While we’re waiting for the Bulls to sign Carmelo Anthony and the Blackhawks to trade Patrick Sharp, let me invite you to an event that will make me cry.
It’s another of our sports movie nights and it’s “Field of Dreams,’’ and I will cry at the end because I always do.
Truth is, I cry at the end of two movies: “Field of Dreams’’ and “E.T.’’ Always and forever. Elliott says goodbye to his new friend and Ray says hello to his dad.
Well, no. Kevin Costner’s Ray Kinsella doesn’t say hello to his dad. He says the magic words:
“Hey ... dad. You wanna have a catch?’’
And his dad says, "Yes, I'd like that,'' and forget it. I hear that and the waterworks start.
I don’t know exactly why, but I think I lose it at that point because the whole movie builds on a silly premise. It’s a fairytale. Yeah, I get it, we suspend belief when we submit to a film, but even conventional suspension of belief is stretched here.
Costner’s character hears a voice in his head: “If you build it, he will come.’’ Who’s the voice and who is “he’’?
Costner’s character doesn’t wait for an answer before clearing his cornfields and building a ballfield. His wife, Annie, played by Chicago’s Amy Madigan, doesn’t know what to do with her nutbag husband.
But look at that: There’s James Earl Jones -- talk about a voice -- telling him that “People will come, Ray,’’ and people do come. Some of them are the Chicago Black Sox, led by Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson. And blah, blah, blah. “Field of Dreams’’ is pure nonsense.
And then come those last two lines, and it’s as real as life itself.
After all the fantastical ideas that play out in “Field of Dreams,’’ that moment, that idea just kills me.
Father. Son. Catch.
That’s not baseball. That’s not just baseball, I mean. That’s part of a dad’s DNA. My DNA, anyway. It’s a bond for life. It’s what backyards are for.
This goes for mothers as well as fathers and daughters as well as sons. One of the best movie nights we put on occurred last summer when “A League of Their Own’’ drew tons of daddy-daughter dates, softball teams and even a birthday party. I can’t say that baseball is America, but I know it’s one of the first pages in the scrapbook of my memory.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of everybody tromping through the cornfields of Iowa. Which means it has been 25 years since I’ve cried after watching arguably the greatest baseball movie on the big screen.
It might be 25 years since you’ve seen it on the big screen, too, so we can end our slumps together on Aug. 7.
We’re showing “Field of Dreams’’ at the classically designed Music Box because that’s how we do these things at TribEvents. It’s only $15 -- cheap -- plus a $1.82 service charge -- cheaper still -- for an evening that’s made for families. Here’s the link.
Tribune movie critic Michael Phillips and I will lead a post-movie discussion, and we hope to Skype in a special guest or two. We can’t make promises right now because ghosts in the cornfield can be difficult to pin down.
Hurry. These things sell out. But don’t tell anyone I turn into a weenie at the end of this film. My career would be ruined. I know my secret is safe with you.