SPORTS MOVIES

Best sports movies: Just as baseball is America, 'Field of Dreams' has become Iowa

Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams

Editor's note: The Gazette sports staff has compiled lists of its top 15 favorite sports movies. Each day, a different staffer will share some insight into one of their favorites. Some of them are classics, watched and re-watched time and time again. But for a few, maybe we’ll be able to convince some of you to check it out for the very first time.

The next time I am able to watch the last five minutes of “Field of Dreams” without crying my eyes out will be the first time.

And my dad is alive. I can’t imagine how hard this movie hits for those who have lost their father.

That’s at the heart of “Field of Dreams,” but you don’t realize it until the end of the movie. In the meantime, it has taken you on a wonderful, magical journey.

And, to be fair, it probably wouldn’t be my favorite sports movie if it were set in Nebraska.

It also helps to have James Earl Jones as Terence Mann. His speech about baseball is like a batting helmet full of ice cream and hot fudge for a fan. “This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

There are a lot of movies that celebrate baseball, but “Field of Dreams” really makes the connection that nothing is more American than baseball.

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And while the core of the movie is about baseball, and how it can bind fathers and sons over generations, there are other interesting ties, as well.

For a long time, I’ve thought the school meeting about book banning was wasted time in this classic. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that it is essential to understand why in the heck Annie sticks with Ray.

Let’s face it — there is no way most wives would back up their husbands after they burn through all of their savings for an empty baseball field.

But in this scene, we establish that Annie was a true believer in the counter-culture movement. “No, I think you had two ‘50s and moved right into the ‘70s.”

She may not understand exactly what is going on at the farm, but she believes in, and trusts Ray, and when he is mocked, stands up for him.

And Ray, who can’t defend himself, because he is self-aware enough to realize how strange it all is, needs Annie. “All right, Beulah, do you want to step outside.”

“Field of Dreams” is Ray’s story, but he couldn’t do any of it without Annie.

It is a little old fashioned. And not at all “woke.”

But maybe someday we’ll get little Karin, all grown up, hearing her own voices.

And I can cry even more when she gets to share a catch with her dad.

My Top 15 sports movies

1. Field of Dreams

2. Bull Durham

3. Major League

4. Moneyball

5. Tin Cup

6. For Love of the Game

7. Teen Wolf

8. The Natural

9. The Cutting Edge

10. A League of Their Own

11. Draft Day

12. The Sandlot

13. Cool Runnings

14. The Rookie

15. Goon

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