Folks, believe it or not, I've actually been to Iowa's Field of Dreams, the very place where the much beloved cinematic fantasy of the same name was made in 1989. No, I didn't run the bases or take a place at home plate for a swing, but the wifey and I did walk through the corn in that goofy way wherein we both imagined we were travelling through the ages. It's a fabulous place to visit if for no other reason than you kinda/sorta get to re-experience the magic of that seminal film entirely on your own: walking around, you feel almost giddy as you watch folks coming from near and far to, simply, be on that baseball field with one another. Why, it oughta be in pictures!
Ray Liotta in the guise of 'Shoeless Joe Jackson' certainly delivered some of the film's best moments. Though I've never read what he thought of the picture (I'm quite certain it's out there, I've just never taken the time to research it), one would hope that it touched him in even a small way, as the message of the feature continues to ring true with folks decades later.
Still, genre never much called for Liotta, so far as I can tell. His appearances in the truest forms of the imagination are pretty few and far between. (That's not a complaint, folks, it's just an honest observation.) I do recall him appearing in 1994's No Escape -- a futuristic prison movie -- along with Lance Henriksen. A quick glance at his IMDB.com page also shows a visit to the world of Muppets In Space (1999) and some work in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014) of note. Otherwise, that's about all I find.
One of my other fascinations is vintage crime stuff -- I've always been a junkie on the American Prohibition Era and tales surrounding Murder, Inc. and Al Capone and Lucky Luciano -- so, yes, I've seen Liotta's work in Martin Scorsese's much-heralded Goodfellas. I couldn't say why exactly, but the film really did very little for me. Performances were all great, and -- as is the case with much of Scorsese's work -- there's no denying the quality; but aside for a few sequences I just wasn't as captivated as others were with the tale. I am liable to pick up the book it was based on someday and read that -- like I said, crime and general mob yarns excite me -- but I'd always be hesitant to revisit the film as I just think there are many more choices out there vastly more engaging.
Lastly, I do remember Liotta serving as the series narrator for AMC's great non-fiction miniseries The Making Of The Mob. It was a historical accounting of the rise of true gang crime in New York of the late 19th century and early 20th. Fascinating and incisivie, the program made a great choice in having the actor weave audiences through the intricacies of gangland origins, especially given the man's screen persona with so much of mainstream audiences.
Alas, none of us last forever, and word has reached the editor's desk this morning that the man passed overnight in his sleep. Hollywood and beyond has lost a true original.
Thoughts and prayers are extended to the family and friends of Mr. Liotta.