.

Field of Dreams

Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, Tommy Lee Jones, James Earl Jones

Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
April 21, 1989

"If you build it, he will come." Huh? Kevin Costner is hearing voices. The Bull Durham stud is playing a foursquare Iowa farmer this time. He's the kind of average Joe that Jimmy Stewart embodied in such vintage Frank Capra corn as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life. In Field of Dreams, adapted by director Phil Alden Robinson from the 1982 W.P. Kinsella novel Shoeless Joe, Costner is homebody Ray Kinsella. That's his wife, an endearingly feisty Amy Madigan, and his daughter, seven-year-old Gaby Hoffman, up there on the porch swing. It's the Eighties, and they're not chewing on straw, but you get the picture. Ray is out in the cornfields, cocking an ear to a disembodied message that advises transforming his farm and sole source of income into a baseball field for which there doesn't seem much call. "Did you hear that?" he asks his family. Two heads shake in unison. Ray's got problems.

So does the movie. A dedicated cast acts out this gooey fable in deadly earnest. I lost my resistance to hoot just after Ray builds the field and the late Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) shows up to play ball with seven ghostly teammates. They're the eight members of the Chicago Black Sox who were exiled from baseball after being accused of throwing the 1919 World Series for a bribe. For a while, it appears Ray's mission will be to whiten the reputations of the soiled Sox.

But no. There's that voice again. "Ease his pain," comes the command. But whose? At first Ray thinks it's a Sixties author turned recluse, patterned on J.D. Salinger but played by non-look-alike James Earl Jones. Then Ray is convinced it's a small-town sawbones (Burt Lancaster) who played one inning with the New York Giants before taking up medicine and dying an old man in 1972. Or it could be Ray's long-dead dad whose passion for baseball drove a wedge between father and son.

I won't spoil the outcome for those who know that, whatever the critics say, this is their kind of movie. To be honest, I started hearing things, too. Just when Jones was delivering an inexcusably sappy speech about baseball being "a symbol of all that was once good in America," I heard the words "If he keeps talking, I'm walking." Okay, it was just some disgruntled smartass behind me. But as Dreams drags on, that voice remains one well worth taking to heart.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Fantasy”

    Mariah Carey | 1995

    Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com