Things Only Adults Notice in the Sandlot - Looper (2023)

Things Only Adults Notice in the Sandlot - Looper (1)

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VonDuncan Carson/April 13, 2022 1:41 pm EST

If you grew up with a bunch of clamshell VHS tapes, chances are one of them was from 1993.The sandbar." Along with Disney classics and other children's movies from the late '80s and early '90s, "The Sandlot" has earned a place in our memories as a fuzzy, serious coming-of-age story about good friends and the love of the game, especially baseball. A patient, sweet film about the simple pleasures of making friends and playing ball, and seeing it in the modern age might as well be meditation when compared to the non-stop frenzy of things like 'Minions'" Franchise.

It may shock you, but we're fast approaching the 30th anniversary of the film's release next year. Perhaps you have children of your own to share it with, or are simply wondering how much of it you remember exactly. Revisiting a beloved children's film can be risky: either you reconnect with your inner child, realize that as a viewer you've lost a sense of innocence over the last few decades, or you feel like the film just went its way not withstand it hit your childish brain. For better or worse, here are the things about "The Sandlot" that only adults notice.

There is hardly any real baseball

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One of the first things that jars you when you revisit The Sandlot as an adult is the near-complete lack of literal baseball games in a film so infatuated with the sport. The titular clay court, a baseball diamond on an abandoned lot between houses, is just a place where our nine main characters constantly work on the basics and never play an actual game. Benny, the most experienced player, bosses everyone around and hits them with fly balls or grounders, and occasionally they play live pitches, but they never count points. They just go to the clay court every day and do random baseball-like stuff.

As if to rub it in, the only time they're challenged to a game by a local little league team, the film simply condenses the game into a montage of our ragtag heroes making plays and scoring runs, essentially fast forward through all the game action to the Sandlot gang celebrating their victory after it's over. There's no explanation as to why our main characters aren't playing in the minor league (perhaps their parents can't afford the fees?) and no indication of how their constant bickering with one another helped win the game. For a movie so in love with baseball, The Sandlot forgets to even throw in a moment of the Bottom of the Ninth, Two Outs melodrama that makes baseball movies compelling.

Adult Scotty Smalls has lived a boring life

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The Sandlot is a childhood story told by the adult version of the main character, Scotty Smalls, in the present day. He refers to the summer of '62 as "the greatest summer of my life" and calls the situation involving the Beast and the Babe Ruth ball the "biggest pickle" he's found himself in on several occasions. This isn't meant to take away from the magic of childhood, the bond between new friends, and a group of kids' triumph over what turns out to be a pretty friendly dog, but is this the best summer of your life, Scotty? You are a grown adult, an announcer for a major league baseball team. Surely a summer or two was a little more interesting than making new friends and destroying your stepfather's prized possessions.

Has adult Scotty never fallen in love? Is working for the MLB just kinda boring? Or is the script for The Sandlot working overtime to give the film's events more meaning than they deserve? It's all in the eye of the beholder, but as an adult you probably know that life in general gets even more interesting when you grow up and stop exaggerating your childhood accomplishments.

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Scotty's inability to throw a ball is incredible

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One of the strangest plot points in the first half of The Sandlot is Scotty's inability to throw a ball. Despite being described as an "egghead," he's clearly old enough to understand basic physics and construct elaborate erector sets. But he's so clueless about how to just throw a ball that you wonder if he's an alien masquerading as a human. In more than one scene, instead of throwing a ball, he slowly and awkwardly walks over to the character.

With patient kindness, Benny has to ask if Scotty ever had a paper route to see if he's even familiar with the concept of throwing objects. You can see what the movie is aiming for - insofar as Scotty, who grew up without his biological father, left him a bit behind in the athletic department - but unless he doesn't know what the words "throw" and "catch" mean. mean his problems go from understandable to absurd pretty quickly.

The sand lot is better when it's pure fantasy

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What's striking about The Sandlot from an adult perspective is how the film is somewhat stilted and aimless, but comes alive whenever the beast is involved in the story. The near-mythical aspects of the dog devouring home run balls is the part of the story that feels most true, how childhood memories are stretched and exaggerated, and the vivid imaginations children have. While most of the story is carelessly and episodically presented, the story of the beast and Babe Ruth's search for the ball gives "The Sandlot" all its pizzazz.

The two best parts of the film by far are when Squints tells the legend of the beast during a sleepover, and of course the wacky sequence where the boys try to recover the Babe Ruth ball using an escalating series of gadgets. Those sequences — whether it's the beast devouring roving thieves in a black-and-white fantasy sequence, or the vacuum cleaners exploding and covering Scotty in dust — are the parts of The Sandlot that live in our memories, because they capture the fairytale understanding of the world we all have before we grow up.

Scenes with Wendy Peppercorn are extremely uncomfortable

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Ironically, the aspect of "The Sandlot" that has aged the worst is the scene where Squints pretends to be drowning to kiss Wendy Peffercorn. Sure, in the post-#MeToo era, a kid kissing a teenage girl without her consent is the first thing that would be cut from the script, but even for the time it was released, it still stands out as a squeamish element in a film out that is aimed directly at children.

Immediately afterwards, Wendy smacks Squints and calls him a pervert, and we learn that the entire gang is subsequently banned from the pool forever. But from the moment "This Magic Moment" kicks in on the soundtrack, when the "kiss" takes place, it's clear that "The Sandlot" thinks that moment is triumphant and not awkward. Adult Scotty rushes in to share the story, celebrating that Squints "had kissed a woman. And he'd kissed her long and hard.” Over the years, it's just an increasingly harrowing inclusion in an otherwise innocent and family-friendly film.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, help is available to help. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network-Website or contact the RAINN National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Ham Porter is the true MVP of the film

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There's simply no way The Sandlot could have lasted over three decades without Patrick Renna's performanceHamilton "Ham" Porter. Watching him again, you realize that despite the nine members of the main cast and the distracting presence of Denis Leary as a completely humorless character, it's Ham who has almost all the laugh lines in the film. From his impression of "The Great Bambino" Babe Ruth to the hilarious exchanges with Scotty over s'mores and the iconic "You're kill me, Smalls!", Ham is by far the most memorable presence and the most closely matched sonically the cartoon whimsy that brings "The Sandlot" at its best.

None of The Sandlot's child stars have truly found fame, but Patrick Renna's performance makes you wonder, "What happened to him?" the most. Although he isworked steadilyin TV and film since, but never restored the magic he had as Ham.

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What's wrong with being an egghead?

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One of the strangest things about The Sandlot is that even for a children's film, there's little to no character development in its story. The tension between Scotty and his stepfather lingers throughout the film, but is waved off by the voiceover at the end of the film when the adult Scotty mentions that he just got grounded for a week and then they were cool. The biggest tension, or at least the nominal source of conflict, at the beginning of the film is that Scotty is "just an egghead" who has no friends and doesn't know how to play sports.

As an adult you ask yourself: What's so bad about being an egghead anyway? As the closing voiceover suggests, literally only two members of the Sandlot crew play organized baseball of any kind. The only thing that comes close to solving Scotty's identity crisis is somehow implied when the rest of the gang come up with their elaborate designs for baseball-saving devices accepts over the fence, but it is not referred to or it is tied off loudly.

Benny's dream comes out of nowhere

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"The Sandlot" is clearly the story of Scotty Smalls. He tells it, we see how finding the clay court and learning baseball helps him cope with moving and his strained household, and the central conflict of getting baseball back is all rooted in the stakes of his life . So by far the weirdest hit in the story is when we're abruptly treated to an extended dream sequence of Benny in which a vision of Babe Ruth convinces him to jump the fence and get the ball back himself.

It's a delightful performance from veteran character actor Art LaFleur as Sultan of Swat, and it fits perfectly with the way the kids have adored "the baby" throughout the film. But since we know nothing about Benny and have no leads as to why he wants to play baseball, why he oversees the entire rest of the sandlot, or what exactly he needs to prove to anyone, we don't have much of it all if Dream Babe is vague about greatness told. It's the kind of thing you might get picky about as a kid, but once you're an adult and have seen a few movies, it's pretty simple things: Scotty should be involved in the emotional climax of the story, or the story should be primarily be more about Benny.

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Mr. Mertle couldn't have played with Babe Ruth

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It's a wonderful casting to have James Earl Jones just a few years after starring infield of dreams," turns out to be the owner of the beast. It's a bit flashy but still wonderful that he turns out to be a former baseball player whose blindness forced him to retire. But Mr. Mertle is such a good friend of Babe Ruth's that he calls him "George" and has a spare ball signed by the 1927 Yankees on hand, "The Sandlot" plays fast and loose with some basic sports history to educate you a bit out of the movie if you've even Wikipedia-ed the relevant people.

Simply put, Babe Ruth retired from baseball in 1935, and Jackie Robinson didn't break the color barrier in major league baseball until 1947. So there's no way the African American Mr. Mertle was teammates with the Babe on any of the Red Sox or Yankees during his legendary career. It's certainly not impossible that they knew each other, but Mr Mertle's casual statement that he knew 'George' so well paints a much rosier picture than the reality of being in a whole different league apart at the time.

Scotty's stepdad should be a lot happier about the Murderers' Row ball

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After all the crazy rescue attempts and the Beast's epic pursuit of Benny across town, Scotty is given a ball signed by the entire 1927 Yankees roster to replace the Babe Ruth-signed ball he stole from his stepfather has. As a kid, you think, "Hey, that's pretty cute," but as an adult who has even a cursory understanding of how much sports memorabilia can bring, you're completely flabbergasted. The 27er Yankees, led byBabe Ruthand Lou Gehrig are widely considered the greatest team of all time to be nicknamed "Murderers' Row".

It's a much more valuable ball that Scotty's wet noodle gets from a stepdad at the end of the film, and all he can do is widen his eyes in response. While there are many signedBabe Ruth Ballsin circulation, a ball signed by the entire team and which has become synonymous with greatness would be worth a small fortune (at least $125,000 in today's money,such an appraiser). Honestly, Bill should have rewarded Scotty instead of grounding him for a week.

The Sandlot feels like it was written by a kid

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Though ostensibly narrated and narrated to us by an adult Scotty, "The Sandlot" really has the wandering pace and meandering focus of a story narrated by a child. That's thanks to him especially in the sequences with the most imaginative touches and giant dog puppets, but the cracks in the script really shine through when Scotty interacts with adults. When his mother finds a lonely Scotty in his room and asks, wide-eyed and serious, "Have you made friends yet?" it really seems like she's refining his precise fears in the unsubtle way Scotty himself tells it would.

It's even worse for stepdad Bill, whose unnamed job somehow keeps him so busy that he's working from home in 1962 and absurdly reluctant to teach Scotty how to play tag. Basically it's almost like "Drunk History", only with childhood instead of alcohol. Regardless, "TheSandlot" is the kind of beautiful mess that charms despite its flaws, evokes a love of baseball without showing it, and generally makes you smile enough to make you feel like a kid again.


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