FIELD OF DREAMS
(director/writer: Phil Alden Robinson; screenwriter: based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella; cinematographer: John Lindley; editor: Ian Crafford; music: James Horner ; cast: Kevin Costner (Ray Kinsella), Amy Madigan (Annie Kinsella), James Earl Jones (Terence Mann), Ray Liotta (Shoeless Joe Jackson), Burt Lancaster (Dr. Graham), Gaby Hoffman (Karen Kinsella), Timothy Busfield (Mark), Frank Whaley (Archie Graham), Dwier Brown (John Kinsella), Lee Garlington (Beulah); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Lawrence Gordon/Charles Gordon; Universal Home Entertainment; 1989)
“I was a baseball fan growing up as a kid and can see the thrill it gives its followers, but as an adult view baseball as much a business as a sport and can’t imagine getting gushy over such mush.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A sentimental supernatural fantasy baseball pic that at times seems too pushy to get across baseball as a purely innocent game and to believe such nonsense requires the viewer to suspend disbelief. Writer-director Phil Alden Robinson(“The Sum Of All Fears”/”The Woo Woo Kid”/”Sneakers”) bases it on the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.
I was a baseball fan growing up as a kid and can see the thrill it gives its followers, but as an adult view baseball as much a business as a sport and can’t imagine getting gushy over such mush.
The recent college grad Kevin Costner has relocated to Iowa with his college sweetheart wife Amy Madigan and young daughter Gaby Hoffman. The new-age farmer hears one day a ghostly voice from above that states ‘If you build it, he will come.’ With that, Costner sees no reason not to build a manicured baseball diamond on his cornfields, even if it’s a financially risky proposition (which goes for the corny premise). Soon dead great baseball players arrive from the scandalized Chicago White Sox, ridiculed in the sports pages as the Black Sox for rigging the 1919 World Series. These players suddenly appear in Costner’s newly built field and start playing ball and demand we take another look at them as they seek redemption.
The spirit world is represented by Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson, the ‘he’ from the quote and reputed to be one of the old time legendary players. Other reps from the spirit world include the always reliable Burt Lancaster and Frank Whaley.
Those charmed by feel-good Capra films might find this gentle baseball nostalgia pic a winner, while I took a more cynical approach as I found myself unmoved by such a hokey ghostly baseball story.
REVIEWED ON 9/1/2015 GRADE: C+