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The M.O.W.'s Movie Reviews (333)

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Field of Dreams 
Good movie, but really slow
3/4 stars

"Ray" (Kevin Costner) is an Iowan corn farmer who has regrets -- the biggest of which is fixing his relationship with his estranged father (Dwier Brown).

One day, "Ray" is in his cornfield, with his wife (Amy Madigan) and daughter (Gaby Hoffmann, in her motion picture debut) sitting on the deck of their home, he hears a voice come from out of nowhere say to him "if you build it, he will come."

After some thought on what the voice meant, he begins to believe that he has to tear down part of his cornfield and build a regulation baseball field. This causes what can only be described as the ghost of disgraced baseball legend "'Shoeless' Joe Jackson" (Ray Liotta), as well as other deceased players to come play on that field.

He then goes on a journey that takes him across the country, where he meets with a once popular 1960's author (James Earl Jones), and two versions of the same man who played only one -half of an inning in his major league career without ever getting up to bat (younger version -- Frank Whaley/older version -- the legendary Burt Lancaster). These people help "Ray" in his journey to find peace with the mistakes of his past that have been eating him up inside for his adult life.

There is a lot of symbolism in this film. Most notably, the ballfield, which represents Heaven. Each of the characters which "Ray" encounters in his soul search also symbolise various things.

There are many fine performances in this film -- Costner, Jones and, of course, Lancaster are possibly the best. Madigan does a fine performance as well, and seems to have pretty good chemistry with Costner.

Nothing really stands out in the visuals. At the beginning, when "Ray" is visualizing the baseball field, it is very obvious that the field was added in during post-production, and looks quite fake. There is a really good visual at the very end of the movie which Jones' character refers to in a very well delivered monologue.

The only real problem with this movie is that it's very, very slow. Many of the scenes seem to lag considerably and just feel like the go on much longer than they should. There are no action scenes in this film, so don't expect any fast-paced scenes.

Another problem with the film is character development. This is best seen with the character named "Mark," who is only there to try to get "Ray" to sell the farm. He seems that he is only interested in business more than family for 99.99% of the film in the very few scenes he's in. There are also other characters who just fill in the background of scenes or interact with the main character and not help advance the plot of the movie.

For a sports-themed movie, this is certainly a "chick flick." But men and women will feel the emotion of the film.


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