Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Mickey Evans|
|Produced by||Mark Burg
|Written by||David Mickey Evans
|Music by||David Newman|
|Cinematography||Anthony B. Richmond|
|Editing by||Michael A. Stevenson|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||101 minutes|
The Sandlot 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.
In a small American town in the early 1960s, Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) is the new boy in the neighborhood, seeking desperately to fit in. One day, he visits a sandlot where some of the local kids play baseball everyday. Seeing as how they are only one player short of nine team members, Smalls gets enough courage to take up a space in the outfield. Smalls however, can't play baseball; a descending fly ball bounces off his glove when he tries to catch it, causing the other boys except Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez, the team's leader, to burst out laughing, and even more so when he fails to throw the ball back. Smalls leaves humiliated.
With some encouragement from his mom (Karen Allen), Smalls asks his stepdad Bill (Denis Leary) to help him practice throwing and catching. Bill, after a while, agrees to teach Smalls at his mom's insistence. He fails to catch and throw until he gets a Black eye from catching a throw with the glove next to his face.
Accepting an invitation to play by Benny, Smalls meets the rest of the team: "Ham", "Squints", "Yeah-Yeah", Kenny, Bertram, and brothers Timmy and Tommy. Although they doubt his potential as the ninth member of the team, and with some coaching from Benny, he is able to successfully catch and throw the ball, earning respect from the others.
During one game, Ham hits a ball over the fence behind the sandlot, angering the other players. Smalls attempts to retrieve it, but is stopped by the team, who are afraid of "the Beast" that lurks behind the fence. Later that night in the team's treehouse, Squints relates the neighborhood legend of the Beast: about 20 years ago, junkyard owner Mr. Mertle bought a guard dog to keep thieves from stealing from the junkyard. After he fed it very large amounts of raw meat, it grew large and savage, and supposedly killed any thieves that broke in. The police got phone calls reporting the hundreds of missing thieves, and Squints' grandfather (who was police chief at the time) had Mr. Mertle chain up the Beast and put it under his house. When he asked how long the dog was to remain "chained up like a slave", Mr. Mertle was told "forever." It has been rumored that one kid went over the fence and the Beast ate him. Although Scotty believes the team is trying to scare him, he looks out the window of the treehouse into the Beast's yard and gets a shocked reaction, only stating that he saw hundreds of baseballs and no human remains.
When it becomes too hot outside to play, the team decides to go swim at the public pool, and Benny reluctantly agrees. While they are swimming and gawking at girls, Squints fakes drowning in order to kiss his love interest, the lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn, while she is giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. According to Smalls' narration, although she was angered by it, and the boys were banned from the pool after that, she would look down from her tower whenever they walked by, and smile at Squints.
Later on, the sandlot team is challenged by another team in the neighborhood, and they come out victorious. The team goes out to celebrate at a carnival, where they become sick after chewing on tobacco brought by Bertram.
One day Benny hit the boys' last ball so hard, he literally hit the hide off of it. Smalls saves the day by borrowing an autographed ball from his stepfather's trophy room; only to hit it into the Beast's backyard, Smalls learns the ball was special: it was signed by Babe Ruth, who he had never heard of, shocking the team. To buy some time to get the ball back, Smalls puts a replacement ball (with the signature faked by Benny) back in the trophy room. The boys attempts to recover the ball (with a wooden stick, a pot on a metal bar, a vacuum cleaner, lowering Yeah-Yeah down with a harness, and a motorized Erector Set catapult) ultimately end in failure.
After being visited in a dream by Babe Ruth, who gives him inspiring advice, Benny climbs the fence to retrieve the ball and confronts the Beast: an English Mastiff (whose monstrous appearance was only imagined by the boys) named 'Hercules'. He snatches the ball and is pursued in a lengthy chase across town by Hercules, which ends back at the sandlot after the back fence falls on the dog. After Smalls and Benny rescue him, the boys are shown the collection of all the lost balls that went over the fence. Knocking on the door, the boys finally meet Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones), who is nothing like in the story told by Squints, but a former baseball player who played with Babe Ruth, who went blind after getting hit in the head with a ball. Along with the Babe Ruth ball, Smalls receives a trophy ball autographed by the entire Murderers' Row, who then gives it to Bill to make up for taking the Babe Ruth ball out of the trophy room. They warm up to each other, and Smalls is able to start calling Bill "dad".
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. Benny and Smalls still remain close, as Benny becomes a famous MLB player for the Los Angeles Dodgers while Smalls becomes a sports announcer following Benny's games. Near the end of one of his games, Benny amazingly steals home, and gives a thumbs-up to Smalls, who is watching from a commentator's booth. Smalls replies likewise before glancing back at a picture of the sandlot team hanging on his wall.
- Tom Guiry as Scott Smalls
- Mike Vitar as Benny Rodriguez
- Patrick Renna as Hamilton Porter
- Chauncey Leopardi as Michael Palledorous
- Marty York as Alan McClennan
- Brandon Quintin Adams as Kenny DeNunez
- Grant Gelt as Bertram Weeks
- Shane Obedzinski as Tommy Timmons
- Victor DiMattia as Timmy Timmons
- Arliss Howard as Scott Smalls (as an adult)
- Pablo Vitar as Benny Rodriguez (as an adult)
- Denis Leary as Bill, Scotty's stepfather
- Karen Allen as Scotty's mom
- James Earl Jones as Mr. Mertle, owner of "The Beast".
- Marley Shelton as Wendy Peffercorn
- Art LaFleur as Babe Ruth
- Wil Horneff as Philips
The Sandlot has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The film currently holds a 63% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 22 reviews. 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." Bob Cannon of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, praising its simplicity and strong fundamentals.
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."
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.
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.
- 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.
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:
- "Finger Poppin' Time" – Hank Ballard and the Midnighters
- "Smokie Part II" – Bill Black's Combo
- "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" – The Tokens
- "There Goes My Baby" – The Drifters
- "This Magic Moment" – The Drifters
- "America The Beautiful" – Ray Charles
- "Green Onions" – Booker T & The MG's
- "Tequila" – The Champs
- "Wipe Out" – The Surfaris
- "The Sandlot". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
- "The Sandlot Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- Ebert, Roger (April 7, 1993). "The Sandlot (1993)". Chicago Sun-Times. rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
- Cannon, Bob (April 23, 1993). "The Sandlot (1993)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- Klady, Leonard (April 4, 1993). "The Sandlot Review". Variety. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- Chiang, Harriet (October 16, 1998). "Films Can Use Real Names, Likenesses, State High Court Rules". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Sandlot|
- The Sandlot at the Internet Movie Database
- The Sandlot at allmovie
- The Sandlot at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Sandlot at Box Office Mojo