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Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams
Film, 1990. Adapted from Shoeless Joe, by W. P. Kinsella.  Responding to a voice that can only be GOD Himself, an Iowa farmer played by Kevin Costner builds a BASEBALL diamond in his cornfield, and this field then becomes something of a magical FAIRY CIRCLE where dreams can indeed come true.  Within its foul lines, baseball stars can return from the dead to play the game they love; an embittered and reclusive writer (a fictional African-American author who replaces the novel's J. D. Salinger) can finally "ease his pain" by going off with the ballplayers; an aged doctor can once again become the young Moondog Graham, a promising young outfielder—though when he steps off the field to help a choking girl, he reverts to his former self; and Costner can meet his dead father once again and finally develop a rapport with him—by playing catch, of course. When not observing the marvelous developments on his baseball field, Costner's character must engage in cross-country odysseys, directed by the Voice, to recruit the writer and track down Graham; assist his wife in opposing local efforts to suppress the writer's works; and deal with a greedy brother-in-law seeking to force Costner to sell his farm. Ultimately, people from all over are magically drawn to observe the field, enabling Costner to keep the farm.

            In this singular fantasy film, the game of baseball crazily and simultaneously comes to represent religious piety, patriotism, traditional family values, and progressive social politics; and the naked emotions evoked and aroused by this astonishingly popular movie—among other things, it was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and single-handedly made Costner a major star—suggest that baseball is indeed the Great American Fantasy.

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