We’re doing something a little different this summer for #WayBackWednesday! I asked the Fangirlish staff to tell me their favorite summer flicks–films they associate with summer, be that a film set in the summer, a film that was released in the summer, or a movie they spent a summer watching. Each writer will tell you why they chose their movie and I’ll be reviewing their film recommendations during June, July, and August. This is our Summer Vacation series! Pour yourself a glass of Kool-Aid, make some ramen, and find out how we spent our summer vacations each #WayBackWednesday.
The Sandlot is Fangirlish staff writer, Julie’s pick for her favorite summer movie. I’m so glad she picked The Sandlot because it’s one of my all-time favorite summer movies as well. Did you grow up watching The Sandlot every summer? Check out the trailer for The Sandlot and then Julie and I will tell you about why it’s on our list of favorite summer flicks.
On the off chance you’ve not seen The Sandlot, it tells the story of the new kid in town, Scotty Smalls, who moved to a new home just before the start of summer vacation at the end of his fifth-grade year. Scott struggles to fit in but is invited to join a group of boys playing baseball in a sandlot. These boys with some initial trepidation accept Scott and then the adventure of their young lives begins. Starring James Earl Jones, Patrick Renna, Mike Vitar, Dennis Leary, Karen Allen, and Tom Guiry, The Sandlot is a stacked cast of young actors, with fantastic adult leads. The Sandlot’s popularity spawned a sequel in 2005 and there is an untitled prequel film that’s been announced. This is definitely a film that has staying power.
Check out what Julie has to say about The Sandlot.
“There are so many things in The Sandlot that bring out the nostalgic feelings of summer for me. The obvious one is that it’s baseball season, and there’s just something to be said about hearing that crack of the bat. The trip to the community pool, sharing money to buy a soda on a hot day, sleepovers in the treehouse, s’mores, going to the carnival and grabbing a hot dog, and watching fireworks on the Fourth of July – it’s all there. This movie represents summer childhood at its finest – going out of the house in the morning and not coming home until dinner.
The Sandlot connects with me personally because I moved around a few times as a kid, and I really identify with Smalls when he tries to find his place amongst the neighborhood kids. But with a few grand adventures over the summer, you have made friends for life.”
For many of the same reasons as Julie, The Sandlot is permanently cemented in my brain as a summer movie. I was introduced to The Sandlot at my piano teacher’s house a year or so after its release. Watching the film on VHS while waiting for my sister to complete her piano lesson, I fell in love with the movie. Generously, my teacher gave me a copy. I then proceeded to watch the movie on repeat that summer. For several summers after that, I made a point of watching The Sandlot then going outside to play baseball on the first day of summer vacation. The Sandlot is a big reason why baseball is my favorite sport, and why I maintain a love for the game until today. To say that The Sandlot has been influential in my life might be an understatement.
Revisiting The Sandlot for this week’s #WayBackWednesday proved to be a real treat. I’d not seen the film since I was a kid, and it surprised me just how many of the lines and beats from The Sandlot were still ingrained in my memory. I found myself reciting each line, and laughing harder at the film as an adult than I ever did as a kid. To be totally honest, I think The Sandlot might be a perfect movie. Here are a few reasons why I think The Sandlot has stood the test of time.
Capturing Childhood on Film
The Sandlot is set in 1962, which predates its 1993 target audience by a couple of decades. However, what is universal in The Sandlot is the perspective of a child. The visuals are from a child’s eye view. Whenever the sandlot gang encounters The Beast, he’s larger than life; he’s on par with a T-Rex in terms of size. When Squints recounts the tale of The Beast, the details are exaggerated, at least to an adult, but to a kid, this is perfectly logical and acceptable. I really felt like I was getting the story through my 10-year-old eyes, revisiting The Sandlot this week. The fact that The Sandlot is able to capture this viewpoint so well, and that it still holds up over time and to an adult audience is a testament to its quality. If you truly want to feel like a kid again, check out The Sandlot.
Incredible Camera Work
The cinematography in The Sandlot lends itself to the childhood perspective motif quite well. I love the perspective of Squints peering through his cereal box periscope (which was on display for a time at the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum as part of their For-Ev-Ver Fest). I also love the chase with The Beast. It feels like the camera was attached to The Beast’s back, really lending itself to the franticness of the chase. There are many other beautiful shots in the movie as well that really capture the joy of summer in childhood, especially during the boys’ “Night Game” on the Fourth of July. If you have an eye for creative cinematography in storytelling, you’ll definitely want to put The Sandlot on your summer watch list.
Playground Banter for the Ages
One of the most iconic parts of The Sandlot is its memorable and hilarious dialogue. So much of the film’s success hinged on its note-perfect dialogue, accurately capturing getting into a battle of wits on the playground. Ham’s verbal sparring match with the other boy from the school team is one of the funniest parts of the film. His, “You’re killing me, Smalls!” likely makes the top 10 list for “Most Often Repeated Movie Quotes of All Time.” Ham’s smack talk during their game with the school team made me laugh harder as an adult than it ever did as a kid. Let’s face it, Patrick Renna landed all the best lines in the film. Big props to him for being able to make them stick and continue to be just as funny nearly 30 years later. If you love great dialogue, you’ll definitely want to queue up The Sandlot.
Extremely Relatable Content
As a kid, the plight of Scotty Smalls rung true for me. I never had the experience of being “the new kid.” However, Scott’s struggle to fit in and to not be so awkward felt much like my own. I would totally bluff my way through things if I didn’t know what other kids were talking about. It came back to bite me more than once, though not quite to the degree that it does for Scott. This extremely relatable content kept me coming back to The Sandlot as a kid and endears me to the film as an adult. I’m going to start adding The Sandlot back into its rightful place in my regular summer movie rotation.
Do you have summer memories associated with The Sandlot? Leave me a comment and let’s reminisce together.
Thanks very much to Julie for suggesting The Sandlot. Julie’s been covering Bridgerton, The Walking Dead, Schitt’s Creek, Cobra Kai, and the Braime fandom here on Fangirlish. If you’re into those shows and great recommendations for Jaime/Brienne fan fiction, you should check out Julie’s work.
The Sandlot is streaming now on Hulu.