The Sandlot (1993)

Saturday, April 26 & Sunday, April 27; Noon | Tickets

1. The Sandlot never really went away, did it? Out of the endless stream of sports-related kids’ flicks churned out in the 90’s, The Sandlot easily bests its mostly forgettable competition — movies like The Big Green, Rookie of the Year, or Little Giants (I kind of like Little Giants, to be honest). Even the appeal of the Disney behemoth The Mighty Ducks looks a dusty relic next to the kids from the Sandlot. As soon as Smalls and his nameless crew stepped up to the plate, they immediately became icons. For-eh-ver.

2. It’s not really surprising that this movie still works, it’s essentially “The Goonies play baseball.”

3. While it does have an over-arching narrative, The Sandlot is at its best when it feels like a series of vignettes loosely tied together by the more all-encompassing Beast arc. It’s the small moments in the film that inject it with so much heart and rosy nostalgia, like the scenes where the boys make s’mores in the tree house, dabble in pool hooliganism or when they dip their toes in grown up vices only to puke it all back up on everybody. The chase with The Beast gives the movie some forward momentum, and a nice climax to end on; but really, this is a story about transition, summer and friendship more than it is about saving an autographed baseball.

Then again, that’s what all of these kids’ sports movies are about… Maybe The Sandlot just does it better.

4. The Sandlot was my first exposure to Booker T. and The M.G.s, the Stax soul group behind “Green Onions,” a slick and infectious organ track that the movie uses as the kind-of-sort-of theme music for the Sandlot boys’ fancylad rivals. To this day I still associate “Green Onions” with smug rich kids cruising up on their bikes — I’m not too sure I should be grateful for that, now that I think about it.

5. For some reason, my favorite Sandlot character as a kid was Yea-Yea. I’m not sure why I liked him, to be honest. His only contribution to the movie is almost getting eaten by a big, angry dog, and other than that, he mostly just stands around chewing gum. I think maybe it was because I thought he was attractive, I just don’t think I was comfortable admitting that until, oh, just now. Today, I realize that the best character is easily the redneck one that gives everyone chaw at the carnival and then grows up to become a drugged out hippie.

6. I ruined a perfectly good pair of jeans when I saw The Sandlot in theaters. I had one of those gigantic sacks of popcorn that was loaded down with artificial butter, and quickly ran through the pair of napkins that I had brought into the theater. Rather than miss any of the movie to get more, I simply rubbed my butter-soaked fingers clean on my crisp new pair of jeans, leaving gigantic hand splats on the front. My mother didn’t notice until we got home. Fucking kids, right?

7. I have never seen a hat like the hat that Smalls wears at the beginning of this movie, the one with the fish and the huge bill on it? Who wears hats like that?

8. Urban legends like the Beast yarn spun by Squints in the tree house are the best, they’re always about the mistakes of past generations coming back to haunt their progeny. The Beast is kind of kids’ club version of Freddy Kruger in this regard.

9. With the early 90’s dedication to having the broadest spectrum of humanity represented in every aspect of children’s entertainment, it’s kind of surprising that they didn’t try to sneak a girl into The Sandlot’s roster. After all, they did it in The Mighty Ducks. And Little Giants. And, hell, Space Jam. Lola Bunny. Who the hell is Lola Bunny?

10. As far as I know, the guy who played Yea-Yea is the only one of the cast that has been arrested. I’m basing this off of some “Where are they now” blog that someone wrote for some god forsaken corner of the internet. No, I did not fact check this — the misinformation cycle continues.