Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Field of Dreams - 9 stars out of 10

Field of Dreams - 9 stars out of 10
In loving memory of James Horner

“Field of Dreams” is a classic whose audience is not limited to baseball fans.  While the film’s plot revolves around a baseball field and the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, the heart of this film is family.  I wish that they would have spent more time developing Kevin Costner’s back-story and it feels like the building of the baseball field is rushed (10 minutes into the movie), but it helps to show that this story digs deeper than Shoeless Joe Jackson.  I’m not sure how, but the writers manage to string together a long series of unbelievable events without us ever questioning their legitimacy.  Perhaps it is the purposeful avoidance of the question “How?”, but it is easy to believe everything that happens from start to finish.  Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, and Gaby Hoffman give excellent performances but Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, and Burt Lancaster steal the spotlight, each with their own truly stunning monologue.  However, the true emotional impact of this film lies in the music.  James Horner once said of his music: “My job [is] to make sure at every turn of the film it’s something the audience can feel with their heart.  When we lose a character, when somebody wins, when somebody loses, when someone disappears - at all times I’m keeping track, constantly, of what the heart is supposed to be feeling. That is my primary role.”  This statement has never been truer than in the final five minutes of this film.  The music so beautifully encapsulates every tug at our heartstrings and this is what the world will miss the most with the loss of James Horner.  His scoring of this film is passive as it creates an ethereal and mystical presence rather than dominating the background.  “Field of Dreams” is a truly fascinating story that is worthy of its three Oscar nominations (Score, Screenplay, Picture) and will surely leave you in tears during its moving finale.

[Pictured: It is surreal to see these players in the old uniforms because you believe that the scene is actually happening.]

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