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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|
|Edited by||Michael A. Stevenson|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
The Sandlot, also known as The Sandlot Kids, is a 1993 American coming-of-age baseball comedy film co-written and directed by David M. Evans (who also narrated the film), which tells the story of a group of young baseball players during the summer of 1962. It stars Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Karen Allen, Denis Leary and James Earl Jones. The filming locations were in Glendale, Utah, Midvale, Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah and Ogden, Utah.
In the San Fernando Valley during the summer of 1962, protagonist Scott "Scotty" Smalls moves to a new town with his mother and stepfather Bill and attempts to join a neighborhood baseball team who plays in a local sandlot. With the help of team captain Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, known as Benny by the others, Smalls becomes a proficient player. Smalls joins his new friends, Benny Rodriguez, Hamilton 'Ham' Porter, Michael 'Squints' Palledorous, Alan 'Yeah-Yeah' McClennon, Bertram Grover Weeks, Kenny DeNunez, Timmy Timmons and Tommy 'Repeat' Timmons on their many misadventures including being banned from the pool, besting a snooty long-time rival team and getting sick on one of the rides at an amusement park. He then learns that many of the team's baseballs have ended up in Mr.Mertle's junkyard over the sandlot's back fence, which is protected by a giant dog known as "The Beast", who had allegedly eaten a kid foolish enough to enter it. One day, when Benny hits the hide off of the team's last ball, Smalls substitutes one from his stepfather's prized collection. When Ham hits this ball over the fence, Smalls reveals that the ball is special. To the team's horror, they learn the ball has Babe Ruth's autograph, making it valuable--something Smalls didn't know when he took it. The team constructs a progressively complex series of machines to recover it remotely but each attempt ends in failure and the ball itself grows increasingly damaged due to attention from the Beast. While Smalls prepares to face certain discipline from his stepfather for the loss of the signed baseball, Benny has a dream where Babe Ruth encourages him to follow his heart. Inspired by his idol, Benny climbs the fence the next day, resolving to retrieve the ball himself but he is confronted by the Beast, a large English Mastiff. After recovering the ball, he leads the Beast on a lengthy chase around the neighborhood, which ends with the sandlot fence's collapse, which pins the dog. Overcoming their fear of the dog, Smalls and Benny free the Beast and return the dog to its owner, Mr.Mertle, who reveals that he wasn't the kind of person the team thought he was. Understanding Smalls' predicament with the now-damaged ball, Mr.Mertle reveals himself as a retired Negro League baseball player who knew Babe Ruth personally and offers him another baseball signed by the entire 1927 Yankees team, including Ruth. Smalls presents the baseball signed by the Murderers' Row to his stepfather, who is impressed by the replacement but still angry that he stole the first ball. Smalls doesn't feel too bad when Bill only grounds him for a week, instead of the rest of his life and things work out between the two. The sandlot kids continue playing baseball over the summers, joined by the Beast, now known by his real name of Hercules, as the team's mascot. The kids eventually grow up. Yeah-Yeah is shipped off to military school, Bertram gets really into the 60's and is never seen again, Timmy and Tommy become an architect and a contractor, Squints marries Wendy the lifeguard, has 9 kids with her and becomes the owner of the town's drugstore, Ham becomes a professional wrestler known as "The Great Hambino", Kenny goes on to play Triple-A baseball) but doesn't make it to the major leagues and Benny is revealed to have become a star MLB player (earning the nickname "The Jet"), while Smalls has become a Sports announcer. The movie ends with Benny running fast, stealing home plate and winning the pennant for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The crowd cheers. Benny looks up at Smalls in the announcer box and gives him the thumbs up and Smalls gives Benny the thumbs up, too. Smalls smiles and looks at the photo on the wall of him and the gang standing in the Sandlot together.
- Tom Guiry as Scotty Smalls
- Mike Vitar as Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez
- Patrick Renna as Hamilton `Ham' Porter
- Chauncey Leopardi as Michael `Squints' Palledorous
- Marty York as Alan `Yeah-Yeah' McClennan
- Brandon Quintin Adams as Kenny DeNunez
- Grant Gelt as Bertram Weeks
- Victor Di Mattia as Timmy Timmons
- Shane Obedzinski as Tommy Timmons
- Karen Allen as Mrs. Smalls
- Denis Leary as Bill
- James Earl Jones as Mr. Mertle
- Marley Shelton as Wendy Peffercorn
- Art LaFleur as The Babe
The Sandlot has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The film currently holds a 59% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 44 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 trial court found in favor of the filmmakers, and that finding was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal. After initially agreeing to review the case in 1998, the Supreme Court of California reversed its decision, dismissing the review and reinstating the Court of Appeal's opinion in favor of 20th Century Fox.
In 1993, The Sandlot first came to video in a slipcase, along with the laser disc in widescreen, but later came in a clam shell case in 1994. 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.
- 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. Myrtle.
- The Sandlot: Heading Home (2007) – Another direct-to-video sequel starring Luke Perry as Tommy "Santa" Santorelli who gets knocked back to 1976 from 2005 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.
- Alexander, Bryan (September 19, 2013). "'The Sandlot' at 20: Diamonds are forever". USA Today. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- Caron, Tim (March 25, 2015). "The Cult of The Sandlot". Crooked Scorboard. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- "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.
- Polydoros v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 57 Cal. App.4th 795 (Cal. App. 1997)
- Obverbeck, Wayne. "Polydoros v. 20th Century Fox Film". Wayne Obverbeck's Communications Law Website. California State University Fullerton. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Chiang, Harriet (October 16, 1998). "Films Can Use Real Names, Likenesses, State High Court Rules". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
- Polydoros v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 965 P.2d 724 (Cal. 1998)
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