Movie Review By Alex Lau
The best sports movies are ones that carry simple, but powerful, themes beyond just the action on the field. One of the best in this genre is the 1989 classic "Field of Dreams," starring Kevin Costner.
Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a man who hears a voice telling him, "If you build it, he will come." This leads him down a path full of mystery, magic, and baseball, culminating in the discovery of the real meaning of the original command.
Based on the book "Shoeless Joe" by W.P. Kinsella, "Field of Dreams" taps into the American mythology surrounding baseball, the power of wish fulfillment, and the bonds between fathers and sons.
Sure, it's on the sappy side. What do you expect, James Horner wrote the musical score. But how many other films could turn the story of a baseball player from 70 or 80 years ago into a personal search for paternal gratification?
After making "Bull Durham" the year before, Costner solidified his budding career with a solid, understated turn as Ray Kinsella. James Earl Jones is a scene-stealer as Terence Mann, a former activist writer who acts suspiciously like J.D. Salinger. Amy Madigan, Burt Lancaster, Tim Busfield, and Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson make up the rest of the strong supporting cast.
In a recent USA Today reader poll, "Field of Dreams" was rated the second favorite sports movie of all time, behind only "Hoosiers." It's at the top of my list. If you rent it, you'll be glad.
© 1998 - Alex Lau - Air Date: 8/5/98
"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index
"Movie Magazine International" Home Page