Tag Archive: Field of Dreams


Delving into the Deep

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Maybe it was a dream, maybe it was someone hoping. But I could have sworn I heard or saw that this year’s World Series was going to be between the Dodgers and the Yankees.

Immediately my head started thinking about how somethings never change, even when teams switch coasts or get new ball parks or have long-time owners die.

I thought about players such as Lou Gerhig, the Yankee who died from ALS and became the namesake of the devastating illness. I thought of Yankee Joe DiMaggio with his 56 hit streak and later devotion to Marilyn Monroe.

I thought of the dodger’s phenomenal pitcher, Sandy Koufax and groundbreaking Jackie Robinson.

That is until I finally heard that it was going to be the Huston Astros vs, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.”

Field of James, Kevin and JamesJames Earl Jones, in his deep-throated honey voice said these lines in Field of Dreams, a movie that never doubted the magic of baseball.

This is not a movie for little kids, not contextually. Sure they can watch it for the most part and they might understand some of it, especially that desire to play catch with your dad. But the grief one feels at lost opportunities or the crazy motivation to turn your field of corn into a baseball diamond is powered by something more adult. There is a longing that children or teens may not quite get but adults do.

That is why this movie makes men cry.

I find Dracula movies are complex like that as well. I’m not talking about Twilight but those movies that feature Dracula as a man who lives on the side of evil but remembers when he wasn’t that way. You see it in the Bela Lugosi 1931 version, the way he looks to Mina to become what he is and to have her by his side always.

There is something of love, of hope, of a determination to not be alone.

Dracula-untold-luke-evansYou see this theme in many of the Dracula movies, even the Gary Oldman version from 1992 fed on this theme. Winona Rider who played Mina, made her love for the count an obession worth dying for.

Over the years, we have not lost our fascination with the undead. Writers and film makers have explored what it means to be a vampire, The last movie I found was in 2014 starring Luke Evans as Vlad, a man who is trying to protect his village but takes extreme measures to do it. Dracula Untold may not be a good movie but it is filled with action. And it shows a man who understands the decisions he makes, accepting their consequences.

That is always one thing I respected about Dracula, no matter what his incarnation. He is who he is with no regrets, no looking back. Otherwise, wouldn’t he try to kill himself or have Van Helsing do it for him?

Maybe this weekend I could explore one of these incarnations. Even Gerard Butler has taken on the role with a New Orleans setting in Dracula 2000 before he became a super action hero saving the U.S president one more time.

Bring on the popcorn.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Down to the Wire Finish

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

By the time you read this, either the Cubs have won the World Series or they remain lovable losers who came this/close to ending the curse.

I don’t know at the moment if they have done one or the other. At this point in time they have won their second game and must win two more in order to break the curse.

chicago-cubs-2It was great, it was terrifying. I thought they were going to lose it all at various moments when I wasn’t thinking the team had finally gotten over their fears.

I was feeling jealous of my cousin who was in Wrigley field during this tremendous win.

I almost felt bad for all of the times I made fun of him for being a Cubs fan while I am a Sox’s fan.

Almost.

But here’s the thing. I am happy to see the Cubs get this opportunity. But if they lose, I will not let Cubs fans know just how great my team was during the time they were in the World Series. Why, even former president George H.W. Bush was in the audience and they made a point of rubbing Houston’s nose in the loss by doing it quickly.

Perhaps that is too mean, I’m not sure.

In the mean time I can send you in the direction of some great movies about baseball.

You know the ones because they all seem to star Kevin Costner. Ok, maybe not but my two favorites are Bull Durham which is about an older player trying to figure out his role in Baseball as his playing career ends. The other is Field of Dreams in which a man discovers a secret world of deceased players in his cornfield.

Field of Dreams IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

Both movies, from different perspectives, tell a story that women can love and men can cry about without being total sissies. Maybe that is not politically correct to say but some guys still want to be macho stoics. Whatever.

You can still enjoy these stories of men finding ways to explore their feelings about lost chances and missed opportunities channeled into new opportunities such as a different career in your field or playing catch with your deceased father.

Or maybe you want to explore how the Cleveland Indians manage to stick it it their money-grubbing owner by not stinking and finding their way to the World series in Major League. It will involve a pitcher with wild throws and a voodoo spell to make a bat work. Meanwhile, Tom Berenger learns his game while in the last chance of his career to do something great.

Charlie Sheen appears in this movie as the pitcher with the strong but undisciplined arm. Dennis Haysbert is the Caribbean player who uses what ever he can to bring luck to his bat. None of these movies I have talked about are meant for kids.

rookie-of-the-yearBut there is one that might appeal to them. Rookie of the Year is about a kid who discovers a new talent. After the kid’s arm heals from a break, the kid discovers he can throw as fast as a major a. Of course he is discovered. And soon he is playing for the Cubs as a pitcher.

It is a cute and sweet movie that kids can love. While not always plausible, it is fun and appropriate for younger members of the family..

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Play Ball!

Family Movie Night

 

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

This week is the week of the All-Star Game.

 

As fans gather in the 3-year-old stadium in the borough of Queens in New York City, you know that this game is less meaningless because the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series. While that might not be the fairest way to determine who has home field, it is what the league has come up with for now.

 

There is one benefit to the all-star game. It will be big time singers doing the national anthems of Canada and the United States. About 15 years ago, Sarah MacLachlan sang “O Canada” and I am not sure if I have heard a better version. That same year Kelsey Grammer sang the “Star Spangled Banner.” While Grammer has a good voice, he was completely outdone by MacLachlan.

 

This year the honors will be done by 2013 American Idol winner Candice Glover and Canadian Recording Artist Scott Newsome who does the Canadian anthem for a number of sport franchises. I have to admit I am looking forward to hearing their renditions.

 

The problem I have every year is deciding which movies to showcase for this week.

 

 

 

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Everyone knows that the best baseball movies ever made star Kevin Kostner. His turn as a hippie-turned-farmer baseball fan in The Field of Dreams has provided some of the best quotable lines ever. That is until we get to Bull Durham, an adult drama about a baseball fanatic that trains minor league players in her own special way who crosses paths with a veteran catcher.

 

Both movies came out in the late 80s and might be showing their age in regards to hairstyles and fashion. But both movies give us a truer than true depiction of people at very different points in their lives. Some are looking for reconciliation while others are pursuing a dream that may never come to fruition.

 

These movies along with Minor League are very adult-oriented and probably better suited for couples to watch.

 

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

This week the movie about Jackie Robinson, 42, is coming out on DVD. The movie depicts how Robinson is chosen by Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey, to break the color barrier of Major League Baseball. It depicts a somewhat sanitized version of the racial insults and backwards behavior that Robinson and his wife, Rachel, endured as Robinson becomes the first black man to play on a major league team.

 

It is a movie I have not seen yet but plan to as soon as possible. When I think back to this time period, I am amazed at what a wonderful time it was for our country as we recovered from WWII. But the tremendous hatred for one group of people because their skin color was darker than the rest always leaves me flummoxed and upset. I have not seen it so I cannot tell you which family members should not watch it but with a rating of PG-13 it my guess that this one is better for tweens and teens who can follow along better with the context of the movie.

 

Until Next Week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

While we are dealing with crazy weather, there is one constant that makes winter less bleak for me.

 

Baseball.

 

In mid-February, I do not know any sweeter words than “pitchers and catchers report.”

 

Bring on sub-zero temperatures, ice storms, and big thaws all in the same week. Bring on snow and rain and sleet because soon, very soon, the players will take the field in that spring ritual that leads us into a summertime of hope.

 

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.”

 

Image by D. Harder

Image by D. Harder

James Earl Jones states this while telling Kevin Costner that people will pay money to come to his farm in the middle of Iowa and sit on the bleachers to watch a field. Perhaps they see the players, perhaps they don’t. But what Field of Dreams, the best baseball movie ever, seemed to understand is that baseball is the undercurrent of our lives. It connects us to other people whether we are a participant or observer.

 

Bull Durham is the absolute best baseball movie because while the game might be the setting, it is dreams that are found or lost that drives the plot.

 

Another baseball movie that usually makes the list is Major League with Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger. The driving force to this baseball movie is the desire to stick it to an unfeeling owner determined to have a losing season so she can easily move the team to a different city.

 

The latest baseball movie to come to the home theater market is Trouble With The Curve starring Clint Eastwood as an aging baseball scout. He is having issues with his eyes which is not good for a man who watches baseball games to find the next best player.

 

Trouble with the curveBut he has other problems as well. He does not believe in computers as a way of predicting players. That makes some in management leery of depending on a guy who will not adapt to new technology. It makes his boss wonder what is going on and leads him to call Clint’s daughter, played by Amy Adams.

 

She became a lawyer to please him, except she has bitterness that has to do with the death of her mother and his abandonment of her as a child. But at this critical time in her career when she is being considered for partnership, she feels the need to take a few days to go with her father on a scouting trip.

 

I enjoyed the movie because there are some great moments between Adams and Eastwood. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Matthew Lillard provide good support as well.  But sports movies are built on clichés and this one has too many that are easy and pat. New technology being bested by the ‘old way.’ A trite conflict that ends a relationship at its start. A discovery of a player hinted at throughout the movie. A prospect who is demanding and arrogant in the worst ways.

 

Most baseball movies are really meant for adults, the language and/or context is saltier or deeper than most kids under the age of 10 are interested in hearing. That is true with Trouble With The Curve as a parent and his adult child try to reconcile what happened with the here and now.

 

If there was ever a great movie about baseball for kids, it has to be The Sandlot. This film came out in 1993 and did not seem like a big deal. It is about a bunch of kids who played ball in an empty sandlot everyday. When a new kid moves into the neighborhood, he lies about knowing how to play. But soon he is taken under the wing of the best player and that summer becomes memorable for many reasons.

 

Like many movies that seem like they are about nothing, this one brings back childhood memories that are sweet and horrible and the shaping forces of our life with baseball as the background.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 

 

 

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Just because we have gotten our first snow fall of the season does not mean we cannot look forward to the four most beautiful words one can hear during winter.

Pitchers and catchers report.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

I thought about that last night when I stopped at our little grocery store and saw Moneyball on the dvd rental shelves.

This is one movie I meant to see in the theater and never got around to. The story follows a baseball executive who decides to try something different to find players to make his professional team better without spending money he does not have.

It is a wild idea and he does it with the help of a statistics geek by looking for players who do the little things right.

Crazy, I know.

The movie takes place ten years ago and what Billy Beane was doing at that time was cause for derision. But he was able to take his $37 million team to the play-offs and has repeated that feat several times. These days, Sabermetrics is used all over the league in one form or another.  

Another reason to see this movie is that there is Oscar talk around Brad Pitt and his performance. Jonah Hill is beginning to blossom as an actor as he keeps getting better and better parts. What Hill and Pitt do is make a discussion about math and baseball interesting and relevant.

So what other baseball movies should you see, if you count yourself a true movie and baseball fan?

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Absolutely, you have to have seen Field of Dreams and Bull Durham . Both star Kevin Costner about a man who has baseball as in integral part of his life. The former is about a farmer in Iowa who hears a voice telling him to ‘build it and they will come.’ So he builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield and one night Shoeless Joe Jackson comes out of the cornfield to play catch.

This is only the first part of a wild and crazy adventure that leads to Boston and Minnesota . There are men who cry only with this movie and for one specific scene. This movie talks about why we love baseball and gets it right.

So why Bull Durham ?

I find it to be one of the best movies about the life. Costner plays an aging catcher brought on to train an up-and-coming pitcher with a unreliable rocket thrower for an arm. Tim Robbins makes a big splash as Lash Larue. Then there is Susan Sarrandon as the fan who trains one player each season. This movie is definitely made for adults and not for kiddie viewing at all.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

The best kid movie about baseball that I know is The Sandlot. The story is about a boy who moves to a new town when his mother remarries. He finds himself drawn to a group of boys who play baseball in an empty sandlot every day. The kid is eventually accepted by the other despite being a deplorable player and they go on to have several memorable adventures.

It is a great movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

This year has been a year of lasts and firsts.

 Our oldest child is the first child in our family to graduate from high school and to go off to college. We went through the last teacher conference, the last sports season and the last report card.

 Our youngest child is now five. We no longer have a toddler in the house and he is finished with pre-school. This year was his first in tee ball and to be in a real class at VBS. In the fall, he becomes a kindergartner.

 This has lead to moments of happiness and tears. And I find myself crying when I am watching certain movies dealing with a similar topic.

 Take Mamma Mia! with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. The story is about a young girl who is getting married. She has been raised by her

Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried on the day of the wedding. Picture from IMDb.com

mother and does not know which of three men might be her father. I love the whole movie but the most touching scene comes during the “Slipping Through My Fingers” sequence.

 As Donna and Sophia get ready for the wedding, there are moments of sadness as both women realize their relationship is about to change forever. Knowing that moment is coming for me soon when my oldest will leave home makes me all weepy.

 Another movie that does that for me is Up with Edward Asner doing the voice of Carl Fredricksen, a

Carl making the grand escape from the retirement home flunkies. Picture from IMDb.com

78-year-old man who uses balloons to float his house to South America. It is the last grand adventure of his life and was the beloved dreams of him and his wife, Ellie. Sadly, she dies before they can go.

 As the movie does the montage of Carl’s and Ellie’s life I begin tearing up and try not to snuffle too loud. But it happens. The last time we watched this movie a few weeks ago there was no stopping the tears and my son’s girlfriend looked over. She was relieved that she was not the only one in the room crying. The rest of the occupants – all boys – could not understand why we were crying.

 However, I hear tales that men do cry at some movies. Sports movies seem to bring out emotion and none better than Field of Dreams. Kevin

Ray and Karin Kinsella meet John Kinsella at the baseball field. Picture from IMDb.com

Costner stars as the man who carves a baseball diamond out of his cornfield. That is when baseball players from the ‘other side’ show up to play. When the game is over they go back into the cornfield.

 Perhaps the most memorable scene is when Costner’s father shows up. He does not know who Costner is but eventually they play a game a catch. It is the ultimate father-son moment that they never had in life. That is what made it all the more touching and the best opportunity for the tears to fall.

 Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and leave a comment or become my friend on Facebook.