Controversial Outlook Alert: The Case Against “The Sandlot”

Some people have told me that if I really want to turn heads as a writer then I should write something controversial so that more people notice me. My response is typically, “I’m watching clips of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Youtube right now, can we talk about this later?”

But today I decided I’d give it a try. Here goes…

The Sandlot.

It’s not really that good, guys.

I’m sorry. I’ve kept my mouth shut for too long.

Before I go further I want you to understand that I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad movie. I simply think it’s overrated. Sometimes when you get frustrated that something is overrated you feel like it’s your duty to criticize it and compensate for everyone else.

For example, Stories For Sunday co-founder Clark Williams and I have argued about the merits of bacon throughout our friendship. Clark doesn’t think it’s all that good. I am of the opinion that he is just sick of people acting like it’s the best food on the planet so he pretends that he doesn’t like it very much. Really he should just admit that he thinks it’s a little overrated. Instead, he claims that a grilled chicken sandwich is more appetizing than anything bacon-related, which is ridiculous. I won’t make that mistake.

In this analogy, the grilled chicken sandwich is, say, Little Giants. I’m not trying to pretend that Little Giants is better than The Sandlot.

I’ll admit The Sandlot has its redeeming qualities:

-Preteen version of Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez is still 80% cooler and better suited to handle any situation than I am right now.

Wendy Peffercorn is an angel.

-The “Tequila” montage is the bee’s knees (and somehow not on Youtube).

That’s pretty much all I got. Honestly, watch this “Funniest Moments” montage. Try to make it through the whole thing. I promise you’ll get bored:

The Sandlot isn’t a fun movie to watch. It’s just a fun movie to talk about because it viscously attacks every nostalgic bone in your body. It’s basically a Buzzfeed list about cool stuff from the nineties; you’ll post it on someone’s Facebook wall just to be like “hey wasn’t life awesome before iPads were invented?”

It’s a borderline travesty how much this movie is quoted. 

“You play baseball like a girl.”

Really? Cool bro, you’re fat.

I hate to break it to you, but that’s how that conversation actually goes 10 times out of 10. It’s a cruel world we live in and kids are the meanest of all. It’s unrealistic and irresponsible to tell kids that  back and forth insults are always going to end with s’mores parties. They’re probably going to end with somebody crying and emotionally damaged.

Speaking of S’mores… I’m sick of people acting like that joke is comedic gold. “S’more what?” Had you really not heard that before the movie? It’s not even an original joke. The whole premise of naming the creation s’mores is based on that joke.

That being said, I’ll admit that my problem with The Sandlot probably traces back to one point: Dennis Leary sucks in this movie. If that dude were my stepdad I’d be willing to let a giant dog eat me too. Throughout the whole movie Smalls is desperate to get his stepdad’s approval. Why, Smalls? Do you know how many people would kill to have Benny the Jet take them under his wing and you’re fixated on that a-hole? I mean, he didn’t even teach you what a s’more is. That’s like stepdad 101. Oh, you risked your life to get his ball back and just because he wasn’t that mad about it now you’re going to call him “dad”? You’re killing me Smalls. I didn’t want to say anything before, but I don’t like the way he looks at your mom when you’re around. 

Let’s also talk about the fact that James Earl Jones’ character apparently knew Babe Ruth. He claimed that he would have “broken his record” if he hadn’t gone blind. This movie is totally ignoring the fact that black players were not allowed in Major League Baseball until a few months before Ruth died….It does, however, provide two important messages: 1) it’s really racist to be inexplicably scared of the the black man and his giant dog who live in your neighborhood and 2) don’t crowd the plate, kids. You will get hit by a pitch and you will go blind. 

The Sandlot might be better than Little Giants, but I refuse to believe it was better than Angels in the Outfield. AITO had Christopher Lloyd, Danny Glover, young Joseph Gordon Levitt, Adrien Brody and Matthew McConaughey. It was like the Ocean’s Eleven of supernatural baseball movies. 

If you want to keep placing Sandlot on a pedestal, then go head. Keep looking for “Where Are They Now” stories and tweeting about how different the cast looks these days. 

But count me out. I don’t care where they are now…except for Wendy…in her case, I’m very interested. 

Jonny Auping

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