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Field of Dreams: Collector's Edition

Kevin Costner stars in this unusual, surprise hit heartland fantasy as Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer whose mid-life crisis is among the strangest on record. A mysterious voice compels him to plow under his corn crop in favor of a baseball diamond, putting his family in financial jeopardy but also summoning the ghosts of forsaken ballplayers. Field of Dreams (based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella) takes many odd turns with little plausible reaction — Ray's wife thinks he's crazy when he hears the voice, but when ghosts show up in their field, she doesn't bat an eyelid — and writer-director Phil Alden Robinson's narrative style is too heavy on exposition. However, Costner perfectly captures the humor and pathos of a man wary of either his life or his mind falling apart, and the film overcomes its clumsiness, culminating in an extremely moving finale. Unlike any other sport, baseball is more fascinating as American iconography than as an actual athletic exercise, providing rich soil for cinema. Field of Dreams, in fact, has had such an impact upon its many admirers that the half-overgrown baseball field in Dyersville, Iowa, has attracted over 500,000 tourists since the film's release. James Earl Jones gives a terrific, funny performance as a former '60s activist/author turned recluse, but Ray Liotta's performance as "Shoeless" Joe Jackson reinvents this historically illiterate figure as an angelic truth-teller. However, Amy Madigan is very annoying as Ray's hyper-animated wife, and overrated composer James Horner's score is amongst the worst of the'80s. Presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and 2.0 Dolby Surround, and includes commentary by Alden Robinson and cinematographer John Lindley and a Field of Dreams video scrapbook featuring cast and crew interviews, as well as Alden Robinson's screenplay. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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