The sandlot is a classic coming-of-age story that successfully captures 1960's summer vacation culture, the exaggeration of a child's imagination, and every boy's childhood love of baseball. The film had a decent theatrical run but I believe that its popularity is a result of nostalgic parents wanting to share the story with their children. Since its release, this film has become a cult classic and any parent who loved baseball as a child will inevitably share this film with their own children. Roger Ebert’s comparison to this film as a “summertime version of ‘A Christmas Story’” is spot on from the stereotypical characters to the perception of adults and exaggerated circumstances. I think that one of the film’s strongest features is the relatability of its characters. We’ve all felt like Smalls when we didn’t fit in, we’ve all felt special when a cool kid like Benny reached out to us, and even being afraid of a big dog. The lack of maturity in some of the child acting by Tom Guiry (Smallys), Mike Vitar (Benny), Patrick Renna (Ham), Chauncey Leopardi (Squints), and Marty York (Yeah-Yeah) is balanced by the experience of adult actors Karen Allen, James Earl Jones, and Dennis Leary. And Marley Shelton manifested every teenage boy’s dream girl as Wendy Peffercorn. You can’t help but smile when you read the name of each character and remember their antics. It has been fun to see several of the film’s quotable moments become known by multiple generations and it proves the longevity that this film will have throughout time. It is one of those movies that everybody seems to have seen. To test this theory, bring it up at a party of just utter the word “Fooorrr-eee-VVVEEERRR” twice and watch the reactions of everybody who immediately remembers the scene. “The Sandlot” may not have the best acting or the most interesting story, but what it does have is a serious dose of nostalgia that makes us all long for the simplicity of our own childhood.
[Pictured: Every neighborhood has a ragtag group of kids just like this]