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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Column: ‘Field of Dreams’ and more bad baseball on film

Major League Baseball is heading to the “Field of Dreams” next season to pay homage to a terrible flick.

Yep, the Chicago White Sox will face the New York Yankees in a temporary stadium, to be constructed among the Iowa cornfields where that corn pile of a movie was filmed.

Given my contempt for “Field of Dreams,” many have asked for my reaction.

I say: Don’t stop there.

So, what thoughts do all of you have concerning how baseball has been portrayed in film, either in the movies listed in the article or elsewhere?

 

QLE Posted: August 10, 2019 at 08:18 AM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: film

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   1. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: August 10, 2019 at 08:36 AM (#5870113)
I'm glad they're playing a "Field of Dreams" game, just to p!ss this guy off.
   2. Lest we forget Posted: August 10, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5870131)
I don't know the writer from Adam; contempt is a mighty word.

I loved this film, just ate it up. Really enjoyed. It appealed to the true ball fan in me. I didn't mind the small deviations from fact, nope. Kevin Costner is one of the greatest actors of his generation - should have won an Oscar for this performance. Hell, this FILM should have won for best picture. And the supporting cast was awesome - worked really well with Costner's finely honed craft. Costner is the best baseball actor out there - his career is littered with epic performances. The story is a gem - just as good as the book. A beautiful and realistic film, that depicts the sentimentality and romanticism of baseball to a T.

A wonderful baseball flim. First class, and top shelf. Bank it.

Ahhhhhh. That felt good to get out. Ahhhhhh..

A great film. Costner at his best. Baseball at its Hollywood best. A gem for all true fans.

Ahhhh.
   3. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: August 10, 2019 at 10:15 AM (#5870132)
Field of Dreams is a great movie.
   4. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 10, 2019 at 10:26 AM (#5870136)
I love the film.

But Joe Jackson batting righty if a f'n crime.
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 10, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5870141)
Hate the film, but I love the idea of the game. I wonder if a routine fly will be called "a cob of corn" rather than "a can of corn".
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 10, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5870147)
Sadly, if any baseball film gets that the play-by-play isn’t broadcast over the stadium PA, that’s a win.
   7. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: August 10, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5870156)
Absolutely loved Field of Dreams when I saw it freshman year of college, and I still do, even with the factual problems.

Why is there such a large percentage of complete grumps who write about baseball, relative to other sports? (Or is that selection bias because I read more baseball-related writing?)
   8. Perry Posted: August 10, 2019 at 12:24 PM (#5870158)
Kevin Costner is one of the greatest actors of his generation


Okay, I admit, you had me going there for a while. Good one.

EDIT: Costner can be pretty good in the right role, and he is good at playing ballplayers, especially in Bull Durham, an excellent baseball movie (despite the fact that Tim Robbins can't throw at all). Costner was a good enough ballplayer to try out as a D1 walk-on and it shows.
   9. Sunday silence Posted: August 10, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5870168)
He was good in The Big Chill.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 10, 2019 at 02:02 PM (#5870170)
Broadcast of ‘Field Of Dreams’ game: “Aaron Judge’s cornshot to right goes the distance, and the Yankees take the lead.”
   11. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 10, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5870172)
Any randomly selected 90-second stretch of "Bull Durham" is superior to "Field of Dreams."

But that doesn't make "Field of Dreams" contemptible. However, it is processed cheese with syrup for men who miss their dads, whether the dead kind or the emotionally unreachable kind.
   12. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: August 10, 2019 at 02:33 PM (#5870178)
Why is there such a large percentage of complete grumps who write about baseball, relative to other sports? (Or is that selection bias because I read more baseball-related writing?)


Yeah it seems like people just feel compelled to tell everyone how much they dislike things related to baseball. I’m not sure why. It’s a big reason I really don’t follow anything outside of the stories that turn up here. I follow the games, check the numbers and watch highlights and live games.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 10, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5870179)
But that doesn't make "Field of Dreams" contemptible. However, it is processed cheese with syrup

Yeah, Velveeta with corn syrup sounds just about right.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Why is there such a large percentage of complete grumps who write about baseball, relative to other sports? (Or is that selection bias because I read more baseball-related writing?)

A better question might be why are 90% of baseball movies so goddam hokey? Is it simply because it's so hard for non-ballplayers to mimic the easy athleticism of the real thing?
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 10, 2019 at 02:51 PM (#5870182)
Yeah it seems like people just feel compelled to tell everyone how much they dislike things related to baseball.

On a related note, if you want to read the neverending rants of a baseball hating grumpy middle aged man, check out the comic strip Frazz, which centers around an elementary school janitor who for whatever reason spends much of his leisure time hanging around 10 year old boys and girls.
   15. Wayne Newton's pet monkey (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: August 10, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5870191)
I'd have bet money that a mention of Field of Dreams would bring Andy in with his "get off my lawn (& into the cornfield)" grumbling.
   16. Srul Itza Posted: August 10, 2019 at 04:49 PM (#5870197)
The whole point of Field of Dreams is to set up three bits -- Burt Lancaster's cameos, Costner playing catch with his Dad; and the James Earl Jones "baseball" speech.

The rest of the movie is just set up for those.
   17. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 10, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5870200)
Kevin Costner is one of the greatest actors of his generation


Costner is not a good actor, but he was pretty good in Fandango, No Way Out, Bull Durham, Upside of Anger, and Perfect World.

I liked him in Open Range, Thirteen Days, Mr. Brooks, Untouchables, and Tin Cup.

He is ok in a bunch of others. He needs the right script and the right role. He is truly awful in a bunch too.
   18. Gazizza, my Dilznoofuses! Posted: August 10, 2019 at 05:18 PM (#5870202)
"How I Met Your Mother" had a few references to "Field of Dreams" during its run, as chronicled here. I always think of the first bet when I hear someone doesn't like that movie.

But I agree it's far surpassed by "Bull Durham," and I genuinely hate the "book-burners" scene in Dreams.
   19. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 10, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5870204)
I’m going to go against the bbtf consensus and say I didn’t think Field of Dreams was a great movie. While I’m generally ok with the premise of a movie involving supernatural events, I thought this one went too far. It strained credulity that this guy would just accept all these crazy events happening. Like did Moonlight Graham just appear out of the ether?
   20. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 10, 2019 at 05:27 PM (#5870205)
I'd have bet money that a mention of Field of Dreams would bring Andy in with his "get off my lawn (& into the cornfield)" grumbling.

Hey, they got two admissions out of me, so they ain't got no cause to complain.

And my wife loved it. But you know women.

And I love the idea of an actual game being played there, as long as they relegate Costner to the corn on the cob concession.
   21. greenback slays lewks Posted: August 10, 2019 at 05:47 PM (#5870208)
Major League Baseball is heading to the “Field of Dreams” next season to pay homage to a terrible flick.

Having visited Dyersville a couple of years ago, I'm wondering how they're going to get more than a few hundred people around that field. That area isn't built to handle that much traffic. They'll need about a hundred buses to... somewhere, or multiple somewheres, to make this manageable.
   22. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 10, 2019 at 06:36 PM (#5870215)
Can't be worse than this spring's Wrestlemania in the remote, rural Meadowlands, New Jersey.

Fans stranded in the rain as late as 3:00 a.m. [amid] chants of “NO TRAIN, WE RIOT!”
   23. Man o' Schwar Posted: August 10, 2019 at 07:36 PM (#5870220)
My biggest problem with the movie is that (1) it's not as good as the book; and (2) Kinsella had a better book (Iowa Baseball Confederacy) to make a movie from (at least from a historical baseball perspective - I will happily grant that, from a mainstream perspective, Shoeless Joe will appeal to a lot more people).
   24. Man o' Schwar Posted: August 10, 2019 at 07:40 PM (#5870224)
Having visited Dyersville a couple of years ago, I'm wondering how they're going to get more than a few hundred people around that field. That area isn't built to handle that much traffic. They'll need about a hundred buses to... somewhere, or multiple somewheres, to make this manageable.

They're only half an hour from Dubuque, about 20 minutes from the western edges of the city. You could bus people from parking areas set up there, or from hotels in town.

Or there are a million cornfields between Dubuque and Dyersville. Some farmer somewhere is going to let people park on his fallow field for $10 an axel for the night.
   25. bachslunch Posted: August 10, 2019 at 07:55 PM (#5870225)
I’m one of a minority who dislikes “Field of Dreams.” I find the movie hokey and syrupy, and I really dislike the pass it gives to Shoeless Joe.

I do like many baseball films, but this isn’t one of them.
   26. greenback slays lewks Posted: August 10, 2019 at 10:27 PM (#5870251)
Or there are a million cornfields between Dubuque and Dyersville. Some farmer somewhere is going to let people park on his fallow field for $10 an axel for the night.

This sounds like a nightmare. Assuming there's bus service to the farm -- which there has to be, because otherwise you're walking ten miles -- you and 500 other cars will be trying to get out of a corn field-turned-parking lot, one at a time to get back onto state road 136. That could be as mind-numbing as the mess at Chavez Ravine, except you're in a corn field.

I guess you're right about Dubuque, but it's a town with about 50,000 people. When 8,000 people show up at once, it will be an adventure.
   27. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 10, 2019 at 11:04 PM (#5870255)
Between the farms which were used for the movie setting and the area where the ballpark will be, there should be ample room to park 2,000 cars and bunch of busses. MLB appears to have the cooperation of the property owners, so I doubt there will be a problem. However, a rainout might be tricky, although the teams do have the next day for travel back to Chicago for the remainder of the series.
   28. AndrewJ Posted: August 10, 2019 at 11:15 PM (#5870257)
“The Scout” features the talented Albert Brooks in the namesake role, discovering an improbably talented player deep in the heart of an obscenely-stereotyped Mexico. The stud of a player, portrayed with minimal athleticism by Brendan Fraser, makes his debut in the World Series, but only after he’s brought down from the roof of Yankee Stadium with perhaps the worst CGI version of a helicopter ever to grace the big screen. Of course, he whiffs 27 straight hitters with nothing but strikes (final pitching line on Steve Nebraska: 81 pitches, 81 strikes, zero balls) and hits the game-winning homer in a climax that’s totally devoid of drama.


Reportedly Brooks (who co-wrote the screenplay) intended the movie to end with a freeze-frame of Brendan Fraser's first pitch, but the studio insisted that Fraser throwing the ultimate perfect game would "test better" with preview audiences.

I'm allergic to non-documentary sports movies ending with the World Series/Super Bowl/Olympic finals/Big Game. My favorite recent baseball movie was Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some!!! Its climax is the very first day of practice for a mediocre Texas college baseball team, and it's satisfying because anything is still possible for these guys.
   29. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 10, 2019 at 11:41 PM (#5870260)
Not a fan, though baseball movies are a tough sell for me - too hokey and why I like about baseball has never been nostalgia and fathers and sons type stuff.
Favorite one remains Sugar.
   30. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 11, 2019 at 12:30 AM (#5870264)
I liked Field of Dreams despite the Joe Jackson apologia. I did not like Bull Durham at all. Major League is the best baseball movie, however.
   31. Hank Gillette Posted: August 11, 2019 at 01:01 AM (#5870265)
“The Babe Ruth Story” is awful, but the Ruth movie with John Goodman may have been worse (I did not see it). Why they insist on casting fat men as Ruth is beyond me. He was fat towards the end of his career, but he was a superb athlete when young. He had this big barrel chest, so even young he looked burly, but he wasn’t fat. There was a TV movie about Ruth where they did it right. They cast an athletic looking young man and then put on padding for the older Ruth.

I save my real contempt for “It Happens Every Spring”, where Ray Milland portrays a scientist who cheats his way into the major leagues.
   32. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: August 11, 2019 at 08:00 AM (#5870279)
I save my real contempt for “It Happens Every Spring”, where Ray Milland portrays a scientist who cheats his way into the major leagues.

Don't be hatin'. This was one of my fave movies as a kid, and I'm still hoping for a re-make.

Why is there such a large percentage of complete grumps who write about baseball, relative to other sports?

Baseball is "The National Pastime" (tm), which makes it an easy target for those who want to prove how transgressive they are. "Sure, you mindless automatons love baseball, but I say it stinks! Worship me, pigs!"

Oh, and I loved "Field of Dreams". So there.
   33. Lassus Posted: August 11, 2019 at 08:34 AM (#5870281)
I didn't hate Field of Dreams, but I will cast my vote for a solid "meh".

I did love The Natural, though.
   34. Scott Lange Posted: August 11, 2019 at 09:19 AM (#5870282)
I’m going to go against the bbtf consensus and say I didn’t think Field of Dreams was a great movie. While I’m generally ok with the premise of a movie involving supernatural events, I thought this one went too far. It strained credulity that this guy would just accept all these crazy events happening. Like did Moonlight Graham just appear out of the ether?


Agreed. It's like in this play I went to see - the thing starts off with the main guy coming home because his dad died. But then, even though the dad is dead, he just keeps showing up! It strains credulity that the guy - "Hambone" or something ridiculous like that - would just accept it. I mean, did he just appear out of the ether?
   35. Howie Menckel Posted: August 11, 2019 at 10:15 AM (#5870287)
it's up to you, dear viewer

"Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the term “suspension of disbelief” in 1817, but almost two centuries would lapse before we could infer how the brain might support this puzzling phenomenon. Coleridge asked readers of his fantastical poems, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, to give him “that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.” That phrase, “poetic faith,” encapsulates what our brain is doing. It isn't that we stop disbelieving — it's that we believe two inconsistent things. We accept that we are sitting and reading or watching a movie. We also believe or, more accurately, feel that what we are reading or viewing is happening.

Being transported emotionally into an alternative reality helps us to invest more completely in a piece of fiction, no matter how unbelievable. Thus, we are able to believe in the supernatural occurrences in Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, the inhuman strength and speed of Superman, or the harrowing journey of a Hobbit in his quest to destroy an evil ring."

[or, you know, not]


Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within... y-you came this close. It would KILL some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they'd consider it a tragedy.

Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham: Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy.
   36. puck Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5870298)
Not a fan, though baseball movies are a tough sell for me - too hokey and why I like about baseball has never been nostalgia and fathers and sons type stuff.

I didn't hate Field of Dreams, but I will cast my vote for a solid "meh".


Co-sign. Though I've liked some baseball movies. And also the baseball themed episodes of Seinfeld.
   37. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 11, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5870325)
Moonlight Graham's brother, Frank Porter Graham, was an extremely influential president of the University of North Carolina system, a US Senator, and a major peace negotiator for the UN -- he successfully negotiated the Dutch exit from Indonesia, and was the main UN negotiator in Kashmir for a lot of years. He didn't fix that one, obviously, but he helped keep it from getting worse than it was. FPG was one of the greatest North Carolinians ever, and you could probably construct an argument that he's #1. (This would likely require one to have a very low opinion of James K Polk and to engage in a few other bits of mental gymnastics, but I think it can be done.) Anyway, it's interesting that FPG's brother has become in a way a symbol of frustrated achievement, at least until this turns around towards the end of the narrative. FPG himself was a paragon of public service in the old model, and so of course Moonlight was the same sort of man, albeit on a smaller scale.

I like the supernatural elements of Field of Dreams. There's a continuum that goes from realism through what we might call narratives of coincidence, through to magic realism and then various forms of speculative/fantasy narratives. FoD is deep into magic realism, but not yet through it into the realm of fantasy. I get why people don't like that sort of thing, but I did, and think it fits in with a ton of other narratives that contain similar amounts of fantastical elements.
   38. base ball chick Posted: August 11, 2019 at 02:20 PM (#5870328)
well, i'm not a father. or a son. or any sort of man for what that's worth. and my daddy didn't never play catch with any of my brothers

that said

i FIRST saw this movie with my mama. who absolutely HATED it. i was a kid and didn't get the talking to dead guys thing seeing as how it wasn't a cartoon. but mama was absolutely FURIOUS that the team, especially the guy who threw the WORLD SERIES!!! (really could there possibly be a worse crime on this planet???!!!) was the only reason that this guy never talked to his dad?

i got a lecture about joe jackson (EVULLL) - and, mind, my mama is VERY anti-owner and pro-player

i didn't see it again until i was grown. thought then and think now that it is one of the stupidest "baseball" movies EVAH.

now, i can get that father/son won't speak because son doesn't like daddy's favorite baseball player. i've seen relationships break up over even stupider shttttt. i can even get that a person could have as his favorite ballplayer a scumbag who threw the freaking WORLD SERIES!!! i mean, my second favorite ballplayer EVAH is barry lamar bonds who just might could have - can hardly type it - used, GASB - substances not available over the counter, unlike pretty much everyone else

but he's got a FAMILY to think about, and is apparently SO tight for money that plowing under a few acres out of thousands is gonna pretty much bankrupt them (and seriously, where are the mexicans???) and he puts them further into debt flying all over the place and letting his mexican-less farm go to heck? so his wife and little kidz gotta do all that work by their lonesome???

and why are the guys on the team that threw the freaking WORLD SERIES glorified? he doesn't so much as say - how the series EFF could youse guys do something like that????

and basically i agree with the rest of newberry's opinion. craig calcaterra wrote it much better BTW, i've never watched it again, and i've watched the 5 best movies so much i can quote the lines, just like a guy

the problem with most baseball movies is that most of the actors in them aren't as good at throwing or swinging a bat as most little leaguers. seriously. anthony perkins??? brendan frasier??? tim robbins??? john goodman???? tommy lee jones??? (who was a football ploayer and it shows) it doesn't even LOOK like baseball. at least corbin bernson and kevin costner obviously knew how to play and they brought in a few actual ex-ballplayers for major league and yes i DID like a real life closer playing a slugger but even HE knew how to hold a bat

except for the 5 best baseball movies, most baseball movies don't have much actual BASEBALL in them. i mean, except for the obvious unreal ones like the kid in angels in the OF. with field of dreams, you got a middle aged guy hallucinating. uck

people who aren't serious baseball fans like us got no idea whether joe jackson was from Da Bronx or not, or a righty or what. at least ray liotta was HOTT back then and what else matters to make a ballplayer into a HEEEEEro when he's a piece of shttt

from what i've read, actual ballplayers love bull durham and the sandlot and major league

and speaking of the sandlot - that is an incredibly better story about a boy and his dad (yeah, stepdad) bonding over baseball
   39. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 11, 2019 at 02:52 PM (#5870339)
Agreed. It's like in this play I went to see - the thing starts off with the main guy coming home because his dad died. But then, even though the dad is dead, he just keeps showing up! It strains credulity that the guy - "Hambone" or something ridiculous like that - would just accept it. I mean, did he just appear out of the ether?
Just as an FYI, you probably shouldn’t see The Sixth Sense.
   40. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 11, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5870358)
the problem with most baseball movies is that most of the actors in them aren't as good at throwing or swinging a bat as most little leaguers. seriously. anthony perkins??? brendan frasier??? tim robbins??? john goodman???? tommy lee jones??? (who was a football ploayer and it shows) it doesn't even LOOK like baseball. at least corbin bernson and kevin costner obviously knew how to play and they brought in a few actual ex-ballplayers for major league and yes i DID like a real life closer playing a slugger but even HE knew how to hold a bat

I'd ask for a coke, except both of us have been saying this for so long that I can't remember who said it first.

-----------------------------------------------------

Moonlight Graham's brother, Frank Porter Graham, was an extremely influential president of the University of North Carolina system, a US Senator, and a major peace negotiator for the UN -- he successfully negotiated the Dutch exit from Indonesia, and was the main UN negotiator in Kashmir for a lot of years. He didn't fix that one, obviously, but he helped keep it from getting worse than it was. FPG was one of the greatest North Carolinians ever, and you could probably construct an argument that he's #1.

Graham also lost his Senate seat in 1950 as the victim of a vicious smear campaign instigated by none other than Jesse Helms.

-----------------------------------------------------

I save my real contempt for “It Happens Every Spring”, where Ray Milland portrays a scientist who cheats his way into the major leagues.

I love how you describe an innocent doctoring of a baseball with a wood-avoiding chemical as "cheating". A clever batter would've simply countered the wily scientist by coating his bat with a thin metal layer.
   41. base ball chick Posted: August 11, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5870360)
sixth sense is SUPPOSED to be a ghost story - i mean, the movie tagline is - i see dead people

cmon

if it is a horror story, you expect dead people and gore. if it is a ghost story, you expect ghosts. if it is a fantasy like harvey, you expect invisible rabbits

if it is NOT supposed to be a horror or ghost story, then it is weird. the tag line is not - i see dead baseball players
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 11, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5870366)
Field of Dreams is SUPPOSED to be a magical realism story with supernatural elements.
   43. PreservedFish Posted: August 11, 2019 at 05:32 PM (#5870395)
Hamlet, however, is not supposed to be a ghost story. Just a ridiculous plot device! Try again, Shakespeare.
   44. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 11, 2019 at 10:13 PM (#5870422)
I tend to like magical realism, fwiw - that’s not my problem with the movie.

   45. Zach Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:19 PM (#5870433)
It strained credulity that this guy would just accept all these crazy events happening. Like did Moonlight Graham just appear out of the ether?

It's dream logic. Or, as others have pointed out, magical realism.

The point is that Costner doesn't know why he's doing the things he's doing, or why this is happening to him. Until suddenly, he does.
   46. Zach Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:35 PM (#5870434)
but mama was absolutely FURIOUS that the team, especially the guy who threw the WORLD SERIES!!! (really could there possibly be a worse crime on this planet???!!!) was the only reason that this guy never talked to his dad?

It's not really the reason he didn't talk to his dad, just like it's not really a baseball movie.

He hated his dad, so he dissed his dad's favorite player. Then his dad died before he could say he was sorry.

The whole story is about him getting a magical second chance.
   47. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:37 PM (#5870435)

I liked but didn't love Field of Dreams, and I have a great relationship with my father, but I still choked up a bit when Costner plays catch with his dad. The Moonlight Graham scenes are classic but the rest of the movie is just okay.

I loved Bull Durham. And I really loved Major League.

at least corbin bernson and kevin costner obviously knew how to play and they brought in a few actual ex-ballplayers for major league and yes i DID like a real life closer playing a slugger but even HE knew how to hold a bat

Charlie Sheen was a good HS player who claims he had a scholarship offer to play for U of Kansas. There's some disagreement about how good he really was, but he knew what he was doing out there.
   48. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:41 PM (#5870437)

I did love The Natural, though.

They shouldn't have changed the ending from the book.
   49. Zach Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:50 PM (#5870438)
The structure of the movie is basically a quest, but it has the clever wrinkle of not telling you what the quest is about until the last scene. He earns the right to forgive his father by... forgiving his father.

He sets things right that were wrong in the world. He gives Shoeless Joe a chance to play the game he had been barred from playing. He gave Moonlight Graham the major league at bat he never got. And that earns him the right to correct the thing that was wrong in *his* world, which is why the last scene has so much impact.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:53 PM (#5870440)
Zach gets it.
   51. Zach Posted: August 11, 2019 at 11:59 PM (#5870441)
They shouldn't have changed the ending from the book.

The Natural, along with The Horse Whisperer, are two cases where the Hollywood ending is a vast improvement on the orignal material.

The problem with the book ending is that it turns everything into a shaggy dog story. It's all a setup to a very familiar quote that we know of from another context ("Say it ain't so!"). The Hollywood ending is much more unique and memorable.
   52. Zach Posted: August 12, 2019 at 01:31 AM (#5870444)
As for why it had to be Shoeless Joe that Costner finds in the cornfield:

His dad was a minor leaguer who never made it to the major leagues (I'm pretty sure; it's been forever since I've seen the movie). That's the hole in his life. It's why he could never bond with his son.

His favorite player is a guy who had baseball taken away from him because of the Black Sox scandal.

Moonlight Graham is a guy who had the major leagues dangled in front of him, only to be taken away.

All three men were denied the same thing, in different ways.

In order to forgive his father, Costner has to develop empathy for him by giving the other two men the same thing his father was denied. Only then is he ready to bring his father back.
   53. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 07:08 AM (#5870452)

The Hollywood ending is much more unique and memorable.

Memorable, yes. Unique, no.
   54. I Knew A Guy Who Knew A Guy Who Knew Rey Ordonez Posted: August 12, 2019 at 07:57 AM (#5870453)
Or there are a million cornfields between Dubuque and Dyersville. Some farmer somewhere is going to let people park on his fallow field for $10 an axel for the night.


If they're not selling parking at Beckman Catholic HS, about 5 minutes away, for an arm and a leg, cash only to all comers, it's not the Catholic Church I grew up in.

Also, there's a McDonald's, some gas stations, and not a whole lot more in Dyersville. It's a great Iowa small town, but what made it great for the movie makes it awful for a big league cash gr- exhibition game.
   55. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 12, 2019 at 08:47 AM (#5870458)

The point is that Costner doesn't know why he's doing the things he's doing, or why this is happening to him. Until suddenly, he does.


John Kinsella: Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: It's — it's Iowa.
John Kinsella: I could have sworn it was heaven.
Ray: Is there a heaven?
John Kinsella: Oh, yeah. It's the place where dreams come true.
Ray: Maybe this is heaven.


The movie's manifesto is kind of laid bare. (Somewhere there's a gritty reboot being written where Ray is in denial about what his maniacal pursuit of his father's memory has done to his family and livelihood, and everything but the first 10 minutes is happening in his head . . .)

Also a great James Horner score, from when James Horner did great scores on a regular basis.
   56. bunyon Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:17 AM (#5870467)
I think most/many folks who dislike Field of Dreams expect and want a movie about baseball. But it isn’t, as outlined above. And those are hard to do when real baseball is freely available everywhere. If you want baseball, watch baseball. Movies with baseball being played are about something else.

Don’t like how bad actors are at playing baseball? They’re about as good at that as they are being doctors or lawyers or scientists. You just don’t watch these professions as a hobby.
   57. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5870475)
Costner is not a good actor, but he was pretty good in Fandango, No Way Out, Bull Durham, Upside of Anger, and Perfect World.

I liked him in Open Range, Thirteen Days, Mr. Brooks, Untouchables, and Tin Cup.

He is ok in a bunch of others. He needs the right script and the right role. He is truly awful in a bunch too.


Just about right.
   58. Rusty Priske Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:45 AM (#5870478)
Field of Dreams is a wonderful movie. That doesn't mean great.

As for Costner, he has the range of a toaster. However, as long as he is playing THAT guy, he is good. Field of Dreams is right in his wheelhouse.
   59. Wayne Newton's pet monkey (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:48 AM (#5870479)
I'm a big fan of Field of Dreams, though I approach it more as a fantasy; the baseball elements are just icing on the cake.

There's also the fact that, no, I never got to play catch with my dad. (As I've mentioned more than once, he died just before I turned 8, so almost a year before I started little league & paid the slightest attention to the sport, & even before then he was hardly ever around. I haven't the slightest idea of whether he had any interest in baseball or any other sport, but I do recall that he bought me my first pack of baseball cards when I was in first grade, so during the 1965 school year. I remember mistaking the Yankees' "NY" for tally marks, which we'd just learned about.

I also remember, the summer after he died, wanting to play catch with my mom, & her weeping over the phone to probably my great-aunt about it. That is ... not a fond memory.)
   60. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5870485)
F of D was manipulative cucka doodie! And poo poo! And cucka!
   61. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5870486)
[56] I’ve found that my favorite baseball movies have been the ones about real baseball events like Pride of the Yankees, Pride of St. Louis, *61, Eight Men Out, Moneyball, and The Rookie. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy some of the entirely fictional movies like Sandlot, Major League, Mr. Baseball and Sugar.
   62. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5870487)
In the book, Ray Kinsella was in a coma, and the whole movie was his fever dream. Costner chose to ignore that part.
   63. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5870492)
Don’t like how bad actors are at playing baseball? They’re about as good at that as they are being doctors or lawyers or scientists. You just don’t watch these professions as a hobby.

That's a silly comparison, unless by that you mean that movies about (say) lawyers only depict their most sensational cases, and don't show the many hours of preparation that go into every hour spent in court.

If there's a problem with movies portraying those other professions, it's that they tend either to glorify or demonize them. Whereas with actors playing baseball players, the problem is a lot more basic: In their semi-spastic bat swinging and/or throwing motions, they come across like Americans trying to speak a foreign language that they just learned from a 20 page book.

That doesn't bother me in baseball movies that are openly absurd, like the aforementioned It Happens Every Spring, or even better, the magnificently clownish Death on the Diamond, but Fields of Dreams isn't like that at all. If the film had presented the underlying story with tongue in cheek, I'd have a different reaction, but instead it comes across as little more than a soap opera set on a baseball diamond, and you're right, that's just not my cup of tea. YMMV.
   64. Wayne Newton's pet monkey (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:17 AM (#5870493)
[56] I’ve found that my favorite baseball movies have been the ones about real baseball events like Pride of the Yankees, Pride of St. Louis, *61, Eight Men Out,


My favorite baseball movie, & one of my favorite films, period. It doesn't hurt that John Sayles is my favorite actor & David Strathairn my favorite actor.
   65. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5870500)
If there's a problem with movies portraying those other professions, it's that they tend either to glorify or demonize them. Whereas with actors playing baseball players, the problem is a lot more basic: In their semi-spastic bat swinging and/or throwing motions, they come across like Americans trying to speak a foreign language that they just learned from a 20 page book.


Movies portraying business/finance people are often about that accurate, but that's usually more on the writers than the actors. I guess "I'm launching a takeover bid for your company. Now there's a months-long period of SEC filings and actions followed by a lengthy anti-trust review before we can close the deal and fire you" isn't as dramatic as all of that happening during one board meeting.
   66. JJ1986 Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5870511)
Whereas with actors playing baseball players, the problem is a lot more basic: In their semi-spastic bat swinging and/or throwing motions, they come across like Americans trying to speak a foreign language that they just learned from a 20 page book.
This is the same for computer usage in most films/tv.
   67. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5870541)
The Hollywood ending is much more unique

"More (or less) unique" is an oxymoron. Something is either unique, or it isn't.

Carry on.
   68. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5870545)
check out the comic strip Frazz, which centers around an elementary school janitor who for whatever reason spends much of his leisure time hanging around 10 year old boys and girls.


His name wouldn't be "Epstein," would it?

Too soon?
   69. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5870548)
It doesn't hurt that John Sayles is my favorite actor & David Strathairn my favorite actor.


That's going to be one hell of a fight, just sayin' ...
   70. bunyon Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5870550)
Movies portraying business/finance people are often about that accurate, but that's usually more on the writers than the actors. I guess "I'm launching a takeover bid for your company. Now there's a months-long period of SEC filings and actions followed by a lengthy anti-trust review before we can close the deal and fire you" isn't as dramatic as all of that happening during one board meeting.



Whereas with actors playing baseball players, the problem is a lot more basic: In their semi-spastic bat swinging and/or throwing motions, they come across like Americans trying to speak a foreign language that they just learned from a 20 page book.
This is the same for computer usage in most films/tv.


Right. The reason you don't like how actors look playing baseball is because you know what great baseball players look like. People who have never watched baseball don't mind a bit.

   71. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5870551)
Since a movie thread: there's an old comedy where some player is on a streak, and his superstitious teammates are conspiring to keep him away from his wife or girlfriend. Anyone know what that was?
   72. Wayne Newton's pet monkey (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5870552)
It doesn't hurt that John Sayles is my favorite actor & David Strathairn my favorite actor.

That's going to be one hell of a fight, just sayin' ...


Duh. Sayles is my favorite director, that is. Though he's done a perfectly decent job in his acting spots as well, including as Ring Lardner in 8 Men Out.

And a very good writer as well. Pride of the Bimbos is a fun baseball novel.
   73. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: August 12, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5870565)
72 posts and no one has mentioned The Bad News Bears (the original with Matthau, obvs), so I guess I gotta do it.
   74. SoSH U at work Posted: August 12, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5870569)
Since a movie thread: there's an old comedy where some player is on a streak, and his superstitious teammates are conspiring to keep him away from his wife or girlfriend.


It sounds like The Slugger's Wife, except they want to keep the guy (Danny Noonan) with his wife (the woman from Risky Business), since he got hot when they got together. It's typically high on the list of worst baseball movies.

I like FoD and loved Eight Men Out. I also think the original BNB is comfortably the best baseball movie, and I'm eternally mystified by the love here for Major League, a lightweight comedy where basically every character and plot point was done earlier by a better sports movie.

Edit: Just a few seconds late for Michaelplank.

   75. Rusty Priske Posted: August 12, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5870583)
In the book, Ray Kinsella was in a coma, and the whole movie was his fever dream. Costner chose to ignore that part.


Wait... what?
   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5870597)
72 posts and no one has mentioned The Bad News Bears (the original with Matthau, obvs), so I guess I gotta do it.

Best baseball movie ever, to my reckoning.
   77. Lest we forget Posted: August 12, 2019 at 01:53 PM (#5870615)
I loved The Natural, Hollywood liberties and all.

Bull Durham - great!

I fall into the category of 'I*m grateful they MADE a film about baseball'.
   78. OsunaSakata Posted: August 12, 2019 at 01:58 PM (#5870616)
The best use of the Field of Dreams was after the last game at Memorial Stadium. Starting with Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, and Jim Palmer, former Orioles jogged out to their positions as the music played. The internet says there were 119 in all at the end. The Orioles were in the fortunate position that, not counting 1901-1902, there were only 48 years of history. Most of the players were still alive and, from the distance of most fans, still looked good in their old uniforms. It was like Field of Dreams in that players of different eras magically appeared at the same time. Now you can come pretty close playing OOTP.
   79. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: August 12, 2019 at 02:03 PM (#5870619)
Duh. Sayles is my favorite director, that is.


Love 'em both.

72 posts and no one has mentioned The Bad News Bears (the original with Matthau, obvs), so I guess I gotta do it.


Can I just say how much I love the fact that Matthau was a thing when he was a thing?

Pelham 1-2-3???

How in the #### was he ever a leading man?
   80. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: August 12, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5870625)
Wait... what?


I know!

Can I just say how much I love the fact that Matthau was a thing when he was a thing?

Pelham 1-2-3???

How in the #### was he ever a leading man?


Being sardonic is always attractive. I guess.
   81. Moeball Posted: August 12, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5870655)
Speaking of bad baseball, just saw Whistling in Brooklyn, a really awful old Red Skelton vehicle. A couple of cameos from actual Dodgers - Leo Durocher was in it and I think Dolph Camilli, too, but the baseball scenes with Skelton are beyond atrocious. Downright painful to watch.

I liked Joe Don Baker's portrayal of The Whammer in The Natural. Thought he did a good job of capturing The Babe's swagger and attitude.
   82. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: August 12, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5870664)
I liked Joe Don Baker's portrayal of The Whammer in The Natural. Thought he did a good job of capturing The Babe's swagger and attitude.


Didn't he bat "righty" in that?
   83. Tin Angel Posted: August 12, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5870669)
If they're not selling parking at Beckman Catholic HS, about 5 minutes away, for an arm and a leg, cash only to all comers, it's not the Catholic Church I grew up in.


I played baseball and went to high school there. Was also in the high school marching band and was forced to march in the parade through town shortly after Field of Dreams came out (carrying a huge bass drum for miles in upper 90's summer heat and humidity in full band regalia, including cummerbund, thick wool coat, hat, and uncomfortable dress shoes will always be a fond memory).

The high school might be the biggest parking lot in the town and probably fits 300 cars at the most. People will have to come from Dubuque but as noted it's a a short drive. Pretty nature in the area too around the Mississippi, lots of hills and scenic views. Galena is just a bit farther out, with more hotels, golf resorts, etc.
   84. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 12, 2019 at 05:19 PM (#5870674)
I'm eternally mystified by the love here for Major League, a lightweight comedy where basically every character and plot point was done earlier by a better sports movie.


1. The jokes ("this guy's dead")
2. The music (Randy Newman)
3. The iconic scenes (the pajamas tryout, the winning streak, Jo-Bu, "Wild Thing"), and of course,
4. Bob Uecker
   85. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: August 12, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5870675)
1. The jokes ("this guy's dead")


Well cross him off the list!
   86. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: August 12, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5870676)
1. The jokes ("this guy's dead")


Well cross him off the list!
   87. Wayne Newton's pet monkey (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 05:53 PM (#5870683)
No mention of Rhubarb? Feh!
   88. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:09 PM (#5870770)
Whereas with actors playing baseball players, the problem is a lot more basic: In their semi-spastic bat swinging and/or throwing motions, they come across like Americans trying to speak a foreign language that they just learned from a 20 page book.

Right. The reason you don't like how actors look playing baseball is because you know what great baseball players look like. People who have never watched baseball don't mind a bit.


The problem is that "This is a baseball movie for people who don't know anything about baseball" doesn't sound like much of an advertisement for a movie about.......baseball.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The best use of the Field of Dreams was after the last game at Memorial Stadium. Starting with Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, and Jim Palmer, former Orioles jogged out to their positions as the music played. The internet says there were 119 in all at the end. The Orioles were in the fortunate position that, not counting 1901-1902, there were only 48 years of history. Most of the players were still alive and, from the distance of most fans, still looked good in their old uniforms. It was like Field of Dreams in that players of different eras magically appeared at the same time. Now you can come pretty close playing OOTP.

And for a fitting ending to the 70 win 1991 Orioles, Memorial Stadium's final play was Cal hitting into a DP. Ironic, since that was his best year.
   89. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:17 PM (#5870774)
   90. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:21 PM (#5870776)
1. The jokes ("this guy's dead")

"You telling me that Jesus Christ can't hit a curve ball?!?!"
   91. Hank Gillette Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:49 PM (#5870789)
Another unmentioned movie is Damn Yankees. I guess technically Joe Hardy was cheating, but at least he had to sell his soul to become a star baseball player. It doesn’t bother me nearly as much as It Happens Every Spring.
   92. Greg Pope Posted: August 12, 2019 at 09:56 PM (#5870790)
Right. The reason you don't like how actors look playing baseball is because you know what great baseball players look like. People who have never watched baseball don't mind a bit.

It's just that when it's an athletic thing, it's on the actors to make it look realistic. For doctors/lawyers, it's not the actor, it's the writers. Is it Hugh Laurie's fault that the writers say that a 2-week test comes back in 1 hour? That's not an acting problem.

The analogy would be if the actors were acting out a surgery and made an incision by just stabbing the scalpel straight into the leg.
   93. Zach Posted: August 12, 2019 at 10:56 PM (#5870808)
(Somewhere there's a gritty reboot being written where Ray is in denial about what his maniacal pursuit of his father's memory has done to his family and livelihood, and everything but the first 10 minutes is happening in his head . . .)

I was just thinking this morning that Close Encounters of the Third Kind kind of has the same plot line. Man has mystical encounter that causes him to tear apart his family and livelihood in pursuit of a religious experience. Many doubt him, but he's vindicated in the end. Which goes to show you that plot isn't everything.
   94. Zach Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:09 PM (#5870812)
"More (or less) unique" is an oxymoron. Something is either unique, or it isn't.

Disagree.

Many movies have done the "hit a dramatic home run to win the pennant" ending. Heck, the Giants did it in real life, the plagiarists. But the exploding lights was a lovely and unique touch.

I don't know if any movie has done the "say it ain't so!" ending. Maybe Eight Men Out? I don't remember. But it's a distinctive and memorable phrase that's inseparable from a real life event. Having that line as the climax of your movie is derivative, even if strictly speaking audiences haven't seen it before.
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: August 12, 2019 at 11:16 PM (#5870814)
More (or less) unique" is an oxymoron. Something is either unique, or it isn't.

Disagree.

it's a grammar issue, not "how cool was the ending?"

can be attacked as pedantry, I suppose. But the ending of "The Natural" either was unique, or it wasn't.
   96. The Run Fairy Posted: August 13, 2019 at 12:23 AM (#5870828)
Since a movie thread: there's an old comedy where some player is on a streak, and his superstitious teammates are conspiring to keep him away from his wife or girlfriend.


That's the plot of the Joe E. Brown movie Elmer the Great.
   97. rr: target market for blowhard nonsense Posted: August 13, 2019 at 01:08 AM (#5870835)
FoD: I can get people not liking the vibe--fantasy/schmaltz/Baby Boomers. But I thought it executed what it set out to do very well, and Lancaster (my Dad's favorite actor and the reason my Mom and Dad have seen it a few times) made the movie for me. And I agree--Costner was playing a variant of his regular guy/hero guy, and it worked. Zach's posts about it in this thread are good.
Bull Durham: Robbins's klutziness did not bother me; as bunyon suggested, I was watching a movie, not a baseball game, and I thought Robbins was excellent as Nuke off the mound. I thought the script was excellent because it conveyed both Annie's and Crash's POVs and experiences very well, even though Annie had the voiceovers.
The Natural: The cinematography, set design, Brimley, Farnsworth, and Baker, plus the Newman score, made it worth the ride for me, although I was not/am not that into Redford or Basinger as actors.
Major League: Not my kind of thing but fun. I liked Berenger in it, and I got a kick out of Pete Vuckovich as the villainous slugging 1B for the Yankees.
   98. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: August 13, 2019 at 03:59 AM (#5870846)
A League of Their Own has a great early Hans Zimmer score, too. A lot of good music in baseball movies. I'll have to give For the Love of the Game another try some day to see how that fits in.
   99. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 13, 2019 at 04:45 AM (#5870847)
Elmer the Great.


Thank you!
   100. Hank Gillette Posted: August 13, 2019 at 05:36 AM (#5870849)
I was just thinking this morning that Close Encounters of the Third Kind kind of has the same plot line. Man has mystical encounter that causes him to tear apart his family and livelihood in pursuit of a religious experience. Many doubt him, but he's vindicated in the end. Which goes to show you that plot isn't everything.


Off topic, I recently watched CE3 recently for the first time since it came out, and it’s not a very good movie, because there is no logic to the plot, and the premise is ridiculous.

What is the motivation of the aliens? Why do they kidnap people over time, and then return them at the same age as when they were abducted? Why especially, do they abduct the little boy only days before they make contact?

Why do the aliens make some people obsessive about the contact location? How is it that the government knows about the contact location and sets up a huge welcoming committee without being obsessed?

“Einstein was right!” What the hell does that even mean? Is he implying that the aliens were zipping around at light speed between the times they were buzzing people like Roy or abducting people? In that case, none of the Navy pilots would have been with the aliens more than a few days, so they would have nothing to offer at their debriefings.

Some of the scenes are still compelling, but none of it makes much sense.
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