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Field of Dreams (1989)

If you build it, he will come.

— The Voice

This is the last movie that I saw before my burnout happened over two months, the guy tear-jerker Field of Dreams. There is an unwritten rule that if you are a man and you don’t cry at the end of, you have no soul. That is true. Every boy wants to have one game of catch with their fathers once in their lifetime. Based on the novel, “Shoeless Joe”, it was nominated for three Oscars including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score.

A farmer from Iowa named Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is walking through his field when he hears a disembodied saying, “If you built it, he will come.” He hears the same phrase repeatedly, but he is the only one that hears it. He confesses to his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan) about the phrase that he keeps on hearing. She thinks that maybe it was God talking to him or maybe he is going off the deep end.

Ray randomly questions the townspeople about the meaning of the phrase until he realizes that he has to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. He thinks that this action would bring a childhood hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, back so he could play one last game. Ray thinks that he is turning into his father (Dwier Brown), a man who played it safe during his life and never took chances.

Ray decided to plow him field, much to the chagrin of the people in the town who think that Ray is bonkers  and would lose his farm. He spends his life savings building the diamond, waiting for something to happen. Months go by with no response until there is a man walking in the diamond. It is Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta). They play a mini game of baseball. When they are done playing, Ray and Joe realize that Joe cannot step foot outside of the diamond. Joe disappears into the cornfield.

Ray’s brother, Mark (Timothy Busfield) thinks that Ray is crazy to think that he could afford the farm when he wiped out most of his crop. The bank is threatening to take away the home. The NY Yankees team from the 1919 World Series come to play ball in the field. Ray, Annie and their daughter, Karin (Gaby Hoffmann) can see them, but Mark cannot.

Ray has enough to deal with when the voice tells him to “ease his pain”. He thought he meant the radical novelist turned social recluse, Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones). He tries to kidnap him to take him to a ball game where he didn’t have the opportunity to do when his father.

I might have remembered the movie differently, because I didn’t get the same feeling with movie like I did when I was younger. I bawled at the end of the movie, but I had a heartwarming feeling by this last viewing. Hmm… I guess, the magic of the film is gone.

Judgment: It’s still a fun ride, but its lost its luster.

Rating: 7/10

The Upside of Anger (2005)

I believe that The Upside of Anger was the unsung hero of 2005. I wanted to see the movie during its theatrical run because something about Joan Allen and Kevin Costner pulled me to it. I loved the movie and put it on my top ten list of that year. I even owned the DVD, but all you say may know that I had to sell it to buy food. The two lead gives great performances that they were nominated for Critics’ Choice Awards and nothing else. Shame.

Terry Wolfmeyer (Allen) devolves into a bitter, resentful state when her husband leaves her for his Swedish secretary. She is a complete mess, hanging around the house in her nightgown with a cigarette in one hand and a vodka tonic in the other. She has to care for her four daughters; the uptight college student, Hadley (Alicia Witt); the working girl, Andy (Erika Christensen), the anorexic ballet dancer, Emily (Keri Russell) and the introspective, Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood).

Former baseball player/radio show host Denny Davies (Costner) comes by the house to check up on the girls, because he was a friend of Terry’s husband. He talks to Terry about the proposed neighborhood that would be built in the back of the Wolfmeyer property. Terry doesn’t care anything about the new neighborhood, she wants to drink her troubles away. Denny joins her as drinking buddies, because he is clinging on to his former baseball glory. He is getting pressure from his producer, Shep (Mike Binder) to talk about baseball instead of spewing on about his life. His ratings are suffering.

The relationship between Terry and Denny changes when they start to have a deeper connection than getting hammered. Everybody’s lives will be profoundly affected when relationships are tested and an unexpected discovery happens to them.

I cannot gush more about this movie that I always have. I thought that it was screwed out of some more awards attention. Joan Allen was real and embodied the character. I felt for her as she went through her journey. Costner was in top form playing another former baseball player. You kinda feel like he is typecasted, because he was played a baseball player in Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and For Love of the Game. I feel like this is the swan song of those characters. Writer/director, Mike Binder probably made the conscious decision to have Costner retire his signature characters.

Judgment: Give this movie a chance, you won’t regret it.

Rating: 8/10

The Untouchables (1987)

I want you to get this fuck where he breathes! I want you to find this nancy-boy Eliot Ness, I want him DEAD! I want his family DEAD! I want his house burned to the GROUND! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna PISS ON HIS ASHES.

— Al Capone

I was so excited that The Untouchables was being shown on BBC America over the weekend. I have not seen the film in a while. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. This is the movie that brought Sean Connery the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Some people think that Brian De Palma is a hack director, but you cannot tell that the shootout in the train station was not an exercise of tension, suspense and keeping the audience at the edge of their seats.

The Untouchables is the big screen version of the 1950s television series that explored the adventures of Special Agent of the Treasury Department, Detective Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) abiding by the laws that he swore to uphold.

He has trouble doing this because 1930s Los Angeles is filled with corruption, violence and murder. The main culprit is the notorious gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro) that has the police department and the judicial system on his payroll. Ness believes that he has the intel on a shipment of Canadian whiskey ordered by Capone. It turns out to be a ruse and Ness has egg on his face.

Ostracized at the force, Ness has a chances meeting with a beat cop named Jim Malone (Connery) who turns out to be a mentor to him. Ness wants to form a new task force with some unlikely characters like a mousey accountant that was hired to look into Capone’s books, Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith) or a fresh recruit that has a dead on shot, George Stone (Andy Garcia). They form the titular team.

They begin to taken down Al Capone’s liquor hideouts. Capone is not happy and wants to make Ness’ life a living hell.

I am a sucker for period action films with gangsters, liquor and tommy guns.

Judgment: This movie is perfect for me. I think this is a guy film like The Shawshank Redemption and Fight Club.

Rating: 8/10

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