Field of Dreams
Imagine a time when movie magic didn't consist of crazy CG special effects, amazing camera work or uncanny makeup, but existed in a sort of reality where budget barely entered into it quite as much as a great story, lovable characters, and the concept of something like Heaven without being preachy about it whatsoever. 1989's 'Field of Dreams' fits the bill perfectly, and it's easily one of the greatest feel-good films ever made.
A corn farmer from Iowa named Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) lives a happy, down to earth life with his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan) and daughter, Karen (Gaby Hoffmann). One day, while working in the field, he hears the famous words "if you build it, he will come". He takes it as a sign to build a baseball field, in the hopes that the late great "Shoeless" Joe Jackson will come back to play.
The whole thing is fulfilled within the first half hour or so of the film, and like something from a dream, Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and seven more of the 1919 White Sox come to play, but they lack a ninth player to complete their team. Soon, the voices continue, and Ray is lead to reclusive author Terence Mann (James Earl Jones), who he hopes will help him understand the meaning of the voices that he similarly hears.
For the record, I'm not the biggest sports fan in the world and know very little about whatever historical inaccuracies there are in the film. That goes double for certain characters here based on real people. But this is one of those films where inaccuracies hardly matter, because the real meaning behind the film is much deeper, and to overanalyze the facts means missing the point. But to dictate the point also means to spoil the end of the movie, so I'll just ease back, even though it's one of those spoilers that's barely a spoiler anymore.
What the film does better than anything is provide its viewers with a crazy amount of magic. but does so without it being corny. It's the kind of magic you feel when you meet your favorite celebrity for the first time, or get exactly what you want and then some from a movie you were looking forward to all year, but then it blends that with pure nostalgia. I dare even say that when it comes to baseball memories, in this point in time where sports have all but disappeared, it will tug at your heartstrings even harder than it did before (if you've seen it - if not, I recommend getting on it).
This movie is good enough to get three Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and its memorably dream-like score from James Horner. On top of all that, it was actually selected in 2017 to be preserved in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". I dunno what else has made that list, particularly, but that does go to show how strong and timeless this story is, with an ending that is bound to bring on some waterworks.
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