WHAT: "Field of Dreams."
KEY PERFORM- ERS: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones.
RATING: PG. Mild profanity.
WHERE: Southroads, Eton Square.
"Field of Dreams" is bound to be the love-it-or-hate-it
movie of the year. The sides are as clearly drawn as the
lines of the baseball diamond in Ray Kinsella's cornfield.
Kevin Costner plays Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who plows his
crop under to build a ballpark at the direction of a mysterious
voice. The voice tells him: "If you build it, he will come."
Costner is diamond-perfect in a role that could have been
tempting to play as whispy and mystical. He plays it like
a normal guy - a man accustomed to hearing a tractor, not
some heavenly voice in the corn.
He builds the field, much to the bewilderment of his supportive
wife (Amy Madigan). And it brings to life a ballplayer.
This strange visitor is none other than baseball legend
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) - a man disgraced
for his part in the 1919 Chicago "Black Sox" scandal.
Also at the urging of the voice, Ray goes in search of a
fiercely reclusive writer named Terence Mann (James Earl
Jones), and a small-town doctor who once played major-league
baseball (Burt Lancaster).
Think of "It's a Wonderful Life" with a cornfield in place
of Bedford Falls, or "The Natural" with a topical sense
of humor, or what might have happened if Rod Serling had
written about baseball. Based on W.P. Kinsella's novel,
"Shoeless Joe," writer-director Phil Alden Robinson's
"Field of Dreams" is all of that.
But one person's field of dreams can be another person's
field of gooey sentiment, so here is the way to choose teams:
If you would say that baseball is just a game (only slower
than most), and the '60s were empty rhetoric, and people
would do better to pay attention to business, and it doesn't
help anybody to wish for a second chance . . . don't bother
with "Field of Dreams." Stay home and mow the lawn.
But if you like to think of every time at bat as a new hope,
if you can taste a kind of poetry along with the hot dogs
they serve at the ballpark, if you like to imagine that
life is meant to be good, and miracles aren't out of the
question . . . go see "Field of Dreams." And plan to stay twice.