An American classic that depends on the sport, subculture and colloquialisms of an understanding audience may not make the transition to the United Kingdom as well as expected. It is the reverse effect of projects such as I, Daniel Blake or The Damned United not quite working out their American market. Not because they necessarily need to, but because the culture is so volatile and different in comparison. Field of Dreams is a bridge for that gap, an experience led by grand performances that can include just about everyone in its baseball-led drama, sports jargon et al. Audiences can connect with ideas and cultural pieces beyond their own, but not baseball. Baseball is the sport of hell.
An interview with leading man Eddie Murphy describing the process of hiring director John Landis reveals more than anyone could expect for Coming to America, a relatively safe and disengaged comedy. The late 1980s produced some of the finest films to date, but it was here that the comedy began to falter. Long gone were the laugh-a-minute barrages of Airplane! or the inventive chaos provided by Time Bandits, and the seeds of Saturday Night Live were slowly beginning to blossom. While it would be a couple of years before audiences had a taste of Wayne’s World, the passing of the torch was beginning to take centre stage. Case in point, Coming to America does indeed feel like a farewell to Murphy’s imperium of the genre.