Last night, "Field of Dreams" was elevated to the number one position on my list of the most overrated movies in the history of cinema. While working in his corn field one day, Iowan corn farmer Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, repeatedly hears an omnipresent voice urging, "If you build it, he will come." Soon after that, a rather cartoonish mirage of a baseball field appears to him off in the distance, and so, his descent into madness begins. The next two hours were about as much fun as the second half of an Oxycontin overdose.
What Was I Expecting?
I don't know, maybe a movie about fucking baseball! Hell, on the movie poster Kevin Costner is standing like Michael Flatley right there at home plate. And speaking of the poster, they put "field" in the title. To make matters worse, Costner was just coming off the success of "Bull Durham," another baseball movie in which he starred the previous year and had actually contained BASEBALL. Literally back-to-back baseball movies where all he had to do was keep the momentum going from one to the next!
What Did I Get Instead?
Much to the surprise of his neighbors, Ray proceeds to tear down his corn field and replace his only source of income with the baseball diamond he envisioned while hearing those voices. That's right, he dangles his family over the brink of financial ruin right off the bat (pun intended). Pretty soon the ghosts of the disgraced 1919's Chicago White Sox team starts emerging from the corn field and interacting with the Kinsella family — the only people who are actually able to see these apparitions. This movie has all the schizophrenic turkey carvings of "A Beautiful Mind" without the hotness of Jennifer Connelly to keep us watching. Erin Brockovich really needs to check that farm soil for toxic chemicals.
Despite his wife justified concern that they "won't even break even this year" and his family on the cusp of total bankruptcy, Ray travels to Boston to kidnap James Earle Jones, because that's what the voices in his head told him to do. I'm not fucking making this up. In the best display of a reverse kidnapping ever documented, James Earle Jones convinces Ray that they BOTH need to drive to Minnesota and even rides shotgun and not in the trunk like most kidnapping victims. Talk about a Jedi mind trick. Well played, Darth Vader.
They arrive in Minnesota, frantically searching for another ex-baseball player, Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, who before becoming a doctor only played one game in his entire career but never got a turn at bat. They quickly find out from the locals that "Doc" Graham (as they refer to him) passed away in 1972 — and all hope was lost. Until, while out for a walk, Ray uses 1.21 jiggawatts in his shoes to magically transport himself back in time to 1972 where he happens to bump into Dr. Graham. My explanation there is really the only one that makes sense.
Dr. Graham says he's happy being a doctor and refuses Ray's invite to come play with him in his corn field. You can insert your own gay joke there. On the way back to Iowa, Ray and James Earle Jones pick up a young hitchhiker who is the younger, teenage ghost version of Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham! SUCCESS! Ray finally has enough players for his poorly assembled prison team to engage in an exhibition game. During the drive, Ray explains to James Earle Jones that at the age of 14 he stopped playing catch with his father, and after a heated argument with him when he was 17, he ran away from home, only to return for his dad's funeral. I was desperately hoping Jones would bellow, "I am your father," but hey, I didn't write the script.
Ray's wife, Annie, and his brother-in-law, Mark, are already waiting for him by the baseball field when he returns to discuss selling the farm due to their mounting overdue bills. A physical altercation ensues between Mark and Ray, somehow knocking Ray's daughter, Karin, off the bleachers. Young Ghost Archibald sees this and instinctively runs off the field, instantly transforming into Old "Doc" Graham. What the fuck?! Karin is saved, and all of a sudden Mark gains the ability to see the all baseball players for some reason. He then agrees with Ray and Annie not to sell the farm.
In a wild twist of ghostly encounters that made me question if M. Night Shyamalan actually directed this piece of shit, James Earle Jones walks into the corn field and disappears with the rest of the baseball players when their scrimmage is over. WHAT. THE. FUCK!? Was he dead the whole time? There is some debate online whether or not he was dead the entire film, but who knows? I gave up 1 hour and 48 minutes ago.
Spoiler: The team's catcher was Ray's estranged father the whole time and the two finally get to have that rousing game of catch that Ray has been so desperately longing for. But what should really make you cry is the guy who thought this movie was a true story.