'Field Of Dreams' Is The Most Disturbing Baseball Movie Ever
Field of Dreams, the 1989 movie about how men will literally build a baseball diamond in a cornfield and watch ghosts run around in it instead of going to therapy, is going through a bit of renaissance lately. Aside from the upcoming TV adaptation by the creator from The Good Place, there was also that actual major league game played in the cornfield from the movie last year (with another one coming this one). The game started with Kevin Costner appearing from the corn and walking around the field with the unmistakable look of a man wondering where the hell he parked his car.
In a short speech, Costner gushed about the movie's staying power and said, "The dream is still alive." But, when you think about it, that "dream" is more like a nightmare depending on who's having it. See, a big plot point of the movie is that Costner's character tracks down an author who wanted to be a baseball player as a kid. In the book, that author is J.D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye, BoJack Horseman) but, fearing a lawsuit, the movie made up a new writer called Terrence Mann, played by James Earl Jones (Star Wars, Adam Sandler's Click). At one point, Jones delivers a famous monologue about how baseball is the "one constant" in America and the thing that "reminds us of all that once was good and could be again." Such a nice sentiment; you could probably put it on a baseball cap!
As Jones talks, the ghosts of the 1910s baseball players walk closer and it almost looks like they're about to erupt into a slow clap. Of course, in real life most of those players would be more likely to ask him to leave the field. As pointed out by this SB Nation article, only one of the players named in the film ever played a major league game with a black man. Those good old days the characters are so nostalgic for were pretty damn racist, and the choice to have a Black man deliver the speech seems like a classic case of "the ills of the past don't matter if we just pretend they never happened."
At the end of the movie, Jones' character disappears into the field with the ghost players, which is a very emotional moment ...
... that becomes way more disturbing when you realize it's also a scene of a bunch of segregation-era white dudes with bats taking an old Black man into a cornfield, presumably never to be seen again. Even without the ghosts wearing white sheets, that still looks really bad. Will the TV version ignore the weird racial politics of this movie or embrace them and turn it into a horror story? Sadly we will never find out, because it's on Peacock.
Top image: Universal Pictures