For this week’s “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something in the topic of “MOVIES” and go with “Field of Dreams“. This movie was released in 1989, and was one that I think almost everyone enjoyed.
“Field of Dreams” was one that of course my family loved when I was younger, since they were so into baseball. Then with some of the great actors, that were in the movie and the story behind it, it really made you smile!
If, for some reason, you are of an age that makes it difficult to remember the “Field of Dreams” movie, here’s a preview of what it was about:
Did you ever watch the “Field of Dreams” movie when you were younger? or have you seen it on TV or Netflix later in life? Let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any memories of it in your life!
More Info on the Movie:
Field of Dreams is a 1989 American fantasy-drama film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, who also wrote the screenplay, adapting W. P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe. It stars Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster in his final role. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
Ray Kinsella is a novice Iowa farmer who lives with his wife Annie and daughter Karin. In the opening narration, Ray explains how he had a troubled relationship with his father, John Kinsella, who had been a devoted baseball fan. While walking through his cornfield one evening, Ray hears a voice whispering, “If you build it, he will come.” Ray continues hearing the voice before finally seeing a vision of a baseball diamond in his field. Annie is skeptical of his vision, but she allows Ray to plow the corn under in order to build a baseball field. As Ray builds the field, he tells Karin the story of baseball’s 1919 Black Sox Scandal. As months pass and nothing happens at the field, Ray’s family faces financial ruin until, one night, Karin spots a uniformed man in the field. Ray recognizes the man as Shoeless Joe Jackson, a deceased baseball player idolized by Ray’s father. Thrilled to be able to play baseball again, Joe asks to bring others to the field to play. He later returns with the seven other players banned as a result of the 1919 scandal.
Ray’s brother-in-law, Mark, cannot see the baseball players and warns Ray that he will go bankrupt unless he replants his crops. While in the field, Ray hears the voice again, this time urging him to “ease his pain.”
Ray attends a PTA meeting at which the possible banning of books by radical author Terence Mann is discussed. Ray decides the voice was referring to Mann. Ray comes across a magazine interview dealing with Mann’s childhood dream of playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After Ray and Ann both dream about Ray and Mann attending a baseball game together at Fenway Park, Ray convinces his wife that he should seek out Mann. Ray heads to Boston and persuades a reluctant, embittered Mann to attend a game with him at Fenway. While at the ballpark, Ray again hears the voice; this time urging him to “go the distance.” At the same time, the scoreboard “shows” statistics for a player named Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, who played one game for the New York Giants in 1922, but never had a turn at bat. After leaving the game, Mann eventually admits that he, too, saw the scoreboard vision.
Ray and Mann then travel to Chisholm, Minnesota where they learn that Graham had become a doctor and had died sixteen years earlier. During a late night walk, Ray finds himself in 1972 and encounters the then-living Graham, who states that he had moved on from his baseball career. He also tells Ray that the greater disappointment would have been not having a medical career. Graham declines Ray’s invitation to fulfill his dream; however, during the drive back to Iowa, Ray picks up a young hitchhiker who introduces himself as Archie Graham. While Archie sleeps, Ray reveals to Mann that he had denounced Shoeless Joe as a criminal to his father and that was the reason for the rift between father and son. After the fight, Ray refused to play catch with his father; something that he now regrets. When the three arrive back at Ray’s farm, they find that enough players have arrived to field two teams. A game is played and Archie finally gets his turn at bat.
The next morning, Mark returns and demands that Ray sell the farm. Karin says that they will not need to sell because people will pay to watch the ball games. Mann agrees, saying that “people will come” in order to relive their childhood innocence. Ray, after much thought, refuses to sell and a frustrated Mark scuffles with him. Karin is accidentally knocked off the bleachers during the scuffle. The young Graham runs from the diamond to help, becoming old “Doc” Graham the instant he steps off of the field, and saves Karin from choking. Ray realizes that Graham sacrificed his young self in order to save Ray’s daughter. After reassuring Ray that his true calling was medicine and being commended by the other players, Graham leaves. Suddenly, Mark is able to see the players and urges Ray not to sell the farm.
After the game, Shoeless Joe invites Mann to enter the cornfield; Mann accepts and disappears into the corn. Ray is angry at not being invited, but Joe rebukes him: if Ray really wants a reward for having sacrificed so much, then Ray had better stay on the field. Joe then glances towards home plate, saying “If you build it, he will come”. The catcher then removes his mask, and Ray recognizes him to be his father as a young man. Shocked, Ray realizes that “ease his pain” referred to John Kinsella, and believes that Joe was the voice all along; however, Joe implies that it was Ray himself.
Ray introduces his father to Annie and Karin. As his father heads towards the cornfield, Ray asks him if he wants to have a game of catch. They begin to play and Annie happily watches. Meanwhile, hundreds of cars can be seen approaching the baseball field, fulfilling Karin and Mann’s prophecy that people will come to watch baseball.
Some of the Characters:
Kevin Costner (Ray Kinsella) was born in Lynwood, California, on January 18, 1955, the third child of Bill Costner, a ditch digger and ultimately an electric line servicer for Southern California Edison, and Sharon Costner, a welfare worker. His father’s job required him to move regularly, which caused Kevin to feel like an Army kid, always the new kid at school, which led to him being a daydreamer. As a teen, he sang in the Baptist church choir, wrote poetry, and took writing classes. At 18, he built his own canoe and paddled his way down the rivers that Lewis & Clark followed to the Pacific. Despite his present height, he was only 5’2″ when he graduated high school. Nonetheless, he still managed to be a basketball, football and baseball star. In 1973, he enrolled at California State University at Fullerton, where he majored in business. During that period, Kevin decided to take acting lessons five nights a week. He graduated with a business degree in 1978 and married his college sweetheart, Cindy Costner. He initially took a marketing job in Orange County. Everything changed when he accidentally met Richard Burton on a flight from Mexico. Burton advised him to go completely after acting if that is what he wanted. He quit his job and moved to Hollywood soon after. He drove a truck, worked on a deep sea fishing boat, and gave bus tours to stars’ homes before finally making his own way into the films. After making one soft core sex film, he vowed to not work again if that was the only work he could do. He didn’t work for nearly six years, while he waited for a proper break. That break came with The Big Chill (1983), even though his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor — he was remembered by director Lawrence Kasdan when he decided to make Silverado (1985). Costner’s career took off after that.
Amy Madigan (Annie Kinsella) was born September 11, 1950. She is an American actress, producer, and singer. Her film appearances include Places in the Heart (1984), Field of Dreams (1989), Uncle Buck (1989), Pollock (2000), and Gone Baby Gone (2007). She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1985 film Twice in a Lifetime. She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television and was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her portrayal of Sarah Weddington in the 1989 television film Roe vs. Wade.
James Earl Jones (Terence Mann) was born on January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA. At an early age, he started to take dramatic lessons to calm himself down. It appeared to work as he has since starred in many films over a 40-year period, beginning with the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). He is probably best known for his role as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy (for the voice only, as the man in the Darth Vader suit was David Prowse, whose voice was dubbed because of his British West Country accent). He has appeared on the animated series The Simpsons (1989) three times and played Mufasa in The Lion King (1994). James Earl Jones returned as the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005).
Ray Liotta (Shoeless Joe Jackson) was born December 18, 1954. He is an American actor, film producer, and voice actor. Intense is the word for Ray Liotta. He specializes in psychopathic characters who hide behind a cultivated charm. Even in his nice guy roles in Field of Dreams (1989) and Operation Dumbo Drop (1995), you get the impression that something is smoldering inside of him. Liotta maintains a steady stream of work, completing multiple projects per year. Liotta was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was adopted by Mary, a township clerk, and Alfred Liotta, an auto parts store owner. He studied acting at the University of Miami, where he became friends with Steven Bauer (Scarface (1983), Thief of Hearts (1984)). He spent his first years acting in TV: Another World (1964), a TV movie and several short-lived series. He broke into movies with the black comedy Something Wild (1986), which garnered him rave reviews. Originally unable to get a reading, he was recommended for the part by Melanie Griffith (then married to Bauer). After the success of “Something Wild” he received more offers in the “psycho” vein, but refused them to avoid being typecast. Instead, he made “little movies” like Dominick and Eugene (1988) (which earned him standing as an actor’s actor) and Field of Dreams (1989) (whose success still surprises him). When he heard that Martin Scorsese was casting Goodfellas (1990), he lobbied hard for the part of Henry Hill. The film’s huge success brought him wide popularity and enabled him to get star billing in future films (Article 99 (1992), Unlawful Entry (1992), Unforgettable (1996)).
Did You Know?
Audiences responded to test screenings of the movie saying the name Shoeless Joe reminded them of a hobo. With trepidation, Robinson called Kinsella to tell him that the movie’s name was being changed to Field of Dreams. Kinsella was okay with it, since one of his own ideas for his book title was The Dream Field, only for his publisher to decide on Shoeless Joe.
Costner was the first actor to come to Robinson’s mind to play Ray, but he had just starred in Bull Durham, another baseball movie. A Universal executive got Costner to read the script anyway, and he decided to do it because he felt it would be akin to It’s a Wonderful Life.
Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were extras. Damon was 17 years old and Affleck turned 16 during the summer of 1988, when the film shot on location for the scenes in Fenway Park. More than a decade later Affleck would star in Robinson’s The Sum of All Fears; on the first day of shooting, he reportedly told Robinson: “Nice working with you again.”
People misquote the voice all the time. The actual quote is: “If you build it, he will come,” not “If you build it, they will come.” It’s a common mistake. The line was ranked number 39 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time.
Jimmy Stewart was the first choice to play Graham. Stewart passed on the role. Burt Lancaster himself initially didn’t “get it,” but was convinced by a friend to do it. In Roger Ebert’s four-star review of the movie, he said Field of Dreams was “the kind of movie Frank Capra might have directed and James Stewart might have starred in.”
The filming schedule was based on the height of the corn. The corn had to be Kevin Costner’s height (he’s listed as 6’1″) or taller when the voice first spoke to him. With a thumbs up from the state of Iowa, filmmakers dammed a nearby creek to make sure the corn had enough water. It worked almost too well; when Costner first hears “If you build it, he will come,” he had to walk on a foot-high platform. Just in case the creek damming failed, fake corn from Asia was on standby to be shipped in.
Thousands of pallets of green grass were brought in to make the baseball field, but due to the haste in planting because of the shooting schedule, the grass was not able to grow appropriately and died. In order to keep the grass green, the production crew painted the grass.
The studio built the baseball diamond on an actual farm in Dyersville, Iowa. After the filming was completed, the family owning the farm kept the field, and added a small hut where you could buy inexpensive souvenirs. As of 2012, visitors were free to come to the field and play baseball as they please.
“The Final Shot” was a big community event, enlisting 1,500 volunteers to drive for the last scene. For only a brief time could the headlights and also the blue of the sky be shown in one shot. The first take was too bright. On the second shot the lighting was perfect, but the camera f-stop was messed up. Just before the third and final shot, the director realized that as with any heavy traffic, most of the cars weren’t moving. They would just look like lights on posts. He relayed a quick instruction through the local radio station: flash your high beams on and off. Though the cars are not moving, this simulated the appearance of lights passing behind obstructions to perfect effect.
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