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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 that tweens will love. Set during the early 1960s, it follows a new kid in town who makes friends by joining a local pick-up team. The main threat to the gang's happiness is The Beast -- a giant, slavering dog on the other side of the sandlot fence (he might briefly scare younger viewers). Strong language includes "s--t," "a--hole," and lots of colorful insults, and there are some scuffles between the boys. Adults may raise an eyebrow at the way the movie treats Wendy, the much sought-after, slightly older lifeguard "babe." The boys ogle her with typical preteen interest (and one tricks her into kissing him), but it's the camera that unnecessarily lingers on her various body parts. 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. And overall, the movie has a sun-kissed, nostalgic tone that both kids and parents will appreciate.
What's the story?
After getting onto the local sandlot team purely by luck, 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. 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 angry junkman Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones).
Is it any good?
This charming film is like Field of Dreams for the tween set. The two movies share a couple of features: the winning presence of James Earl Jones and a longing for a simpler world. Both also attempt to leave the viewer with a life-affirming message. At the same time, The Sandlot doesn't take itself too seriously. The kids are just right -- they can really play the game, and there's a refreshing lack of precocious, obnoxious types. While it trades in the stock cliches of baseball films, it does so with utter conviction and innocence. And, for once, here's a sport 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. Why are there so many of them? Is it always a guarantee that the underdogs will come out on top?
Do you have to have been a kid in the 1960s to appreciate this movie? Why or why not? What about it appeals to kids of different generations?
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.