I love rewatching films I cherished as a child, now as an adult or moderately an adult, it’s amazing to see some of the things I missed or went over my head. Think of classics like The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, etc… I was a bit too young to appreciate them at the time but loved them nonetheless. Now, watching them I see different things that I never spotted or noticed before.
The Sandlot, out now on Blu-ray in a 25th Anniversary collection, is one of those films. It’s a classic and needs to be regarded in the lexicon of childhood classics. In fact, I still say, “You’re killing me Smalls” in common conversation at least twice a week. That’s how much the film has stuck with me, I can’t believe it’s been 25 years since the film’s original release.
In the early 1960’s, Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) has just moved into a new town with his mom (Karen Allen). He’s a fifth grader and a bit of a Brainiac who doesn’t really jell with his step-father Bill (Denis Leary). Smalls doesn’t really fit in, he doesn’t play sports, he doesn’t know how to throw a ball even, so making friends with the local kids who are hanging out at the makeshift baseball diamond.
All the kids try to play baseball as best they can, but this makeshift team isn’t destined to win any championships. This semi-team is led by Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar) and is filled out by some classic kid film tropes but here they don’t seem like clichés as much as one would expect. Each of the kids has at least one thing that makes them identifiable for the audience. It’s a simple thing but looking at the film now, viewers will be able to see the device more than they could as a kid.
Scotty makes up the ninth member of the team, which means they finally have a full team. Scotty struggles to learn the ways of baseball, hence the “You’re Killing Me Smalls” line. But with “The Jet” training him, Scotty eventually fits in with the team. The thing I like about The Sandlot is that the plot is very loose. It’s like a memory, where you have bits and pieces but perhaps not the full through line. There’s nothing like The Mighty Ducks where the kids compete to win the big game, this is like a series of coming of age mini stories. It really works for the film and captures the memory of nostalgia better than I remembered it did.
The thing I love most about The Sandlot is, you can really appreciate it as a kid, as a teenager and as an adult. Or a relative facsimile of an adult. It really captures the feeling of being a kid, when everything is a big deal, not scoring that baseball card or Garbage Pail Kid was like threatening and that’s how it is when you’re a kid. Your neighborhood is bigger than it really was, school was huge and when you look at it with different eyes, you see it’s so small. Maybe it’s because we’re bigger and older, or we’ve seen so much more. Sometimes, I miss that 10-year old feeling. Watching The Sandlot, it brings it back.
The Sandlot: The 25th Anniversary Edition arrives on Blu-ray in an awesome transfer. This is the same transfer as the 20th anniversary edition (Which I did not see) but it’s excellent, especially compared to the old VHS and DVD transfers of the film. The colors are bold and the outdoor scenes really showcase the locations more than I remembered. The dirt of the baseball field and the bright green of the grass really helps the film. There is little fallout and the transfer, especially considering the age of the film, is excellent.
The special features included on this set are:
Featurette – More of a promo reel for the film than a featurette. It has some interviews mixed with clips of the film.
There is the original trailer and some TV Spots for the film.
Included in this set are a set of baseball cards from Topps and a mini poster.
Overall, I can’t recommend The Sandlot enough. If you don’t have any of the other previous releases, this is a must own. It’s prefect for kids, big and small. A movie like this doesn’t come along very often and when they do, they really need to be appreciated. Highly Recommended.
The Sandlot: The 25th Anniversary Edition Is out now on Blu-ray!
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