Favorite Movie Quotes

July 11, 2010

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My daughter, age 2 (soon to be 3), seems to have acquired a favorite quote from a TV show.  Last weekend, she started saying “Wait a minute!  coconuts don’t have feet!”  The line, of course, is from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode Goofy’s Coconutty Monkey.  Spoiler alert: Chip and Dale stole the coconuts.

This got me started thinking about my favorite lines from movies.  There’s the old standby – “My Name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die!” – uttered by Mr. Montoya in The Princess Bride.

My very favorite line from a movie actually requires an explanation.  The quote is this: “Oh.  Dog and a beer.

OK, how many of you know exactly where that comes from?  There’s probably one person out there.  It comes from The Field of Dreams, an all-time favorite movie of mine.  The brilliance isn’t in the line itself.  It’s in the setup.  Prior to this, Ray Kinsella had asked Terence Mann “What do you want?”  Mann had responded “I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.”  This is a perfectly fitting response for a reclusive author who hates the spotlight.

Then we see Ray gesture up at a concession stand and he asks “No, I mean, what do you want.”  At this point, the question shifts from something that requires an answer from deep within the soul to something that requires an answer from deep within the stomach – eliciting the request for a hot dog and a beer.  The setup is everything.

What’s your favorite movie line?

Is The Field Of Dreams Worth 5 Million Dollars?

May 16, 2010

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This week, many media outlets reported that the farm from Field of Dreams is up for sale.  The asking price for the 193 acre farm (including the 13 acres that encompass the field) is $5.4 million.  This amount has raised a lot of eyebrows.  After all, this is Iowa, not Manhattan!

Is it worth $5.4 million?  I don’t know.  One thing for sure is that there are several factors that come into playing when placing a value on the property.

First, the majority of the property is active farmland.  There is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 170 tillable acres.  Farmland in Dubuque County can sell for as much as $4500 per acre, placing the value of the cropland at as much as $765,000.  Then there is the house and the six outbuildings.  Put this all together, and you’re going to be getting close to $1 million.  Note that the farm is currently rented out to other farmers – so there’s already a cash flow in place from rents.

The there is the “cool” factor of living in a movie set.  If you’re a big fan of the movie (and have a lot of money) what is this worth?  There is only one Field of Dreams movie location (although there are many knockoffs) – so the sellers have scarcity on their side.

It’s also very likely that the new owners would want to make some money off tourists.  Although it has been 21 years since the movie came out, it still draws 65,000 visitors each year.  How much does it cost to walk around the field?  Absolutely nothing.  The Lansings are happy to let you do this for free – banking on the fact that this will give you a warm feeling when you visit the souvenir stand.

What could the new owner do to attract more tourists?

The obvious moneymaker would be a hotel on the site.  This would require a zoning change, though, as the location is currently zoned agricultural.

Baseball camps would be another good way to make some money.  In fact, actual baseball has been played on the field quite a bit over the years.  In 1991 and 1992, there were charity games on the site featuring Hall of Famers such as Bob Feller (a native Iowan) and Reggie Jackson facing off against Hollywood celebrities.  I remember that Reggie smacked one into the corn for a homer.

The Field of Dreams casino is probably not an option – there’s another casino a short distance away in Dubuque.

Some other tidbits:

  • The field was originally owned by two different families.  The Ameskamp family owned left and center field.  After the filming was done, they plowed it under to plant corn.  Later, they realized that tourists were more profitable than corn.  Until the Lansings bought them out a couple of years ago, the two families maintained separate concession stands.
  • In the book Shoeless Joe (upon which the movie was based), the angry writer was J.D. Salinger.  Salinger wouldn’t agree to having his name used in the movie – and if you see how he is portrayed in the book and movie, you can probably figure out why!  Of course, this is probably a blessing in disguise.  If the character had remained Salinger instead of the fictional Terence Mann, it’s very unlikely that James Earl Jones would have been picked for the role.  I’m a big fan of Jones.
  • I grew up about 10 miles away from the Field of Dreams, so I’m biased in thinking it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.  But if you do decide to visit, check out some other sites in Iowa when you’re here.  You can refer to this handy guide I wrote several months ago.