The Sandlot

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The Sandlot
Sandlot poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Mickey Evans
Produced by Mark Burg
Chris Zarpas
Written by David Mickey Evans
Robert Gunter
Starring Tom Guiry
Mike Vitar
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond
Edited by Michael A. Stevenson
Production
  company
Island World
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • April 7, 1993 (1993-04-07)
Running time 101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million
Box office $33,832,313[1]

The Sandlot also known as The Sandlot Kids, is a 1993 American coming-of-age film directed by David M. Evans, which tells the story of a group of young baseball players during the summer of 1962. The filming location was in Glendale, Salt Lake City, Utah. The film was released with the title The Sandlot Kids in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Plot[edit]

In a small California town in the early 1960s, Scotty Smalls is the new boy in the neighborhood, seeking desperately to fit in. He would be welcomed on the local sandlot baseball team that practices every day, which only has eight players. Smalls however, cannot play baseball; on his first visit to the sandlot he finds himself in the outfield with a fly ball descending toward him which bounces off his glove, causing the other boys except "Benny the Jet" Rodriguez, the team's leader, to burst out laughing. Smalls, humiliated, leaves.

Smalls asks his stepfather to teach him to play, and while he agrees, Smalls cannot successfully catch or throw the ball. Benny soon teaches him what he needs to know, and with Benny's support, he gets a place on the team. Smalls and his new friends go on a bunch of misadventures ranging from a day at the pool (which ultimately ends with them being permanently banned from the pool when Squints kissed Lifeguard Wendy) and outscoring a snooty rival baseball team.

Meanwhile, behind a wall at the end of the sandlot is a backyard inhabited by "the Beast", an English Mastiff, a dog so large and savage that it has become a neighborhood legend. One day the boys' last ball is torn apart after being hit by Benny. Smalls saves the day by borrowing his stepfather's ball, but it ends up in the backyard with the Beast. Smalls learns the ball was special: it was signed by Babe Ruth. Attempts to recover the ball lead to a series of events. After Benny has a dream about Babe Ruth coming to him and guiding him on how to get the ball, Benny recovers it and has a big chase with the dog. When they make it back to the Sandlot the fence falls on the dog, Smalls and Benny help it up and discover the dog is friendly and they learn the the real story behind the Beast's owner "Mr Myrtle". They discover that Mr. Myrtle was a former baseball player and was on Babe Ruth's team.

The sandlot boys enjoy the rest of the summer and the next few years. Over the next three decades, the boys grow up and go into different careers. But Benny and Smalls still remain close, as Benny becomes a famous MLB player while Smalls becomes a sports reporter.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

The Sandlot has received mixed reviews from critics. The film currently holds a 57% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 44 reviews.[2] The site's consensus says "It may be shamelessly derivative and overly nostalgic, but The Sandlot is nevertheless a genuinely sweet and funny coming-of-age adventure." Critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, comparing the movie to a summertime version of A Christmas Story, based on the tone and narration of both films. He said of one scene, "There was a moment in the film when Rodriguez hit a line drive directly at the pitcher's mound, and I ducked and held up my mitt, and then I realized I didn't have a mitt, and it was then I also realized how completely this movie had seduced me with its memories of what really matters when you are 12."[3] Bob Cannon of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, praising its simplicity and strong fundamentals.[4]

Leonard Klady of Variety gave the film a mostly negative review. He praised the cinematography and score, but felt the baseball team did not come together, and that the film, while sincere, was "remarkably shallow wade, rife with incident and slim on substance."[5]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $4 million in its opening weekend and a further $32 million through ticket sales. Figures for worldwide, VHS and DVD sales are estimated to be at $76 million. Since its release on both VHS and DVD, the film has become a cult favorite.

Defamation suit[edit]

In 1998, Michael Polydoros sued 20th Century Fox and the producers of the film for defamation. Polydoros, a childhood classmate of David Mickey Evans, the author and director of The Sandlot, claimed that the character Michael "Squints" Palledorous was derogatory and caused him shame and humiliation. The case reached the Supreme Court of California, which ruled in favor of 20th Century Fox.[6]

Home Media[edit]

In 1993, The Sandlot first came to video in a slipcase, but in 1994, it came in a clamshell case. On January 29, 2002, the DVD came in a Family Feature, in widescreen (Side B) and full screen (Side A), the 2013 repackaged DVD is only in widescreen.

Sequels[edit]

  • The Sandlot 2 (2005) – A direct-to-video sequel in which a new Sandlot gang is featured. The only returning cast member is James Earl Jones in his role of Mr. Mertle.
  • The Sandlot: Heading Home (2007) – Another direct-to-video sequel starring Luke Perry as Tommy "Santa" Santorelli who gets knocked back to 1976 from 2007 and relives his childhood. Chauncey Leopardi reprises his role as Squints.

Soundtrack[edit]

The film's original score was composed by David Newman, and was unreleased until 2006, when a limited edition was released as part of the Varèse Sarabande CD Club.

Songs in order of appearance:

  1. "Finger Poppin' Time" – Hank Ballard and the Midnighters
  2. "Smokie Part II" – Bill Black's Combo
  3. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" – The Tokens
  4. "There Goes My Baby" – The Drifters
  5. "This Magic Moment" – The Drifters
  6. "America The Beautiful" – Ray Charles
  7. "Green Onions" – Booker T & The MG's
  8. "Tequila" – The Champs
  9. "Wipe Out" – The Surfaris

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Sandlot". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ "The Sandlot Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 7, 1993). "The Sandlot (1993)". Chicago Sun-Times. rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ Cannon, Bob (April 23, 1993). "The Sandlot (1993)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ Klady, Leonard (April 4, 1993). "The Sandlot Review". Variety. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  6. ^ Chiang, Harriet (October 16, 1998). "Films Can Use Real Names, Likenesses, State High Court Rules". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 

External links[edit]