Release date: April 7, 1993
Directed by: David Mickey Evans
Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Marty York, Brandon Adams, Grant Gelt, Shane Obedzinski, Denis Leary, Karen Allen, James Earl Jones
Budget: $7 million
Box office: $33.8 million
Uncoordinated and shy, Scotty Smalls has a hard time making friends. However, after watching a group of kids play baseball at a sandlot, he is invited to join them.
A coming-of-age story which uses baseball as its centerpiece, The Sandlot has become a cult film beloved by many. Its status is deserved considering how enjoyable its story is, following Smalls as he engrains himself into the local neighborhood group of kids. Every moment from then on is a fascinating slice of early 1960s childhood nostalgia. Further, the stakes feel as if they are exactly the right amount for something the kids are facing. They’re not going to have adult problems with adult consequences and the issues they do tackle seem much more elevated due to the film’s point of view being from their perspective.
Additionally, the film perfectly demonstrates the imaginative mind of kids their ages. In their fear of the monster living behind the sandlot, these kids have crafted legends and stories with a mythos befitting their own phobias. The cinematography plays into this well, too. There is a visual depiction of the kids’ story and legend, but when it comes to the truth, the viewer only sees what the kids see. Doing so adds believable suspense and tension to the film, creating a sense of dread based purely on what the kids actually believe is real.
In the middle of all this is good character development between Smalls and his stepfather. At the beginning, Bill comes off as cold and aloof as Smalls doesn’t know how to approach him. Yet, as he interacts with the neighborhood kids, starts playing some baseball and begins friendships, Smalls’ relationship with his stepfather also grows. Various moments in the film show the two of them closing in the distance more and more throughout the course of the story, creating an engaging story within a story.
This is definitely a film worth watching at least once and could quickly become a favorite among fans of sports films.
Young Artists Award
- Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Motion Picture