Our first semifinal was utterly predictable. Bull Durham continued its march through the tournament with another impressive win, this time knocking off Moneyball, 97-79. It was a steady, unspectacular win in which the Costner classic notched a small win in every day voting was open. To call this flick a juggernaut would be cliché.
On the other side, however, The Sandlot vs. Field of Dreams matchup was interesting and a little bizarre. The Sandlot held a solid lead when I went to bed at the end of the first day of voting, with about half of the ultimate final number of vote count in. But strong performance from our overseas and/or late-night drunk voting contingent pushed Field of Dreams into the lead by the next morning. The pattern continued, with Sandlot performing well during daylight, and FoD reasserting itself in the overnight. The kids from the San Fernando Valley would never again manage to grab a lead, and the semifinal concluded with Field of Dreams in front 94-86. People came.
So it’s Costner vs. Costner in the finals, as we always knew it would be. Which is the Ultimate Baseball Movie? Is Bull Durham a chick flick disguised as a baseball movie? Is Field of Dreams overrated, overly sentimental pablum for people with daddy issues? I’d like to suggest to you that the answer to both those questions can be yes, and either film can still handily be the Greatest of All Time. Because baseball doesn’t have a gender, and it is played by real people with real emotions. And because baseball (and life) is sentimental.
Pick any movie, and you can come up with people who will pick it to pieces (full disclosure: if you are watching a movie with me, I am one of those people). But here’s the thing: sometimes, we love people and things in spite of their flaws. Sometimes, after a period of time, we even begin to love their flaws. I think for me, both these movies have passed this test.
So who ya got? Personally, I’m going with the one that has Kevin Costner.
Voting closes at midnight on Thursday.