THE SANDLOT: HEADING HOME
THE SANDLOT 3
In coming from a part of the world where baseball is not the national sport or that widely played, I find it hard to get into this type of American film that regards baseball in a sentimental light. The film enshrines the game in this autumny wistfulness usually reserved for stained glass windows or nostalgic/romantic movies indeed, director William Dear also made Angels in the Outfield (1994), which had angels coming down to aid an ailing baseball team, and a further baseball film with The Perfect Game (2009). Within this, the film sets up cliche divides Tommy is the baseball star who plays for mercenary and ego-driven reasons and is contrasted with those who play for the love of the game, while the dramatic hinge of the film centres around the big decision he must make whether to stand up for his destiny or do the right thing and not abandon his friends.
The film tells its story passably well within these predictable and banal confines. It is less successful when it tries to do the childhood hijinks thing that were a highlight of the other films there is an excruciating sequence where the kids try to sneak into a movie theatre past the fat comic relief deputy (Christopher Gauthier) who is taking a dump in one of the stalls, followed by their being pursued around the theatre by management. There is also a lame haunted house scene where the kids sneak into a house they scaring themselves every turn they make, and then encountering various quasi-ghostly baseball paraphernalia an automated ball-serving machine firing at them, a mitt on a spring punching out at someone, a dummy in catchers gear falling down, an automated machine whacking them in the face with mitts, and a giant ball rolling down the stairs a la Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
The kids work together as a worthwhile ensemble cast. Keanu Pires, the kid playing the young Tommy, has a strong and nicely authoritative presence. The only major name in the cast is Luke Perry of Beverly Hills 90210 (1990-2000) fame as the adult Tommy, but he is only there at the beginning and end. Also good is a brief cameo from Alexander Ludwig later of films like The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (2007) and Race to Witch Mountain (2009) as the villains bullying son.
Director William Dear has had a strong genre association, having made the time-travel film Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982), the cute Bigfoot film Harry and the Hendersons/Bigfoot and the Hendersons (1987), the not-very-funny James Bond spoof If Looks Could Kill/Teen Agent (1991), the remake of Angels in the Outfield (1994), the childrens tv movie Balloon Farm (1999), the tv movie Santa Who (2006) and the horror film Simon Says (2006).