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The Sandlot (1993)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
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7.0
 / 10
18 votes
Genres:
Americana, Baseball, Children's / Family, Coming-Of-Age, Period Film, Sports Comedy
Director:
David M. Evans David M. Evans
Starring:
Tom Guiry Tom Guiry
Mike Vitar Mike Vitar
Patrick Renna Patrick Renna
Chauncey Leopardi Chauncey Leopardi
Marty York Marty York
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 02, 2005
"This is smore's stuff. First you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallow's flaming, you stick in on the chocolate, and cover it with the other end. Then, you scarf." -- Hamilton "Ham" Porter, 1993.

Remember when being a kid was fun? I can remember being eleven-years-old and building an island fort in the field down from my house. Every day, we would go there with hammers, nails, and lumber in tow - and we'd work until the sun went down. That was how I spent my summers in the South. Just about everyone has a story similar to that one - a single event that basically sums up your entire childhood. Films today don't capture that kind of magic like they use to. Remember how nostalgic "My Girl" was, with the perfect music and that kinetic energy of youth? Remember that feeling you had when you watched "Stand By Me" for the first time? We don't get films like that anymore - we get inexpensive horror films and half-witted comedies about weddings and sex with pies. In 1993, however, one film stood alone as the most energetic and outrageous film of the year, and possibly of the decade. When I first saw "The Sandlot", I immediately knew it was going to be something I would remember for a long time. I was eleven-years-old and thought it was just the best thing since sliced bread. Twelve years later - twelve years of watching hundreds of other films - and it is still the best thing since sliced bread. Not only is "The Sandlot" the greatest family friendly film ever, but also one of my favorite films of all-time. It oozes perfection.

The plot revolves around a perfect Summer adventure. Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) is the new kid in town who wants to fit in, but doesn't know how. His mother (Karen Allen) wants him to make friends, but he is too shy. His stepfather (Denis Leary) tries to teach him how to play baseball, but that doesn't work so well either. However, something happens when Scott meets Benny (Mike Vitar). They become friends, and Benny decides to take Scott under his wing and show him how to play baseball. This takes Scott to a local baseball field called 'the sandlot', where a group of area kids play baseball day in and day out all Summer long. It feels like something out of a dream, the way that these kids treat baseball how the game should be treated. Some of the kids include: Ham, the chunky catcher who acts bigger and badder than he actually is; Yeah-Yeah, who only knows two words in the English language; Squints, who gives annoying and geek whole new definitions; and, DeNunez, who is billed to be quite possibly the best pitcher in the entire world. These kids represent a large chunk of the team. The film follows them all through their Summer together - from battling the rival baseball team in the neighborhood, to losing a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth when it lands in the yard of a treacherous demon dog known as 'the beast'. A large chunk of the film revolves around retrieving this baseball from the dog, and it is wonderful in the way that it treats this event like a life and death matter. These kids really think this dog is going to chew them all to pieces, and it is fun to watch their imaginations run wild.

Working with an all child cast can be very tricky for some directors, but David M. Evans manages to hit all the right buttons. This cast is perfectly assembled, from Tom Guiry as the timid and spastic Scotty, to Patrick Renna as the loud mouthed - "The Great Bambeeeeeeno!" - catcher. Denis Leary, Karen Allen, and James Earl Jones help add some acting depth to the cast, but they all knew why they are there - as support for the kids. They never try to steal the show, and that helps the film maintain such innocence. Since this film, few of the young actors have continued acting. Tom Guiry ("Scott") is the exception, starring in films like "Tigerland", "Black Hawk Down", and "Mystic River". Patrick Renna ("Ham") starred in films like "The Big Green" and "Son-In-Law" as a child, but has done very little since. Marty York ("Yeah-Yeah") currently works as a magician and illusionist at Universal Studios, and most of the others gave up acting altogether. What a great film to be your only one - that's a 100% batting average. This film also gives actors like James Earl Jones and Denis Leary wonderful resume boosters, especially since they deliver such heartfelt performances. Oh, and what about Art LaFleur as The Babe? Priceless.

There are so many memorable scenes in this film, it is difficult to narrow any down. One would have to be the scene at the carnival, where the whole team thinks it a good idea to experiment with chewing tobacco. The end result is just as disgusting as Gordie's story in "Stand By Me". Another classic scenes involves a trip to the pool, where Squints pretends to drown in order to receive mouth-to-mouth from the female lifeguard, who also just happens to be the hottest girl in town. Also, how many times have you caught yourself quoting a line from "The Sandlot" - "You're killing me, Smalls!", "You play ball like a girl!", The kid's an L-7 weenie", "The colossus of clout". I know I have used some of those (especially L-7 weenie) for years and years, and plan on continuing to use them for years and years. There are just some films that have a dialogue and speech all their own, and "The Sandlot" certainly qualifies. When these kids talk to one another, we really get the feeling that this is how a normal conversation between children back then would have gone - nothing fancy, just bluntness and complete honesty.

When I say "The Sandlot" is a classic, I mean totally and completely. There has never been another film like it (though there have been unsuccessful attempts - "Rookie of the Year", "Little Big League") and there will likely never be again. This film is enjoyed by older people because it skillfully depicts a time in their lives that was special, memorable, and probably sorely missed. This film is enjoyed by younger people in that it carefully and brilliantly conveys how it feels to be a kid, and how it feels to be a kid during Summer vacation. "The Sandlot" is everything a classic should be - it has humor, heart, drama, suspense, and all of those other little outside factors that turn regular cinema into pure genius. If you think I am overpraising this film - watch it again. Then, we'll see who is wrong. 8.5/10.
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Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #1: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 08/16/2005, 09:12 PM
Damn, this was the movie back then. I still would today say that I love this movie as much as I used to except I recently gave it a view after a 5 or 7 year hiatus and caught some of the imperfections in it that aren't noticed when you're young. Not that they totally ruined the movie for me nowadays, as it really is still a fun one to watch.
7.5/10
Bill Wolford #2: Bill Wolford - added 04/18/2013, 03:23 AM
recently voted best baseball movie of all time!
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