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
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond
Edited by Michael A. Stevenson
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • April 7, 1993 (1993-04-07)
Running time
102 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 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.

The film was released with the title The Sandlot Kids in Australia and the United Kingdom. It grossed $33 million worldwide and has developed a cult following.[2][3]

Plot[edit]

In the San Fernando Valley during the summer of 1962,[4] 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 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 this ball is also lost 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.[5][6]

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, and Benny is revealed to have become a star MLB player (earning the nickname "The Jet"), while Smalls has become a sports announcer.[7]

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

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."[8] 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."[9] Bob Cannon of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+, praising its simplicity and strong fundamentals.[10]

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."[11]

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.[2]

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 trial court found in favor of the filmmakers, and that finding was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal.[12] After initially agreeing to review the case in 1998,[13] 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.[14][15]

Home media[edit]

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.

Sequels[edit]

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. ^ a b Alexander, Bryan (September 19, 2013). "'The Sandlot' at 20: Diamonds are forever". USA Today. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ Caron, Tim (March 25, 2015). "The Cult of The Sandlot". Crooked Scorboard. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ http://iamsanfernando.com/the-sandlot-20th-anniversary
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 7, 1993). "The Sandlot Movie Review & Film Summary (1993)". Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Sandlot (1993) Synopsis - Plot Summary - Fandango". Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ Manning, Luke (July 2, 2015). "BREAKDOWN: "The Sandlot"". Retrieved November 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Sandlot Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 7, 1993). "The Sandlot (1993)". Chicago Sun-Times. rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  10. ^ Cannon, Bob (April 23, 1993). "The Sandlot (1993)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  11. ^ Klady, Leonard (April 4, 1993). "The Sandlot Review". Variety. Retrieved October 29, 2010. 
  12. ^ Polydoros v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 57 Cal. App.4th 795 (Cal. App. 1997)
  13. ^ Obverbeck, Wayne. "Polydoros v. 20th Century Fox Film". Wayne Obverbeck's Communications Law Website. California State University Fullerton. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  14. ^ Chiang, Harriet (October 16, 1998). "Films Can Use Real Names, Likenesses, State High Court Rules". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  15. ^ Polydoros v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 965 P.2d 724 (Cal. 1998)

External links[edit]