Field of Dreams

  • Directors: Phil Alden Robinson
  • Producers: Lawrence Gordon and, Charles Gordon
  • Writers: W P Kinsella, Phil Alden Robinson
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Sport
  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Timothy Busfield, Frank Whaley, Gaby Hoffmann, with Ray Liotta, as Shoeless Joe, and Burt Lancaster, as Doc Graham

Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is a novice farmer who lives in rural Iowa with his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan), and their young daughter Karin (Gaby Hoffmann). Ray’s deceased father, John Kinsella (Dwier Brown), loved baseball, the Chicago White Sox, and Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta), who was banned from baseball for his part in throwing the 1919 World Series. To Ray, his father seemed “worn down” by life, an old man before his time.

While walking through his cornfield, Ray hears a voice whisper, “If you build it, he will come”, and sees a vision of a baseball field. Annie is skeptical, but supportive, as she tells him to follow his vision. Ray plows under his corn crop – to the amazement of his neighbors – and builds the field as requested, hoping to find out what will happen. He waits all year, but nothing happens; dejected and confused, Ray retains the ballfield for the next growing season.

One night the next summer, as Ray and Annie are debating planting corn in the ballfield in order to stay financially solvent, their daughter, Karin, comes to them and tells them that someone is on the ballfield. An astonished Ray comes out to the field to see who it is. Ray discovers that it’s Shoeless Joe Jackson. Ray hits some balls to Shoeless Joe and pitches to him. Joe is thrilled to have a field on which to play, and asks if he can bring some friends. The next time he returns, he brings the other seven players banned in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. All of these players are long dead, but it is unclear if they are ghosts or if they have been brought back to life. Soon after, Ray is told by his brother-in-law Mark (Timothy Busfield) – who is unable to see the players – that unless he gets rid of the baseball field and returns it to farmland, he will go bankrupt. Mark is employed by the same bank that holds Ray’s mortgage, and warns him that the only reason his property has not been brought into foreclosure is due to Mark’s influence, out of concern for his sister.

At his wife’s suggestion, Ray introduces John to his granddaughter, Karin, catching himself before telling Karin who he is, and simply introducing him as “John”. They walk and talk together and then, as his father is heading toward the outfield to leave with the rest of the players, Ray asks him to have a catch, finally calling him “Dad”. Father and son choke back tears and, as they have a catch, the viewer is pulled back and high above the field. A long line of cars approaches the baseball field, the trail of headlights extending to the horizon and the twilight.

The Sum of All Fears

  • Directors: Phil Alden Robinson
  • Producers: Mace Neufeld
  • Writers: Tom Clancy, Paul Attanasio Daniel Pyne
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Byrne

The film begins with a sequence inspired by the novel’s prologue set during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which a single Israeli A-4 jet carrying a nuclear weapon is shot down over the Syrian desert. The bomb, over time, is consumed by the sand and disappears.

The film narrative then shifts forward 29 years and inside a secret government bunker in Mount Weather, Virginia, where President J. Robert Fowler (James Cromwell) and some of his senior national security advisors, including Central Intelligence Agency Director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman), are conducting a top-secret wargame, simulating a Russian nuclear attack against the United States.

In 2002, the bomb is found in Syria by a couple of scrap dealers and unwittingly sold to an arms dealer named Olson (Colm Feore), who in turn sells it to an Austrian neo-Nazi named Richard Dressler (Alan Bates) for 50 million dollars on the black market.

Meanwhile, the United States becomes concerned when Alexander Nemerov (Ciaran Hinds) becomes the new president of the Russian Federation. Nemerov is seen as a hard-liner with regards to his control over the Russian military. The Director of Central Intelligence seeks the opinion of young CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck), who has done extensive research on Nemerov’s life and career. While on a routine inspection of Russia’s nuclear weapons facilities, Cabot and Ryan are invited to the Kremlin to meet with Nemerov personally. Tension arises when Nemerov likens the United States’ involvement in Russian-Chechen affairs to “sleeping with another man’s wife”, with Russia playing the part of the betrayed and vengeful husband. Nonetheless, Nemerov appears to like Jack Ryan (Affleck) after Ryan complements Nemerov in Russian.

The final scene takes place in Washington, D.C., where Presidents Fowler and Nemerov address the Baltimore tragedy and the future of Weapons of Mass Destruction during a speech on the White House lawn. In a nearby park, Ryan and Cathy Mueller are having a picnic when they are approached by Grushkov. It is revealed that Grushkov is Spinnaker: Cabot’s covert source in Moscow. Grushkov gives Dr. Muller a “modest gift” for her engagement to Ryan. Muller and Ryan are perplexed, as they have not told anyone of their engagement. Ryan asks Grushkov how he could possibly know this secret, but he simply smiles, shrugs and walks away.