With the Academy Awards approaching, SI decided to discuss the best baseball films of all-time. Earlier, we asked what baseball's essential film is. And you can watch plenty of classics for yourself on Sports Illustrated TV, on Amazon platforms. Now, Mets reliever Jerry Blevins offers his stirring defense of why "Field of Dreams," a classic to so many, is a totally forgettable movie.
My disdain for Field of Dreams has grown over the last year. I got into a Twitter discussion about baseball movies this off season after I tweeted my fondness for the movie “Everybody Wants Some!” I then was asked to do a short list.
1. Everybody Wants Some
2. The Sandlot
3. Major League
4. For Love of the Game
5. A League of Their Own
People went ballistic when Field of Dreams wasn’t in my top 5. So I extended the list to 10.
6. Bull Durham
7. Little Big League
8. Rookie of the Year
9. The Rookie
10. Bad News Bears
Then folks went nuclear when it wasn’t even in my top 10. If it had to do the list over again, I might put Angels in the Outfield and The Natural would be somewhere in there above Field of Dreams too. I had to go on the defensive about why I didn’t have Field of Dreams in my list. My dislike for the movie quickly became disdain when you’re attacked and accused of blasphemy. So I did what any sane person would do put into a corner; I made an argument to convince others to come to the dark side.
Here’s why you’re wrong about your love of Field of Dreams:
Shoeless Joe Jackson is played by Ray Liotta. I like Ray Liotta! He’s in some good movies like Goodfellas and Blow. But in Field of Dreams he plays Shoeless Joe Jackson and when he’s batting, he’s right handed. SHOELESS JOE BATTED LEFT HANDED. That’s a pretty big deal for a baseball movie to let slide. They either didn’t bother to check or thought the audience wouldn’t care or know the difference. Cue the Game of Thrones ‘Shame’ lady.
Everyone always talks about how it is a Father/Son movie:
“Oh, it gets me every time when he plays catch with his dad!”
“I always call my dad after seeing it!”
Well, I don’t think the movie does a good enough job to call it a father/son movie. I never really care all that much about their relationship. My favorite part of the movie is Moonlight Graham and he gives up his dream to save Ray’s daughter from choking. That’s true heartbreak for me. I thought this was a reconciliation movie!? Let Moonlight play! Oh, and the big climax of the movie is when Ray got to play catch with his dad. That part is even ruined for me because Ray says, “Have a catch.” Maybe it’s my midwestern roots, but I’ve never said anything but “play catch.” Nobody says “have a catch” unless they are mocking Field of Dreams.
It’s not the best baseball movie. It’s not even Kevin Costner’s best baseball movie. Bull Durham and For Love of The Game are significantly better baseball movies. Heck, it’s not even James Earl Jones’s best baseball movie! The Sandlot and The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings are infinitely better than Field of Dreams.
Re-watchability is a key factor for me when picking “favorites.” If a movie is a favorite, I’ll watch it every time its on TV. Major League and The Sandlot all are enjoyable upon multiple views. Re-watchability isn’t foolproof though. I like Old Yeller, but you won’t get me to watch that again unless I’m in need of a good cry. Requiem for a Dream is good movie, but you can bet I won’t watch that again. Field of Dreams is not Old Yeller. That’s a real tear-jerker.
Maybe it’s a bit of my own dad issues, but I don’t enjoy it. And neither do you. You’re just scared of the backlash because you’re supposed to like it! You're all sheep.