‘Field of Dreams’ back on the big screen for Father’s Day
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Field of Dreams, one of the most beloved big-screen fantasies of the 20th century, and yours truly vividly recalls seeing a preview screening at Temple University in Philadelphia. Some in the audience applauded when Kevin Costner’s name appeared on the screen, and I applauded when Burt Lancaster’s appeared – and someone in the back said: “Who’s that?”
Even such ignorance couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the film, which easily made my Top 10 list for 1989. Where did it rank? No. 1.
For those who remember, the summer of 1989 was packed with big blockbusters, literally opening week to week: Batman, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Ghostbusters II, Star Trek V, Lethal Weapon 2, yet Field of Dreams hung in there and was still playing in theaters at year’s end, eventually grossing over $80 million. Not unlike Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Field of Dreams is one of those special movies perennially being discovered and cherished – and deservedly so.
Now Fathom Events has teamed with Turner Classic Movies and Universal Pictures to bring Field of Dreams back to more than 600 cinemas nationwide, including Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, located in the Friendly Center in Greensboro. The film will be shown on Sunday, June 16 (Father’s Day), with encore screenings on Tuesday, June 18.
Based on W.P. Kinsella’s best-selling 1982 novel Shoeless Joe, Field of Dreams stars Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer and die-hard baseball fan whose main connection with his late father was an abiding love of the game and a fascination with the 1919 “Black Sox Scandal,” which caused a rift in their relationship that never healed.
One night while walking through his cornfield, Ray hears a mysterious voice telling him: “If you build it, he will come.”
So, he promptly clears a section and constructs a baseball diamond. It may seem strange, but even stranger is when a group of ballplayers emerge from the cornfield and start playing – among them the legendary Chicago White Sox outfielder “Shoeless Joe” Jackson (Ray Liotta), whose career was ended by the 1919 scandal.
Knowing that his task is not yet complete, Ray embarks on a mission to locate the reclusive novelist Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones), whom he believes is somehow tied in with this phenomena, and then to locate one “Moonlight” Graham (the great Lancaster), who played only a single game in the major leagues – for the New York Giants in 1922. The fact that Graham died years before doesn’t much matter when Ray encounters him in the flesh.
Back in Iowa, however, Ray’s wife Annie (Amy Madigan) struggles to keep the homestead from foreclosure, while her brother (Timothy Busfield) urges her to sell the farm.
Field of Dreams was a tough sell, any way you look at it, but screenwriter/director Phil Alden Robinson and producer Lawrence Gordon were determined to make this “dream” come true. Costner, who’d just scored a triumphant trifecta with The Untouchables (1987), No Way Out (also ‘87) and Bull Durham (1988), was clearly ascending to super-stardom, and his participation clinched the deal.
Field of Dreams also earned three Academy Award nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and, the big one, Best Picture.
TCM host Ben Mankiewicz will introduce the screening then offer his thoughts and observations about its production and enduring legacy afterward.
Not only does 2019 mark the 30th-anniversary of the film’s release but also the 100th-anniversary of the “Black Sox” Scandal, in which the heavily favored Chicago White Sox threw the World Series. Those players implicated in the conspiracy – including “Shoeless Joe” Jackson – were banned for life from the game, a ruling that still stands to this day.
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2019, Mark Burger.
The 30th-anniversary presentation of Field of Dreams will be screened 1 p.m. June 16 at Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, 3205 Northline Ave., Greensboro, with encore screenings 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 18. Admission is $13.34 (general admission). For advance tickets or more information, visit the website.