Written and Directed by David Mickey Evans
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First Inning “The Sandlot” is a baseball film set in California, during the 1960s. The young Scotty moves to a new neighborhood with his mother and stepfather. Gradually, after some difficulties, he becomes accepted on a neighborhood baseball team. He befriends Benny, a much better baseball player than himself. The boys often play baseball during the hot summer, the only difficulty occurring when Benny hits homeruns over the fence, where the baseball occasionally lands in a nearby sandlot guarded by a vicious dog. During one instance, Scotty offers his stepfather’s baseball as a replacement. Scotty hits the ball over the fence-into the lair of the bestial dog. Only later do the boys realize that the ball was signed by Babe Ruth. When the other boys come to realize how valuable the ball is they try to get it back. Eventually, the boys learn that the dog is not vicious at all, and meet the owner. The boys restore the Babe’s priceless ball to its rightful place, but more importantly they learn that appearances can be deceiving. At the end of the film, there is a flash ahead to the present, where Scotty is a sports announcer, and Benny is a professional ballplayer. The main theme of the film is that appearances can be deceiving. The boys think that Scotty is hopeless as a player at first, but Benny looks beneath Scotty’s ordinary surface, and realizes that Scotty wants to fit in. The young boy becomes a valued member of the team, and the crucial ninth player needed to make a full team. Scotty doesn’t realize that his stepfather’s baseball is valuable at first; Scotty sees it as a ball, just like any other ball, even though it has the signature of the great Babe Ruth himself. Finally, all of the boys misjudge the dog ‘Hercules’ who looks so vicious but is really a decent and gentle dog. Even the boys’ future careers are not immediately evident at the beginning of the film. The film is about 9 young boys and their coming of age story. It’s a little different than most sports movies of the 1990’s era and describes a unique adventure.
Scotty Smalls Scott Smalls (played by Tom Guiry), simply called â€œSmallsâ€? by the other kids, is a boy who moved to suburban Los Angeles in 1961 with his mother and his new step-father. The crux of the first half of the film is him trying to fit in with the kids of his new neighborhood. Taken under the wing of Benny, he finds a new passion for baseball. It is his mistake of unwittingly using a ball signed by Babe Ruth (which belonged to his step-father) that drives the second half of the film. Arrested for assaulting a police officer (2013) -
Wendy Peffercorn Wendy was the lifeguard at the local pool in the neighborhood, and she caught the attention of a young boy named Squints. Devising a plan to trick her, Squints jumped into the deep end of the pool, despite not knowing how to swim, forcing Wendy to save him. She attempted to resuscitate him, however, it turned out Squints was conscious the entire time, and pulled Wendy into a kiss the next time she tried CPR. Furious, she called him a pervert and kicked him out of the pool, banning him and his friends for life. still quite angry, she came to understand that he had feelings for her, and according to Scotty, she always smiled at Squints every time they passed by the pool. This implied that she had developed romantic feelings for him as well.
Arrested for DUI (2011)
Squints Palledorous Squints (played by Chauncey Leopardi) looks like a nerd, but is also a good baseball player and a hammy storyteller. He is also a bit of a lech, having a major crush on an older local girl, Wendy Peffercorn. He largely drives the myths surrounding The Beast. In the epilogue, he’s revealed to have bought the local pharmacy, and married Wendy. They have nine children. Arrested for DUI (2011)
Benny Rodriguez Benny (played by Mike Vitar) is the oldest, wisest and most mature of the Sandlot kids, and the one everyone looks up to. He is Hispanic, and a major fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers (he almost always wears a Dodgers ballcap). He is known particularly for his speed, and it comes into play when he outruns The Beast after getting Smalls’ ball back in the second half. Benny is the hero of the film, next to Smalls’ Supporting Protagonist. In the Epilogue, he is revealed to have become a long-time pro baseball player, and is on the Dodgers at the end of the episode. It is suggested he had a very successful career, and is nicknamed “The Jet”. Grown-up Benny is played by Pablo Vitar in the final scene of the film. He appears in The Sandlot: Heading Home, where he’s the manager of the baseball team called the Dodgers. Mike Vitar later starred in the Mighty Ducks trilogy and had a pretty successful acting careeer. However he proved to peak earlier rather than later and had a hard time finding roles.
Arrested for a domestic dispute (2012)
At this point,
it’s safe to say that the early 1990s marked the dawning of the Golden Age for pop-culture nostalgia. You’ve got your pogs, your Saved by the Bell, your JNCOs (more on those later). But there were also those children’s sports movies—you know, those ones with the characters whose names you still
recognize two decades later: Rookie of the Year, Little Giants, The Mighty Ducks trilogy, Little Big League, Angels in the Outfield (which, as we must all never forget, starred Adrien Brody, Matthew McConaughey and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and many others. But perhaps none left a more indelible mark on the psyche of ’80s babies than
The Sandlot. Set in early-1960s southern California, it eschewed the traditional sports movie paradigm. You know the one: a bunch of rag-tag misfits band together and beat their far more talented, far more mean-spirited rivals at the movie’s climax. Though predictable, many of the those early nineties sports movies managed to find their own unique spin on the tried-
and-true formula (including, most notably, Little Big League, which pulled off an ambitious 180 on the traditional conclusion). The Sandlot, however, ditched that classic plot structure entirely. More than anything else, it was a story about friendship and fitting in. It was about how two kids—Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) and Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar)—at two opposite ends of the athletic spectrum can form a life-long bond over the course of one summer spent playing baseball.
The duo and the rest of the sandlot group—who at first are reluctant to accept Smalls onto the team due to his utter lack of athletic talent or knowledge— spend the entire film getting into and out of a host of shenanigans. There’s no coach teaching life lessons and no big climactic game (Benny, Smalls and the rest of the team trounce the snooty varsity jacket bike gang halfway through the film). Just a bunch of kids trading insults, lusting after the local lifeguard and avoiding an enormous dog.
FunFacts The chewing tobacco from the carnival scene was really made out of licorice and bacon bits—and that, the actors later said, combined with riding the carnival rides for so many takes, made them as sick as their fictional counterparts got. The vomit from that scene, by the way, was a mixture of split pea soup, baked beans, oatmeal, water, and gelatin. It was also so hot during the daytime shoots—upwards of 110 degrees—that the actor who played Scotty Smalls, Tom Guiry, got weak from running around in the heat and fell into one of the cameramen. Some scenes with the Beast called for a real dog (two, actually). When Smalls and Hercules make friends at the end, they got the dog to lick his face by smearing baby food on one half of Tom Guiry’s face. “That scene where I’m looking to the side, the other half of me is just slathered in this baby goo. That dog had a field day on my face,” Guiry told Time. “I’m a dog-lover”