AssMatt here, been there twice and it's fantastic. If you're anywhere in the area, go visit!)
• James Earl Jones hates baseball in real life. It's ironic, considering his role here and also in The Sandlot.
• Originally, the film was to be titled "Shoeless Joe," after Joe Jackson. But producers didn't think the title would sell tickets.