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Field of Dreams

September 1, 2015

FODWe all need each other, we’ve all made mistakes, what we do for others has an unusual way of doing good to us. The sci-fi logo is appropriate for another reason, for this film feels like it comes from another time, another place, when people had time for each other, and read books, for a start. For any of you who don’t know, the movie’s just your everyday story about a farmer, weighed down by the guilt of rejecting his father, who hears a voice telling him to plough under his crops and build a baseball diamond there so that Shoeless Joe Jackson can come back from the dead and hit a few strikes. So he builds the field, and his wife tells him she thinks he’s cool because he’s willing to do crazy things, and Shoeless Joe appears, and he hears the voice and kidnaps a reclusive writer and travels back in time and meets a kindly old doctor, and the doctor becomes a young man again, and they all go back to the field, and the writer agrees to write again, and the doctor gets his dream of playing ball, and the farmer wonders what’s in it for him, and he meets his dead dad and reconciles with him, and everybody cries, and about a thousand people turn up at the field so they can be healed, too.

Like Noah, he obeys the voice with little reason to do so other than his own conviction and his family’s support; he doesn’t know where he’s going, and he has to begin to wonder if he’s made a monumental mistake before the dream begins to come true. Building the field was a matter of faith, and, like most matters of faith, he needs to be brought to the point of no return—to truly let go—before he is vindicated. We sometimes need to be prepared to give up what’s most dear to us before we find what is truly valuable.

things move on. Ray and his wife Annie go to a PTA meeting and “halt the spread of neo-Fascism in America” by arguing against banning books that liberate the mind. Field of Dreams reveals itself as a subversive fantasy from the mind of a child of the ’60s by standing up for freedom of thought and conscience.

the commercialization of sport—Shoeless Joe says that the lights make it hard to see the ball, but Ray replies that it makes more money for the owners for people to go at night, and the hotdogs are far too expensive—but for an experience of the diversity of the human race, of breezy summer nights

why we need to develop childlikeness if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven on earth. The film reminds us to be attentive to our world, because we don’t often recognize the most important moments of our lives while they’re happening.

the end of this movie is a prophecy of the future healing of humankind—the miracle of redemption, the coming of the kingdom of God, the restoration of all things. It’s a subversive little film about the nature of work and vision and mid-life,

Terence Mann: Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

Ray Kinsella: So what do you want?

Terence Mann: I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.

Ray Kinsella: No, I mean, what do you WANT?

[Gestures to the concession stand they’re in front of]

Terence Mann: Oh. Dog and a beer.

Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham: We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening. Back then I thought, “Well, there’ll be other days.” I didn’t realize that that was the only day.

Ray Kinsella: I’m 36 years old, I love my family, I love baseball, and I’m about to become a farmer. But until I heard the voice, I’d never done a crazy thing in my whole life.

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