Field of Dreams is 25 years old this year and it is just as good today as it was the first time that I watched it as a 7 year-old boy. In fact, I like the movie more today than I did back then. When I was a kid I thought the movie was only about a bunch of dead baseball players that come out of a cornfield in Iowa to play baseball again. Twenty-five years later I have come to understand that the movie represents so much more. In its simplest form Field of Dream is about baseball and the love of the game, but Field of Dreams withstands the test of time because it is about more than just baseball. It is about reconciliation with your past. The past haunts us all to some extent and that is what Field of Dreams is really about, the ghosts of our past and making peace with them. Jim Caple of ESPN is spot on when he writes that Field of Dreams is a lasting legacy. I watch Field of Dreams every summer. To me, watching Field of Dreams every summer is the same as watching A Christmas Story every Christmas. I have just started the book “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella, which was the inspiration for the movie. I am only a chapter into the book but I am already enjoying it and looking forward to watching the movie when I am done.
Filed of Dreams easily tops my list of favorite sports movies. There are a lot of bad sports movies out there (White Men Can’t Jump, Space Jam, Little Giants, etc.) but there are a lot of good ones too. Here is my Top 10 with a few honorable mentions:
1. Field of Dreams. This movie has already been discussed above and I rank it number one because it is the only sports movie that I make an effort to watch on a annual basis.
2. Hoosiers. This movie is a very close second. It represents Indiana high school basketball at its finest and the game of basketball at its finest. Little Hickory High School winning the Indiana State Championship led by Coach Dale and Jimmy Chitwood brings a smile to my face every time I watch it. I root for Hickory in every game in the movie as if I do not already know the outcome. Great sports movie.
3. Rudy. I despise Notre Dame football and yet somehow this movie is in my top five. The reason is pretty simple though. Rudy is about much more than Notre Dame football. Notre Dame football is just the unfortunate backdrop. This movie is about guts, grit, determination and not backing down when everyone tells you that you cannot do something. Yes, the movie embellishes the accomplishments of Rudy Ruettiger and other Notre Dame players of the time including Joe Montana have said that Rudy did not work harder than any other player but it would not be a good movie if it did not embellish on the truth. Show me a good movie that does not embellish real events and I will tell that you it is not a good movie.
4. Remember The Titans. This movie not only tackled the race issue in sports in the 1970s but it also provided realistic depictions of high school football games. The throws were real throws, the runs were real runs and the tackles were real tackles, not just guys flying through the air trying to close-line each other. Denzel Washington’s performance as Coach Herman Boone was great as well.
5. The Sandlot. Summer time, boys, baseball. Those are the main ingredients in this movie along with some great story telling. I have fond memories of playing cul-de-sac baseball with a wooden bat and tennis ball as a kid. There were no junkyards or “beasts” involved and sadly no Wendy Peffercorns but good times nonetheless. This movie reminds me of those times and the inclusion of the main character, self-proclaimed poindexter Scotty Smalls, into the sandlot games by the star player Bennie the Jet Rodriguez shows that you didn’t have to be a great athlete to enjoy playing sports as kid. I like that message. Playing sports as a kid isn’t about getting ready to play as a professional. It’s about having fun and falling in love with the game.
6. Rocky. This movie should not require much of an explanation. If you do not see Rocky as one of the great American sports movies than godspeed with your application for North Korean citizenship.
7. For Love Of The Game. Kevin Costner knows how to do sports movies. The sports story in this movie is blended with a love story that takes up about half of the movie but when the sports story is a pitcher past his prime throwing a perfect game in Yankee Stadium against the Yankees the love story gets a pass.
8. Caddyshack. Bill Murray hunting gophers mingled with golfers. Enough said.
9. The Blind Side. This movie is proof that Sandra Bullock actually can act when she wants to. Unfortunately this is the only movie of her over-hyped career where she has actually chosen to not play the role of a clueless ditz and actually act. Great story. Any sports movie where the NCAA are the bad guys has the making of a great movie.
10. 8 Men Out. This movie depicts the scandal surrounding the 1919 “Black Sox” throwing the 1919 World Series to secure a payday from mobsters. A nice historical backdrop to the “Shoeless Joe” story in Field of Dreams.
Honorable Mentions: Major League, Cinderella Man, We Are Marshall, Bull Durham, The Natural
Posted by Hatch