The Sandlot (20th Anniversary Edition) Blu-ray Review
There is no greater time for a youth than the summer, that two-and-a-half-month gap between grades when a cool breeze, sandlot baseball and pretty girls are all that’s on the agenda from breakfast until dusk.
It’s the summer of 1962 and Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry in his debut; he next played in 1994’s LASSIE) is new in town and without friends. Worse, he has no clue how to play baseball and doesn’t even know who The Sultan of Swat is. When he misses a standard fly ball, the neighborhood kids laugh at him and label him a “weenie.” Still, the team’s best (and nicest) player, leader Benny (Mike Vitar, who later played Luis Mendoza in the MIGHTY DUCKS sequels), invites Smalls back, bringing the squad up to a full nine.
Rounding out the team: Ham (Patrick Renna, Disney’s soccer movie THE BIG GREEN), Squints (Chauncey Leopardi, also THE BIG GREEN; he reprised his role in 2007’s direct-to-video sequel, THE SANDLOT: HEADING HOME), Yeah-Yeah (Marty York, who took to television afterwards), Kenny (Brandon Quintin Adams, THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS), Bertram (Grant Gelt, also a television face), and twins Timmy and Tommy (Victor DiMattia and Shane Obedzinski). (The cast rightfully won the Young Artist Award for Outstanding Youth Ensemble.) The boys have a strong bond over the game and know the only real rule is to never hit the ball over the outfield fence, lest 300-lb. dog The Beast get ahold of it.
THE SANDLOT, despite the title and primary setting, is less about baseball than it is growing up at a certain time with certain people. Viewers—both boys and girls—knew or know these kids, or at least variations of. There’s the trash-talker, the pipsqueak who couldn’t hold his own, the undeniable captain, the cocky one who always had to “call his shot,” the constant repeater, the pal who would go to desperate measures to plant one on Wendy Peffercorn.
Co-written by David M. Evans and Robert Gunter and directed by the former, THE SANDLOT has almost no plot, unlike other summertime nostalgia movies, like Rob Reiner’s STAND BY ME (1986). Instead, the movie is made of a nicely tied together collection of moments. We watch the boys come head-to-head with the rival sandlot team (where Ham hurls the finest insult possible: “You play ball like a girl!”), taste-test (and spew) chew before going on an amusement park ride and finally encounter The Beast. With characters and moments like these, THE SANDLOT doesn’t need plot.
THE SANDLOT is a highly enjoyable movie, one that will have young and old alike longing for warm weather, July 4th fireworks and, of course, Wendy Peffercorn.
Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This 20th Anniversary edition of THE SANDLOT comes with the same transfer found on the 2011 Blu-ray. While that would normally be cause for complaint, it’s a lively and colorful presentation that fully captures the spirit of the movie.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English Dolby Surround; Spanish Dolby Surround; French Dolby Surround. The audio transfer is also quite nice, catching every sandlot holler, crack of the bat and Beast snarl. The soundtrack (from “Tequila” to “This Magic Moment”) also comes through nicely.
Featurette (5:51): This brief piece uses on-set footage, clips and interviews to promote THE SANDLOT.
Also included is a DVD of THE SANDLOT.
(The sole addition to this 20th Anniversary edition of THE SANDLOT is 10 Trading Cards featuring the boys and The Beast.)