Thursday, September 12, 2013
FIELDS OF DREAMS (REVISITED)
Back before I cried at almost any film moment that moved me for whatever reason—great acting, emotional peak of the plot, nostalgia, memories of my youth or people long gone—I never cried at movies.
Then FIELD OF DREAMS came out and I took a beautiful woman I was dating for the first time and as we sat in the dark theater I was mentally tearing the movie apart because it completely skipped the history of segregation in baseball and where was Satchel Page and other greats of "The Negro League" in the film, which I would have been thinking even if my date were not of African ancestry, and the novelist character was so contrived, part J. D. Salinger part wishful thinking (but played brilliantly by James Earl Jones, as always), as was most of the story...
...and yet something must have been resonating (now I can see it was a convergence of things including Burt Lancaster in one of his last, perhaps his last, movie role, a man who I imitated as a boy and young man because his film performances impacted me so much) most importantly my unresolved conflicts with my own father, but at that moment in that theater I was unaware of anything but my critique until the climactic moment when Kevin Costner's character plays catch with the ghost of his father's youth...
...and suddenly I hear someone sobbing hysterically before I even realized it was me. I was completely embarrassed and did my best to compose myself by the time the lights came up, but I was emotionally drained for days afterward.
Well I just caught the last half of the film and once again I was mentally criticizing the lack of historic black baseball players or any reference to them or the decades of segregation in the sport and some of the corny plot points but had to admit the acting was all pretty damn good and then before I knew it....bah hah hah I'm sobbing. Only for a minute or two but for that moment uncontrollably once again.
I wonder if it hits other men that way or just me or those of us whose fathers are long gone and we wished we had had the chance to play catch with them just once before they were.