0833: Field of Dreams (1989)

Field of Dreams.jpg

Rating: [8/10]

This movie takes its time at the beginning when Kevin Costner first hears the voice telling him to build “it” so “he” can “come.” Makes a lot of questions that the audience already had answered for them thanks to the preview, poster art, book, reviews, the name of the movie, and their dad. But it still has to explain everything as slowly as possible.

Okay, it does have some faster scenes too, for every slow scene is a fast scene, and this is usually a good way to do it to change pacing and keep your audience interested and everything, but this is more like a quick thing happens, like Costner’s character hears a voice telling him to build a ballpark, then he and his wife have to talk about it, then he does it, then something else happens, and then he and his wife have to talk about it, then he does it, then something else happens, and then he and his wife have to talk about it, then he does it, then something else happens, then he and his wife….do you see a pattern here? I don’t really care if it’s more accurate to the book or something. For every book you will always have people complaining, “oh, well, they didn’t do that in the novel! Books aren’t movies and the way things are on screen will always be different from how they are in your head. That’s true of screenplays too. Though a script might be really good on paper it will always have to change when adapted to screen. You see, movies throughout their whole process are constantly adapted until the opening night. You may have a sci-fi with your script, a rom-com when it’s filmed, a postmodern psychological thriller when it’s edited, and then the studios didn’t like that because some of the people in the first test audience so they re-edit it into a period piece set in the 1700s and now everyone universally hates it. The studios release it anyway because they have to make their money back somehow. They just advertise it as if it were a superhero movie because that’s all that people go to the theater for anyway. So, don’t worry, the studio’s gonna make out okay. They’ll end up making the money they lost back on the toneless piece of shit they’ve made which is probably also on this list of movies I’m going through…

Well, I’ve ranted that complaint into oblivion. The pointless scenes are really only a major issue in the first act of the movie. It gets better when Kevin Costner goes out to find James Earl Jones and it becomes a road movie for a little bit. It becomes a pretty good movie by the end of it. But it just seems like screenplay writers are just phoning in the first acts of their movie. Why!? Don’t you realize it’s where you’re supposed to GRIP the audience, make it so they don’t want to leave your movie before it’s even begun. It doesn’t have to be action packed or open with an explosion or something. Just make it interesting. It can be interesting in the dialogue, or the scenery, or the music, but for the love of god make the plot interesting. And get your movie rolling within the first ten minutes of screentime. Don’t introduce us to normal people, we all know what they do with their life. Or if you do, introduce them to us QUICKLY. Make it as fast as you possibly can. Show us how normal they are for just a moment before your movie kicks them out of the situation they’re in.

First acts should introduce us to the characters and the world they’re in. But you should remember that it’s also just as much a part of telling your story as the end, and the middle, and I’m sure I’ll complain about those parts later on. But most movies have a first act problem. They’re all essentially the same. “because the story hasn’t started yet, I just have to show normal moments in my main characters life. My audience wants to know who they are!” So they use the first thirty minutes of the movie to wipe their ass and don’t do anything that doesn’t WASTE MY TIME! The movie may as well start at the thirty minute mark. Make that your first act instead, see how that changes the whole formula.

Why you should watch it before you die: Well, aside from the first act, which felt just a little pointless in parts. This was a nearly-perfect, emotional drama about baseball. Unless you absolutely hate baseball, you should watch it.

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