‘The Sandlot’ Review: “Legends Never Die”
April 7th, 1993: the day the ghost of Babe Ruth (Art LaFleur) taught audiences that legends never die. The Sandlot has been a film for children and adults of all ages to enjoy. It’s one of the best coming-of-age stories ever made. We watch it at home, at school, and every 4th of July after Jaws. This story is about a group of kids in a suburb in California that go on a wild adventure, break all the rules, and learn that sometimes all you need is courage.
The Sandlot follows Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry), a kid that just moved to California in 1962. He meets a group of neighborhood kids, Benny (Mike Vitar), Ham (Patrick Renna), Squints (Chauncey Leopardi), Yeah-Yeah (Marty York), Kenny DeNunez (Brandon Adams), Bertram (Grant Gelt), and Repeat (Shane Obedzinki). Smalls spends the beginning of the film trying to prove he’s a baseball fan, and learning about baseball. The group goes through the motions day by day. They play baseball, go to the pool and get kicked out, go to the carnival, and lose a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. The loss of the baseball is arguably the biggest and most effective plot point of all.
On their way to retrieve it, they find that a giant dog of legend called “The Beast” has it so they must do what they can to get it back. The boys’ first thought is to knock on old man Mertle’s (James Earl Jones) front door. Squints says no, so they try other ways. After each one gets shut down. Benny is visited by Babe Ruth, and given one of the most memorable speeches in a child’s movie. After the dream, Benny goes and retrieves the baseball. Which leads them to a life of treasures they couldn’t imagine.
READ: ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Review: “A Fun Ride Down Memory Lane”
The Sandlot is a great story, especially for kids. Sure, there are some questionable calls for this century, but overall it’s a terrific movie about friendship. David Mickey Evans made something extremely special. There’s something about the film that’s just magic. Perhaps it’s the choice to focus on a past time several decades removed. Much like how nostalgia for the 1980s hit its peak in the 2010s, nostalgia for the 1960s hit its peak in the 1990s. From the warm colors to the classic fashion to the wacky antics, The Sandlot honors the past while also acknowledging its rough edges.
The script, the soundtrack, and the costumes all fall into place beautifully. We know New York was a place that loved baseball, but we never truly got a baseball film on the West Coast until The Sandlot. 1957 is when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to LA., and this takes place six years after. We also see at the end of the film that Smalls and Benny grew up to become some very interesting characters. Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez grew up to play for the Dodgers, and Smalls did the play-by-play for the Dodgers.
The Sandlot had a cultural impact like no other. It had kids asking their fathers to play baseball, and going to the park to play ball. It’s where my love for baseball began, and it was like that for a lot of us. 1993 was a great year, and with baseball season just beginning, this is a great way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this film. I feel like it’s our duty to continue to pass The Sandlot down to each generation and continue showing kids this amazing coming-of-age story. – Rascal F. Kennedy
The Sandlot can be found on streaming or physical media.
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