Lighthearted tween baseball comedy has language, sexism.
Based on 40 reviews
Based on 91 reviews
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Sandlot is a lighthearted baseball comedy written and directed by David Mickey Evans. Set during the early 1960s, it follows a new kid in town (Tom Guiry) who makes friends by joining a local pick-up team. The main threat to the gang's happiness is The Beast -- a giant, slobbering dog on the other side of the sandlot fence (he might briefly scare younger viewers). Slapstick humor includes pratfalls, but no one gets hurt. Strong language includes "s--t," "a--hole," and lots of colorful insults, and there are some scuffles between the boys. Adults may also raise an eyebrow at the way the movie treats a much sought-after, slightly older lifeguard "babe." Boys ogle her (and one tricks her into kissing him), but it's the camera that unnecessarily lingers on her various body parts. Girls are portrayed as stereotypical love interests who have no desire to play sports. Family relationships are also somewhat strained (particularly between one of the boys and his indifferent stepdad), but friendship plays a strong role and comes off in a very positive light. There are some characters of color, including Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones) who is Black and blind, initially portrayed as a villain but becomes one of the most complex characters in the film. Overall, the movie has a sun-kissed tone that both kids and adults will appreciate.
Dated & sketchy but charming
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My son loves this movie, but I'm not comfortable with the sexy stuff, chewing tobacco use and various cuss words thrown about
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What's the Story?
After getting onto the local sandlot team purely by luck, new kid in town Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) spends a blissful summer developing his baseball skills with help from his teammates Benny (Mike Vitar), Yeah-Yeah (Marty York), Ham (Patrick Renna), Squints (Chauncey Leopardi), and the rest of the boys. But things take a serious turn at THE SANDLOT when the gang experiences what they believe is an omen that will give them bad luck. To infuse the team with good luck, Scotty runs home and grabs his stepfather's (Denis Leary) baseball. When Scotty hits the ball into the junkyard, the boys discover just how valuable it is and devise an elaborate scheme to retrieve it, a mission that requires getting past "The Beast," a terrifying guard dog owned by Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones).
Is It Any Good?
This charming film is like Field of Dreams for the tween set. Like Dreams, The Sandlot features the winning presence of James Earl Jones and a look at times gone by. Both also attempt to leave viewers with a life-affirming message. At the same time, The Sandlot doesn't take itself too seriously. The kids are charming and can really play the game; there's also a refreshing lack of precocious, cynical types. While it trades in some of the stock cliches of baseball films, it does so with utter conviction and earnestness. And, for once, here's a sports film for kids that isn't about winning.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the appeal of sports movies like The Sandlot. What other similar films do you like?
Do you have to have been a kid in the 1960s to appreciate this movie? Why, or why not? What about it might appeal to kids of different generations?
How do the characters in The Sandlot demonstrate integrity, courage, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?
How did the kids misjudge Mr. Mertle and The Beast? What can you learn from people by talking to them and listening to their stories?
- In theaters: April 7, 1993
- On DVD or streaming: January 29, 2002
- Cast: James Earl Jones, Mike Vitar, Tom Guiry
- Director: David M. Evans
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Courage, Integrity, Teamwork
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some language and kids chewing tobacco
- Last updated: February 22, 2023
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