By Mark Weyermuller -
It's been only two years since President Obama said "If you've got a business, you didn't build that ..." It's been 25 years since a ghost said, "If you build it, he will come," the famous tag line from the classic baseball movie "Field of Dreams."
Recently my family and I attended a screening of "Field of Dreams" at the Music Box Theater in Wrigleyville. One of the movie's stars, Dwier Brown, also attended to promote his new book appropriately titled, "If You Build It..." In the movie, Brown played John Kinsella, father of Ray Kinsella, who was portrayed by Kevin Kostner.
While Brown is in the film less than six minutes, his impact is huge. As the movie winds down, Ray says, "Hey Dad, wanna have a catch?" This is the most well-known line of the movie and has brought grown men to tears.
In Brown's book, he talks about many encounters with men sharing stories about their fathers. Here is one example: "So, when I was watching Field of Dreams that day, I completely fell apart because, for me, it was the perfect expression of the longing I had been feeling inside for my father."
The movie is based on the book Shoeless Joe. During one scene, the Shoeless Joe Jackson character, played by Ray Liotta, asks, "Hey, is this heaven?" Ray answers, "No, it's Iowa."
Later in the film, heaven is discussed again - between the main character and who Ray Kinsella referred to as "Dad":
John Kinsella: Is this heaven?
Ray Kinsella: It's Iowa.
John Kinsella: Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven. [starts to walk away]
Ray Kinsella: Is there a heaven?
John Kinsella: Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true. [Ray looks around, seeing his wife playing with their daughter on the porch]
Ray Kinsella: Maybe this is heaven.
This past year, Hollywood produced several new films with religious themes, including "Heaven is for Real" and "God is not Dead." Much like "Field of Dreams," films continue to bring up this topic of an Almighty Being and an afterlife.
After the film, Dwier Brown was joined on stage by Chicago Tribune sports columnist Steve Rosenbloom and movie critic Michael Phillips for a Q and A. I asked the first question which was, "Did John Kinsella know Ray was his son?" Brown indicated yes and explained the whole symbolism of the father-son reunion and reconciliation.
While I've seen the film over 25 times, it was spectacular to see it once again on the big screen at the historic Music Box Theater. We bought the book, got a baseball signed, and took some selfies.
Fortunately for me, I have a great relationship with my three sons, and we often do "have a catch."
It seems to me that Obama was wrong when he said "You didn't build that." Ray Kinsella did build it, and his dream came true - just like they still can today.