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Rated PG · 106 minutes
Well-made treacle (1989), adapted by writer-director Phil Alden Robinson from W.P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe. A fledgling farmer (Kevin Costner) hears a voice in an Iowa cornfield and has a vision that convinces him that if he builds a baseball diamond in his field, Shoeless Joe Jackson, of the notorious 1919 White Sox, will turn up to play there. Other messages and signs follow, leading the hero to meet a former novelist in hiding (James Earl Jones) and a deceased ballplayer who ended his life as a doctor (Burt Lancaster). The strange mixture of nostalgia, poetry, pop mysticism, and innocence suggests both Ray Bradbury and Steven Spielberg, at their best as well as their worst; the conception is sentimental, but the storytelling remains assured and effective. With Amy Madigan as the hero's sympathetic wife, Gaby Hoffmann as their daughter, and Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe.

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