Field of Dreams (1989)
August 6, 2015 9:07 AM - Subscribe

An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields. He does, and the Chicago Black Sox come.

Come for: a heartwarming tale of redemption and second chances.
Stay for: Amy Madigan getting all het up about censorship.
posted by phunniemee (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Man, I watched this movie soooo many times growing up. It taught me many things, including a memorable conversation in which I asked my mom what the word "masturbate" meant thanks to that same scene.

I still say, "...but watch out for in your ear."
posted by pitrified at 1:47 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I watched this movie with my father, who is a former farmer. He thought it was stupid, pointed out a major plot hole, and said that the writers obviously knew nothing about farming.

Farmer Ray Kinsella is supposedly about to lose his farm as he has no crop due to having turned his cornfield into a baseball diamond. The diamond and the stands would occupy less than an acre. Even assuming the farm was a very small farm of 100 acres (the actual farm where the movie was shot was 193 acres), you're looking at a crop decrease of less than 1%, which wouldn't make much difference to the farm's annual income (farmers also usually make money by raising livestock, though we didn't see any during the film). During a scene in which the banker brother-in-law is screaming, "YOU GOT NO CROP, RAY!!!", my father commented that the banker clearly needed to get his eyesight checked, because there was a beautiful stand of corn waving gently in the breeze right behind him.
posted by orange swan at 2:28 PM on August 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I wonder if the book Shoeless Joe had the farm income angle in it. W.P. Kinsella grew up on a farm in Alberta until he was 10, so I'd expect he'd have some familiarity. Then again, he did put J.D. Salinger in the novel as a main character without permission (changed to the James Earl Jones character in the movie), so maybe unwise choices are part of his writing style.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:12 AM on August 7, 2015


Farmer Ray Kinsella is supposedly about to lose his farm as he has no crop due to having turned his cornfield into a baseball diamond. The diamond and the stands would occupy less than an acre. Even assuming the farm was a very small farm of 100 acres (the actual farm where the movie was shot was 193 acres), you're looking at a crop decrease of less than 1%, which wouldn't make much difference to the farm's annual income (farmers also usually make money by raising livestock, though we didn't see any during the film). During a scene in which the banker brother-in-law is screaming, "YOU GOT NO CROP, RAY!!!", my father commented that the banker clearly needed to get his eyesight checked, because there was a beautiful stand of corn waving gently in the breeze right behind him.

This aspect is so ridiculous, you don't even have to be a farmer to scratch your head and go, "Huh?" The ONLY way it makes any sense is to admit that Ray is one heck of a terrible farmer with an extremely thin margin by which to make enough money to pay the bank and that baseball field sized hole in his overall crop is exactly the amount that would have allowed him to make that margin.

Thankfully, and beautifully, in a movie about a man hearing voices, seeing dead ballplayers, and traveling through time, that really is the only thing that actually stands out as ridiculous.

Watching the movie makes me hate myself for not loving baseball more, always a favorite sport, but not one I follow and I don't even play in pseudo-baseball adult softball anymore. It's a film that drips with the nostalgia of seeing those old black and white films of ballplayers from the 30s and 40s, and the same field of emotional draw as Ken Burn's Baseball and When It Was A Game. it's a baseball movie about loving baseball, much more than being a baseball movie about baseball itself. It seeks to redeem the sport in the modern age, when all the folks and Baby Boomers who had grown up hearing about and watching the legendary players gazed at the state of the game in the late 1980s and failed to see or feel the magic they recall experiencing as they grew up. Shoeless Joe stands in for the sport, presented as someone maligned by popular opinion, but who really did nothing wrong - just like someone pointing to the game and saying, "Wait, look, you call baseball boring and dull, but look closer!"

It's one of those films where almost every character is cast perfectly, from James Earl Jones to Burt Lancaster, and the words of the script flow like someone snuck up on these living, breathing characters and recorded them for later use. Even the character who's only heard, but never seen, and I'm not talking about the voice in the cornfield, but the music which is perfectly cued to the movie's different scenes. The movie is great, not just because it's a baseball movie, or stars illustrious names, but because it's a finely crafted film. It's not perfect, but it is grand.

And when they were cleaning out his office, they found boxes of blue hats he had never gotten around to giving her.
posted by Atreides at 7:40 AM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I grew up without a father...he died in an accident when I was 6 months old. This movie touched me on levels that most people would never understand.... The scene with Ray playing ball with his dad is so very powerful. I met Costner at the premier party for Man of Steel... his roll in that movie was nowhere near as important to me as his role in Field of Dreams.
posted by HuronBob at 10:20 PM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


If You Build It, They Will Kvetch
being a True Life™ Facebook exchange from earlier this baseball season.

Me: I'm such a sucker for this movie. — watching Field of Dreams. (30 May 2015)

Him: [Y]ou more than anyone know how much I love baseball. Probably more than anyone else you know. This movie bugs the crap out of me... Yes, yes, yes...I get it I'm supposed to care. I despise movies that try to manipulate me into "feeling" a certain way.

Me: All art manipulates feelings. That's the point of it. Cinema just has an easier time of it because they can use both sound and sight. Point being, if the hair on the back of your neck doesn't stand up when James Earl Jones appears in the street saying, "Moonlight Graham!" I don't know what to tell you.

Him: Uh huh.... I just don't like it when I'm TOLD what I should feel. It feels clunky and forced. That's all.

Me: I guess I just don't see where it's like that. I mean you might as well say Jascha Heifetz and Beethoven were telling you how to feel.

Him: Ummm...did you just compare a Kevin Costner movie to Beethoven.

Me: No. Well, yes, but not in the way you imply. Both Field of Dreams and the Violin Concerto in D elicit strong feelings. Either might make you laugh or cry or both. In neither case are you being told explicitly what to feel. You feel what you feel based on a combination of who you are and feeling inherent to the work.

Fin
posted by ob1quixote at 11:07 PM on August 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


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