Photo of Derek Jeter, formerly of the NY Yankees, from Google Images
From my book, page 57:
An example of iconic realism in a film would be the baseball field within the 1989 film, Field of Dreams, based on the novel written by W. P. Kinsella and the screenplay written and directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Throughout the film, the audience knows that the mysterious baseball diamond, carved out of an Iowan cornfield by farmer Ray Kinsella, connects with the sport of baseball. Two iconic factors are present, the sport, which many view as America’s heart and the location, which is the heartland of America.
The realism is the actual grass, the parameters of the field, which consist of the edge of a cornfield and the players, themselves, which are the Chicago Black Socks, a team which had gone through a series of legalities during its prime season. The baseball players are ghosts from this infamous team, who simply wish to play out eternity on a ball field. As the plot unfolds, Ray’s true reason to construct the field revolves around ‘having a catch’ with his father. Therefore, the iconic feature of an authentic baseball field, placed in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa, a very unlikely place for a baseball field, elicits the cultural awareness from the main character. Ray’s illusions of his father were detached from a realistic understanding of his father’s passion, for he very much like Ray, himself, was a hardworking young man, who loved baseball.
Therefore, Robinson’s use of iconic realism in the Field of Dreams illustrates a personal mission of opening the consciousness of America to the conflict within the heart of its people and traditions. The use of illusion and human consciousness illuminate the struggle with personal motivation that produces results as stated repeatedly throughout the film, “If you build it, he will come.” This feature of iconic realism in the Field of Dreams adapts well to contemporary statements of community in iconic characterizations and the realistic dynamics of connection and detachment.