It’s Kevin Costner month and Kevin Costner is a avid baseball fan, so with the World Series in motion, and everyone in the baseball mood, why not keep the ball rolling and watch a fun baseball movie starring our featured actor. Field of Dreams is a movie the whole family can enjoy.
Field of Dreams is the movie adaptation of the novel, Shoeless Joe, written in 1982 by the Canadian novelist, W.P. Kinsella. Like our featured actor Kevin Costner, Mr. Kinsella has a passion for baseball. He wrote many other novels revolving around the sport which included, The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, Box Socials, and Butterfly Winter. In Shoeless Joe, Kinsella combined his love for baseball and his interest in magical fantasy and produced a great sports, fantasy, drama.
Field of Dreams was directed by Phil Alden Robinson, who by the way, is known for having snippets of old black and white scenes appear in his movies. There is a scene in our featured movie from the 1950’s movie Harvey starring Jimmy Stewart.
Field of Dreams starts with the main character Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, narrating his family background. We learn that his father, John Kinsella lived in Chicago. He was a die hard White Sox fan until a scandal broke out after the Sox lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in 1919. The media coined it the Black Sox Scandal. That was the year his dad’s love for the Sox died.
Ray’s mother died when Ray was three. His dad told him bedtime stories about the baseball greats; Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, to name a few. As years went by, Ray began to rebel and the father/son relationship suffered. Ray did everything possible not to do what pleased his father but he never lost their shared loved for baseball.
In 1974, Ray married his college sweetheart Annie played by Amy Madigan. In the Fall of that same year his dad died. Shortly thereafter, Annie, talked Ray into buying a farm, something he never envisioned himself doing. At this stage, the backstory is properly reported and the story begins.
There are so many great moments and lines in this movie that I can’t even begin to name them all; however, if you’ve seen the movie you know that Ray hears a voice that delivers the famous line most people remember, “If you build it, he will come.” You think to yourself, build what and who will come?” The answer is build a baseball field right in the middle of your corn fields and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson will come. Oh, now that makes a lot of sense. Forget about your livelihood. Forget about your mortgage. This is not something the average person would ever consider but you have to remember … this is a fantasy and Ray is a huge baseball fan so … why not?
Characters move in and out of Field of Dreams with ease and the plot builds beautifully. There is more to the movie than getting Shoeless Joe back out on the field but you will have to watch to find out what that is. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.
There is a long list of top actors in the movie such as James Earl Jones, who plays the role of Terence Mann. In the novel, Shoeless Joe, this character was actually the recluse writer, J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye which was one of author W.P. Kinsella’s favorite coming of age books.
Ray Liotta plays the character, Shoeless Joe, and Burt Lancaster plays plays Doc Graham a/k/a Moonlight Graham, the baseball player that never got to bat. Timothy Busfield plays Ray Kinsella’s brother-in-law. Some of you might remember him from the late 1980’s television series Thirtysomething.
Field of Dreams is on my top ten list of great sports movies and will be on yours too, I promise. Just watch it and see.
Fun Flick Facts
1. What is the first word Ray Kinsella says to Shoeless Joe?
2. At the ball game what was Ray Kinsella’s seat number?
3. When Shoeless Joe asks Ray if this is heaven what does Ray reply?