The Sandlot still holds up after twenty-five years. This coming-of-age movie about a group of friends who try to get a lost baseball signed by Babe Ruth from a killer dog still highlights a ton of memories about growing up in the best possible ways. When it comes to the disc itself, however, this 25th Anniversary edition brings nothing new in the form of video or audio options, and there are zero new extras as well. That being said, there is now a Digital Copy that comes with the movie, along with new artwork, a mini poster, a booklet with an essay and images of the film, and a collectible Topps trading card pack of the characters. It's difficult to justify a double dip if you already own the previous release, but if you want the Digital Copy, the collectible trading cards, or just plain don't have this in your collection yet, this version comes Highly Recommended!
In addition, I had the pleasure to sit down with the director David Mickey Evans and actor Patrick Renna (Hamilton Porter) for an interview to discuss The Sandlot. Enjoy.
It's hard to believe that it's been twenty-five years since I went to the local theater with my little-league team to see The Sandlot, which was a movie about our lives at the time. It was so long ago that stadium seating in theaters wasn't the norm yet. Being part of a group of friends who lived in the same neighborhood, went to school together, and played baseball a few times a week, was life for me and a lot of us growing up. I'm just so happy that a movie was made about it that we all connected to. It's not just a movie for kids, but adults as well, because it brings out our inner kid every time we watch it, which makes The Sandlot a timeless cinematic experience, even more than two decades later.
Filmmaker David Mickey Evans perfectly tells the story of a group of kids who all play baseball one summer and get themselves into the biggest "pickle" of their lives at the time. It's one full of nostalgic moments, coming-of-age scenes, and a lot of fun and baseball. Evans actually wrote the film Radio Flyer and was slated to direct it, but the movie went to Richard Donner instead. Still, Evans' film was inspired by his own life, which is quite tragic when you think about what Radio Flyer is about.
In The Sandlot, I think Evans put a lot of himself into the movie, which is about the new kid who moves to town with his newly married mom and isn't quite accepted immediately. Through some tall tales and baseball, he makes friends with the other kids, and they all discover life's most precious moments, such as the first kiss, overnights in the treehouse, and loyalty to friends.
For those of you unfamiliar with The Sandlot, the story follows a young kid named Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) who moves to a new neighborhood and doesn't have an ounce of sports ability in him. He's what we'd call the indoor kid. Not making friends easily, another kid in the neighborhood named Benny (Mike Vitar) takes him under his wing and teaches him baseball. After Smalls makes friends with the other boys, he takes his step-father's baseball from the living room mantle and brings it to play with the others during a hot summer day. Smalls ends up hitting a home-run, but the ball goes into a mean neighbor's yard with a killer dog. Turns out, that ball was signed by Babe Ruth, and Smalls and his new friends try and devise elaborate plans to get it back.
Throughout this entire debacle, the boys still manage to have fun on the Fourth of July and even partake in their first drug experience at a local carnival. The movie is so genuine and funny that you can't help but relate to each kid in some form or fashion. With an excellent soundtrack and great performances, it's no wonder that The Sandlot is still one of the best movies of all time.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The 25th Anniversary of The Sandlot comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc of the film and an insert for a Digital Copy. There is also a collectible Topps trading card pack of the characters in the film, a mini folded poster, and a booklet with an essay and images included. The box features new artwork as well. The items are housed in an eco-friendly, hard blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
This 25th Anniversary of The Sandlot comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This is in fact the same transfer from the 20th Anniversary edition, which is still quite good. From previous VHS and DVD releases of the movie, this Blu-ray is leaps and bounds better, visually speaking. Colors are strikingly bold and rich with the early 1960s color scheme showcasing their bright primary colors in costumes. The green grass is luscious and the brown dirt looks fantastic. The many pastel colors of the houses in the neighborhood and the deep primaries are beautiful in each scene.
Detail is sharp and vivid as well with facial features showing up nicely, including freckles, beads of sweat, and individual hairs. Even the fine stitching and textures in the baseballs can be easily seen here. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural too. There is a certain scene where Babe Ruth appears in a dream, which can be heavy on grain, but it's a stylistic choice. There are no major instances with any banding or video noise, allowing this video presentation to earn great marks.
This disc also comes with the same audio presentation as the previous release, which is a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that sounds great. The sound effects are robust with good directionality in each scene. Sounds of bats hitting baseballs, sliding in the dirt, and erector set clanks are all impressive. The bigger scenes, such as the pool scene or when the kids are at the local carnival, and even the night game with fireworks, provide the best overall surround experience from the rear speakers.
Other ambient noises of kids talking and yelling, along with "the beast" growling all sound fluid and smooth. The fantastic soundtrack always adds to the entertainment and nostalgic mood of the 1960s as well. The dialogue is always clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills.
There are no new extras here unfortunately, but instead the same supplements from the previous release are ported over.
Featurette (SD, 5 Mins.) - A vintage promo reel for the film that is mostly just clips from the movie with some small interviews from the cast and crew. Nothing much to see here.
Trailers (HD, 6 Mins.) - A mix of TV spots and trailers are included here.
This 25th anniversary edition of The Sandlot is more or less the exact same disc as the one that came out five years prior for its 20th anniversary. While the film, video, and audio presentations are still very good, there are no new extras to be had here. The only thing that is new this time around is the artwork along with a couple of inserts that come with the disc, including a mini poster, a booklet with an essay and images, and a Topps collectible card pack consisting of characters from the film. There is also a Digital Copy of the movie included too. If you already own the last release, it's hard to justify purchasing this again, unless you want the Digital Copy, since there isn't really anything new otherwise. But, if you still don't have the movie in your collection, this edition comes Highly Recommended!