Monday, July 10, 2017
The Sandlot Review
Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!
Plot Summary: The summer adventure of the new kid in town, the friends he makes through learning to play baseball, and the struggle to retrieve a lost ball from a giant dog.
Review: "The Sandlot" would probably be best described as "The Goonies" for the '90s--a quintessential kids movie that creates a strong and powerful resonance with the viewer. Between the combination of memorable characters, the nostalgia, and all around wholesome fun, the story easily captivates the viewer and takes you along for the ride. The story successfully presents an amusing tale told through the eyes of the children, with a certain degree of innocence, yet never becomes corny or unbelievable. The icing on the cake is the heartfelt ending that really hits home (hehe) for the adults--with all the kids growing up and moving away; it's certainly rare for a kids movies to reach a true sense of closure and in a meaningful way to boot.
I guess the movie will have more meaning to boys since we knew kids like this growing up. As a matter of fact, I knew a kid in like 7th grade who was a dead ringer for Squints. Then again...I kind of had a Squints look too! While baseball is the force that brings the kids together in this instance, most groups of friends have some equivalent to a sandlot in their childhoods or a hobby that brought everyone together. Of course, the best parts are the banter between the characters --which can be remarkably funny--and the hijinks that ensue as the summer unfolds; I thoroughly enjoy when Smalls is pathetically trying to learn to throw and catch a ball. Though the characters aren't as developed as they could have been, they're still memorable and each have a chance to shine at various moments. What really brings it all together is the subtle manner in which we see the perspective of the kids. The film does not overtly tell you when the kids are letting their imagination run wild...it simply depicts it as if it's reality. There are some great lines like "You're killing me, Smalls" and "FOR-EV-ER" which stick with you in the weirdest of ways afterward. More to the point, "The Sandlot" is loaded with charm, and it never lets up. Speaking of which, the pacing is great as various, zany antics blend together seamlessly in a way that actually does manage to make sense. Although these side-adventures have little bearing on the overall plot, they further help to endear the characters as the audience can recall the trouble they got into during their own youth. As everything in the story comes together, the ending is both sad and satisfying at the same time. Fitting, really. You want to see more of these characters interacting together yet we must let go.
There is so much I could say about "The Sandlot," and how great of a film it is, however, I would just begin to ramble endlessly about nostalgia and how people long to regain their childhood innocence in an almost instinctual reflex to the harshness of reality. Sparing you that tangent, suffice it to say that this film is one of the best kids movies out there and arguably the definitive offering from the 1990s. Sure, modern audiences might not enjoy it as thoroughly as those who initially saw it back in '93, but the '60s setting helps to keep the story timeless and free of mindless pop culture references. While this may also have the unintended side effect of making some situations unrelatable, I am fully confident in the sense of fun "The Sandlot" instills in the viewer. Now...if only they left well enough alone and never made sequels. Yup, you heard me right...sequels! Here we go again...
Notable Moment: While there are plenty of memorable scenes like Squints making out with Wendy "pedo" Peffercorn, I think I have to go with the mere revelation that all the efforts to get the ball back would have been avoided if they ignored Squints and went right to Mr. Mertle.
Final Rating: 8.5/10