You’re Killing Me, Smalls! “The Sandlot” Movie Review


Some movies find a place in a boy’s heart and just never let go. The Sandlot is one of those movies that still demands repeated viewings to this day because of the memorable quotes and unforgettable characters. Every boy remembers the hot, dry days of summer when time seemed to drag on, but it didn’t matter because he had his buddies. From being afraid of the neighborhood dog to having a crush on the unreachable girl, The Sandlot manages to touch on all of the great boyhood memories.

The movie begins with Scotty Smalls moving to a new town with his mother and stepfather, Bill. His mother has high hopes that he’ll make new friends, but Smalls doesn’t feel like he’s ever been good at anything, and that extends to his inability to fit in with kids his own age. He asks his new stepdad, who is touchingly portrayed by Denis Leary, to teach him to play catch, but Bill always seems to be too busy to make time. Anyone who has grown up with divorced parents will be sympathetic to the dynamic of this relationship.

Smalls eventually runs into a group of kids playing sandlot baseball. They are in need of a ninth player, so this is Small’s chance to be one of the guys. Unfortunately, his first outing doesn’t go so well. He has a chance to catch a fly ball, but the ball bounces off his head. He follows up that embarrassment by being unable to throw the ball to the correct player, and his chance to join a new group of friends is almost over before it began. Luckily for Smalls, Benny Rodriguez decides that he should be given another chance. There doesn’t seem to be any duplicity in Benny’s compassion, and that’s one of the great things about this movie-the boys just get along.

Since Benny is the best ball player on the lot, he takes Smalls under his wing and teaches him the basics. Things turn around when Benny gets an incredible hit, and Smalls makes an equally incredible catch and throw to the infield. The gang decides that Smalls is okay after all, and their summer of adventures begins. The main focus of the boys is baseball, and their secondary focus is dreaming of Wendy Peffercorn, the local lifeguard and frequent visitor in their daydreams. After one of the guys pulls off an elaborate hoax in order to steal a kiss from Wendy, the boys lose their pool privileges for the summer. It’s all too easy to remember the early days of noticing the opposite sex during these hilarious scenes.

After the boys are banned from the pool, they continue to devote their time to being the best baseball team around. This draws the attention of the Tigers-a real team with a real field-who live on the other side of town. The Tigers are embarrassed on their home field, and the sandlot boys feel like the kings of the world. This is another refreshing aspect of this movie. The game wasn’t the climax of the movie. This is not a typical “win at all costs” sports movie; it’s just a movie about a group of kids who had an unforgettable summer. Had they lost, it wouldn’t have changed the feeling of the movie at all.

One day, as the kids are playing ball, a powerful hit by Benny ruins the only ball they have. Smalls decides to borrow his stepdad’s prized, autographed baseball, but it soon gets hit over the fence. The biggest problem with that is that The Beast controls the area beyond the fence. The Beast is the biggest, meanest dog that anyone has ever seen, so the boys try a number of clever plans in order to retrieve the ball. Finally, Benny decides that he will retrieve the ball with his superior speed provided by his PF Flyers. Benny manages to get the ball, but a hilarious high-speed chase ensues between him and The Beast. This scene-and the whole movie-is over-the-top and perfectly filmed. Nothing is as big as the imagination of a group of boys, and the recollections in this movie are all handled in an exquisitely exaggerated manner.

Of course, the dog turns out to be friendly. Of course, the dog’s owner turns out to be an ex-baseball player who saves the day. A movie like “The Sandlot” is expected to have good news for everyone. That’s what makes it such an important movie in the memories of anyone who watched it as a kid.

When people think back to their childhoods, there is often a glowing filter around those memories. Nothing bad seemed to happen back then, and anything that was perceived to be devastating usually turned out okay. That’s the kind of warm feeling this movie imparts. The Sandlot just celebrated its twentieth anniversary in April, and it’s just as fun to watch today as it was back then.

By Zack Mandell

About the Author / Article Source:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s