Canadian author W.P. Kinsella passed away on September 16. I’m not a big baseball fan but my friend is and he loved Kinsella’s stories because a lot of them focused on baseball. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe was adapted into the 1989 movie Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner.
Costner stars as Ray Kinsella a farmer in Iowa who while walking through his corn field hears a voice whisper “If you build it, he will come.” He hears it a few more times before he has a vision about a baseball field. He tears up his corn field and builds a baseball field and waits. His brother-in-law thinks he’s crazy but eventually Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of the Chicago White Sox players who was part of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal where the players initially lost the World Series, appears in the field. Joe at first can only be seen by Costner. Joe asks if he can bring other players and soon the rest of the White Sox involved in the scandal show up to play.
Costner hears a voice tell him to “ease his pain”. He then goes in search of a writer named Terence Mann (James Earl Jones). Originally in the novel it was J.D. Salinger but Salinger threatened to sue if the filmmakers used his name. They then go looking for Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, a baseball player from 1922 who never got a turn at bat and became a doctor instead. Eventually all of this magically realism leads to Costner to address an issue with his late father.
Field of Dreams is a pretty good movie, kind of one of those movies that Hollywood never really makes and when they try it gets a schmaltzy and corny – see the vast list of Disney sports films from the last 10 years. I started working on the next issue movie listings and I noticed that all this month Cineplex Theatres were randomly playing Field of Dreams as part of their Classic Film Series. Today is the last day and the only showing has already started by the time you read this sadly. You can always find the film on streaming or on TV or you could do something radical and read W.P. Kinsella’s book.