143. The Sandlot


Movie: The Sandlot

Release Date: April 7, 1993

Director: David Mickey Evans

Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Marty York, Grant Gelt, Shane Obedzinski, Victor DiMattia, Denis Leary, Karen Allen, James Earl Jones.

Tag Lines: “The adventure of a lifetime, the summer of their dreams…the dog of their nightmares.”

“No uniforms. No problem. No girls. No problem. No ball. *BIG* problem!”

“They’re more than a team. They’re the best buddies in the entire history of the world.”

“A piece of paradise a half block wide and a whole summer long.”

Relevance: Contrary to popular belief, I enjoy sports. Well, most sports. I was just never really that good at them as a kid. I loved playing them in my back yard or at the local school yard, but when it came to organized leagues, I wasn’t a huge fan. I did play both basketball and baseball on teams but I was subpar at best, especially baseball. I played in the outfield and hoped and prayed no one would hit anything my way. Thankfully, a long fly ball was a rare occurrence. When it came to watching sports, I was also a little uninterested, unless I was at a stadium or gym. Then I was alert, smiling and ready to have fun. Now movies about sports, that’s a whole other ball park. (Pun intended.)

I am not sure why, but I absolutely loved sports movies. Maybe it was because I wasn’t any good at them and I was simply living out a fantasy life of me being Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Wayne Gretsky or Wade Boggs. I mean, who didn’t want to be like Mike? I still do. ‘Vision Quest,’ ‘Major League,’ ‘The Natural,’ ‘Hoosiers’ and ‘Field of Dreams,’ a movie that will be a part of this blog much later this year, were movies I watched and re-watched long after my “playing” days were over. Eventually another one of those movies was ‘The Sandlot.’

I can’t exactly remember the first time that I saw ‘The Sandlot’ but I know that it was not in theaters. It opened in April of 1993 and only ran about seven or eight weeks, grossing a moderate $32 million domestically. During that period I was finishing up my undergraduate work and preparing to move to New York state to start my quest for my Masters’s Degree. So even if I knew about the film, it wasn’t feasibly possible with all of the life altering things happening in my life to run to the theaters to see it.

My first recollection I have with the film is watching a few scenes with my mom and dad at their house. I can’t tell you if it was through rental or HBO or for that matter, when exactly it was, I just remember the smiles and laughter it brought to both of my parents. They chuckled and laughed through every moment. I knew at that point I was going to have to re-visit the film. Which I did. And it made me chuckle and laugh even more than my folks.

‘The Sandlot’ was sappy and overtly nostalgic, but dammit if it wasn’t the sweetest, most charming movie I had ever seen. And it was funny as hell. The young group of misfit baseball players that they assembled were sheer perfection. There wasn’t a weak link in the group and their chemistry on and off the baseball diamond was palpable. You felt like these kids were kids you knew from your neighborhood. Heck, you felt like they were you in some alternate reality. The story was simple but there was so much heart put into the film, I couldn’t help enjoy every second of it. I even got a little misty eyed at the end. It turns out I am a sap for nostalgia.

The movie was obviously a family favorite. My mom had purchased the VHS and eventually the DVD to add to her movie collection. “You’re killing me Smalls” is probably the most overused quote from the film and my mom was one of those that overused it in delight. I couldn’t help but smile every time she did. The movie has remained close to my heart for many, many years and if I ever see it playing on television, I stop and watch it. The film did spawn a few sequels as well as some possible upcoming prequels and TV shows, but for me the original will always be a home run.

Today’s Thoughts: “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die. Follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.”

There are many great quotes from ‘The Sandlot,’ but as I already mentioned “You’re killing me Smalls” has to be the most popular. It was huge for my mom. My husband says it periodically. My co-workers (when I had them) always said it, to the point of annoyance. My son doesn’t say it at all, but he wears a shirt with it on, which speaks volumes. Even I have uttered the phrase a few times throughout my life. But there is so much more to this film than that one line.

‘The Sandlot’ is a beautiful, fun, entertaining film. I enjoy it every time I watch it and today was no exception. It is one of those films that simply bring me joy every single time. It remains super funny thanks in huge part to the excellent ensemble cast. Denis Leary, Karen Allen and James Earl Jones as the adults are extremely effective, but this movie is all about those kids. Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Marty York, Grant Gelt, Shane Obedzinski and Victor DiMattia are absolutely phenomenal in their roles. They create so many now iconic moments together it is too difficult to pick a favorite.

I can’t imagine there is anyone on this planet over the age of ten that hasn’t seen ‘The Sandlot.’ And I can’t imagine anyone who has seen it not love it. I mean, there is absolutely nothing not to love. It has become a huge cult classic film over its twenty-seven year existence and I don’t feel like that its popularity will ever wane. It’s a film that seems to blur generations, race, sex and as a gay man that adores it, sexual orientation. It’s simply a movie for everyone.

Ways to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Starz, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, DVD Availability.


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