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If you build it, they will come. 

Thursday night at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, a once-in-a-lifetime baseball game was played finally, after a year of pandemic delays, between the #1 ranked White Sox and the New York Yankees, and the event returned something long missing to the game.  In the third inning Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jiménez flipped a switch, igniting a ho-hum MLB regular season game into something more with a three-run homer, and the Sox led most of the game until New York took back the game in the ninth inning.  Then, crushing a two-run, walk-off homer into the corn, shortstop Tim Anderson won the landmark game for the Sox with a 9-8 final.  Anderson remarked, “playing out here in the middle of the corn, who would’ve thought that?”  Jiménez commented that the experience in the first ever Major League Baseball game in Iowa was a little bit like playing back in the minor leagues, “it was amazing… but this was a big one.  This was fun.”  With a bushel of homerun baseballs landing in the corn field behind left and right field, it wasn’t the same old, big city baseball, but an experience that brought players and fans back to the basics of the game.  It was a perfect summer night in the kind of pastoral venue the old pros played in for a hundred years before Nike logos adorned player shirts, before piloted drone cameras, and giant HD playback monitors.  In short, it’s the kind of game that will hopefully happen again and again at this unique venue, and certainly more than only one MLB game per year.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

This weekend one of the greatest American film classics celebrated its 30th anniversary across the U.S.  Thirty years later and Phil Alden Robinson′s Field of Dreams still holds up.  But thirty years is a long time, and my umpteenth viewing for Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies theatrical release for Father’s Day netted even more new thoughts about one of my all-time favorite movies.  I can’t think of a better Father’s Day movie, but if you missed it in the theater this weekend, you have one more day and two showings to catch it before it goes back in the vaults until its next anniversary.  Find out more about tomorrow’s two screenings and find your local participating theater at the Fathom Events website for the anniversary event here.  TCM host Ben Mankiewicz adds some film trivia before and after the screening–he’s a great host for these anniversary events.

Not even two minutes pass before Kevin Costner′s Ray Kinsella hears the ghostly words from afar that set the story into motion: If you build it, he will come.  From there, Robinson’s tightly written, major re-work of the W.P. Kinsella novel Shoeless Joe is non-stop magic (check out my retro review of the novel here at borg earlier this year where I compare it to the film).  It’s accompanied by James Horner′s sweeping, emotional score that will jerk you around from ghost story surprise to epic cross-country adventure and back to quiet, pastoral personal drama.  You can go back and scratch your head over the actual films that won Academy Awards over Field of Dreams for 1989–it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Score.  You’ll find Field of Dreams is the only film that stuck with audiences three decades later, airing almost weekly now on cable channels, confirming its place in the Library of Congress’s film recognition and at the top of the American Film Institute’s rankings more than once.

It’s the rare film like Field of Dreams that begs for there to be an Academy Award for best casting.  Margery Simkin, the casting director for films from Beverly Hills Cop to Top Gun to Star Trek Discovery deserves a salute for getting every role just right.  Kevin Costner never veers from pure immersion into this new farmer wanting to follow his gut instincts.  Amy Madigan plays the perfect supportive partner and wife to Ray.  Gaby Hoffman is smart for her age as Ray’s daughter and a true credit to the film.  Director/writer Phil Alden Robinson should share in the brilliant updating the novel character from real-life J.D. Salinger to the fictional Terence Mann–audiences know James Earl Jones so well from Star Wars, yet here we get the benefit of his powerfully emotional eyes and that broad smile and laugh.  I always look forward to Ray Liotta′s steely stare, his knowing calmness, and his snarky laugh-out-loud dismissal of Ty Cobb.  Keeping with the novel and my take from past viewings, Archie Graham brings the magic home as the crucial piece of the puzzle driving the story to its end, played young and eager in a 1920s mindset by the great Frank Whaley and in his later years as a wise small-town doctor by film legend Burt Lancaster.  The quaint beauty of Dubuque, Iowa, made for the perfect backdrop to film Graham’s hometown of Chisholm, Minnesota, for these scenes.

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