Combustible Celluloid
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With: Art LaFleur, Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Marty York, Brandon Quintin Adams, Grant Gelt, Shane Obedzinski, Victor DiMattia, Denis Leary, Karen Allen, James Earl Jones, Marley Shelton
Written by: David Mickey Evans, Robert Gunter
Directed by: David Mickey Evans
MPAA Rating: PG for some language and kids chewing tobacco
Running Time: 101
Date: 04/06/1993

The Sandlot (1993)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

You're Killing Me, Smalls!

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The largely family-friendly The Sandlot (1993) tells a story of the summer of 1962, when smart kid Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) moves to town, has no friends, and has no idea how to play baseball. The skilled, older "Benny" (Mike Vitar) lets him join their sandlot team anyway; these nine kids simply play ball, all day long, without ever keeping score. But if anything gets hit over the fence, it's gone forever, thanks to a mean, monster-sized junkyard dog. Of course, Scotty manages to hit his stepfather's autographed Babe Ruth ball into dog territory.

Director David M. Evans includes plenty of mood-setting scenes that don't necessarily advance the plot, but bring home the feel of summer, friendship, and a good game of baseball. The movie has one of the best, most chest-thumping, moist-eyed Fourth of July scenes ever filmed, when the neighborhood holds a block party full of food and fun, but the kids dash off to their sandlot ballfield, using the holiday fireworks as nighttime illumination for some extra innings. Karen Allen, Denis Leary, and James Earl Jones play grownups, and young Marley Shelton plays the teen dream pool lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn.

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