Movie Review

The Sandlot

A piece of paradise a half block wide and a whole summer long.
The Sandlot Movie Poster

US Release Date: 04-07-1993

Directed by: David M. Evans


  • Tom Guiry
  • Scotty Smalls
  • Mike Vitar
  • Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez
  • Patrick Renna
  • Hamilton 'Ham' Porter
  • Chauncey Leopardi
  • Michael 'Squints' Palledorous
  • Marty York
  • Alan 'Yeah-Yeah' McClennan
  • Brandon Quintin Adams
  • Kenny DeNunez
  • Grant Gelt
  • Bertram Grover Weeks
  • Shane Obedzinski
  • Tommy 'Repeat' Timmons
  • Victor DiMattia
  • Timmy Timmons
  • Denis Leary
  • Bill
  • Karen Allen
  • Mom
  • James Earl Jones
  • Mr. Mertle
  • Marley Shelton
  • Wendy
  • Pablo P. Vitar
  • Older Benny
  • David M. Evans
  • Narrator
  • Arliss Howard
  • Grown-up Scotty
  • Art LaFleur
  • The Babe
Reviewed on: July 24th, 2016
Tom Guiry and Mike Vitar in The Sandlot

Tom Guiry and Mike Vitar in The Sandlot

The Sandlot is a classic film. You can buy "You're killing Smalls." t-shirts all over the place. When Chicago White Sox players were recently asked to name their favorite baseball movie, the one most mentioned was The Sandlot. Second baseman Brett Lawrie explained, "It's a movie I watched growing up as a kid. One of the first baseball movies I watched growing up as a kid. It goes hand in hand. I think the biggest thing to take (from the movie) is that there's no thoughts, no cares. It's just about baseball, playing baseball and keeping it simple. It was an easier time." Okay, so maybe it is just a classic for a particular age group but I think it transcends generations.

The Sandlot is one part Stand by Me, two parts A Christmas Story and one part good old Americana. It takes place in the coziest of locations, a middle class neighborhood. It is told in a flashback about the summer of 1962, where Scotty Smalls, a shy boy, has just moved into a new house with his mother and step-father, whom he is struggling to connect with. His step-father has a collection of baseball memorabilia and asks that he teach him how to play. It goes bad and their relationship seems on stall.

One day, Scotty notices a group of boys who play/practice baseball everyday in an empty lot that borders the back of some of the houses. At first they laugh him off as he has no clue how to play, or who Babe Ruth even is, but then Benny, the leader of the boys, takes Scotty under his wing and before you know it, Scotty has made friends and is having the best summer of his life. A good 75% of the movie takes place in the lot or in a tree house next to it. We see glimpses of the neighborhood and the boys venture to a carnival and the local swimming pool but otherwise, these boys never even leave their neighborhood and still have the best of times.

One house that borders the lot has a large dog patrolling its yard. When a baseball gets hit over that fence, the boys consider it history. One day, their only ball goes over and the boys can no longer play and it is not even noon. Scotty tells them he knows where he can get a ball and races home and takes one from his step-father's den. He does not know that the signature on it makes it a valuable commodity. He proudly brings it to the lot, saving the day. Bennie, however, hits that ball over the same fence. The boys are about to call it a day, when Scotty cries that the ball was his step-fathers and he needs to put it back. He says it's important because some woman named Babe Ruth signed it. The boys look aghast and all agree to help retrieve the holy relic.

Although The Sandlot is centered around baseball, it truly works as a nostalgic look at youth. I cannot watch this without thinking of those summers I spent with my brothers and friends playing in the woods near our home. Man, those carefree days before jobs and relationships with girls (or boys, Patrick) complicated life are so wonderful to look back on. It is more about the feeling than any actual event, and if you are of a certain age, you know exactly what I mean. I always see myself through Scotty. I was that shy kid but fortunately I too had a Benny, or two, who pulled me into social groups and gave me friends I otherwise would not have.

One scene in particular perfectly captures a feeling of emotional nostalgia, that most Americans can relate to. It is the Fourth of July and the boys are shown racing through the streets, dodging grills and picnic tables while Ray Charles sings "America The Beautiful." They are going to the sandlot to play ball by the light of the fireworks, their only night game. They start to play but once the light show begins they all stop without saying a word and stare up at the sky. I am practically tearing up just thinking about it.

The Sandlot takes its tone from A Christmas Story. Both contain moments of fantasy and childhood whimsy. Instead of the, "Triple dog dare you." insult, here, the ultimate slam is, "You throw like a girl!". There is also a dash of Stand By Me as both explore the truth of friendship and later we hear what happened to all of the boys when they grow up.

The cast of young actors never made much of a mark in film. The most would be Tom Guiry (Scotty) who still acts today but has never made the "A" list. Mike Vitar (Benny) who seemed to have the most potential in the cast, made only a couple more films before leaving the business for good. He is now a married father and works as an LA fireman.

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