Archive for the ‘Baseball Countdown’ Category

Kids Baseball Movie Countdown from 1993 to 1994 – #1 The Sandlot

August 21, 2007

#1 The Sandlot

So here it is. Finally. The gut-wrenching wait is finally over, and our champion is crowned. It is a surprise, to everyone I’m sure, that The Sandlot is the best kids baseball movie made between 1993 and 1994. But its so much more than that. I go so far as to say that it is the best baseball movie of all time. Not even kidding.

What is this movie about? It’s about us. We aren’t Major League Baseball players, and most of us will never even hit that home run to win the big game. That’s what makes the movie so great. You may not remember a random game during league play, but you definitely remember when Robert Horton laid you out in a complete pass interference penalty and you STILL caught the touchdown. The kind of stuff playground legends are made of.

Starring:

Scotty Smalls
Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez
“Ham” Porter
Michael “Squints” Polodorous
Yeah-Yeah
DeNunez (note: Played by the same guy that played Jessie in the Mighty Ducks. This guy may be my idol.)
Bertram
Tommy
Timmy

These are the nine kids. They don’t really have names as far as I’m concerned. They only exist in the Sandlot. Except for maybe Ham (fat goalie in the Big Green) and DeNunez (Jessie in the Mighty Ducks).

Also Starring:

Denis Leary: NOT Kevin Bacon like you thought. Lowest amount of cussing ever done by Leary in a 15 minute period he’s on screen.

James Earl Jones: Second greatest performance of all time next to reading “The Raven” on The Simpsons. Again, I say this completely serious.

Beast: He was the fast one and the dog at the same time.

Plot Summary

Scotty Smalls moves into a new town where he doesn’t know anyone, and it kinda sucks. Who in movie history has ever moved into an awesome town? They never roll in and there’s roller coasters and candy everywhere. It always sucks.

Along comes Benny, a kid who’s remarkably fast despite being called Benny. He takes Smalls under his wing and teaches him how to not suck at life. Smalls starts to fit in, and no longer resembles an L-7 Weenie.

There are many shenanigans involving a dog and a lifeguard, but the main conflict arises when Smalls hits his dad’s Babe Ruth ball over the fence. The kids build 3 or 4 contraptions that NASA would be proud of, but it all came down to Benny just hoping the fence.

The mean old man turns out to be Darth Vader, and all turns out well.

Shaky Premises

Not many here, actually. Aside from the absurb Erector set skills of Scotty Smalls, everything else can make sense. The dog appears huge at the beginning because they are kids and that was their perception. Squints gets the girl cuz he’s a pimp. There are a few, however:

Denis Leary is your dad and you don’t cuss after losing a Babe Ruth ball.

James Earl Jones is blind… or maybe that explains why he needs that helmet in the future…

The pitcher wouldn’t see the guy on third stealing home? Really? The guy is F-I-R-E-D.


Best Lines (too many to list all)

Squints: If you’da been thinkin you wouldn’t ‘a thought that.

Benny: Got a fireplace?
Scotty Smalls: Yeah.
Benny: Throw that in there, man.

Mr. Mertle: I take it back. You’re not in trouble, you’re dead where you stand.
Phillips: You bob for apples in the toilet! And you like it!
Ham Porter: You play ball like a giiirrrrrrrrl!

Smalls: Oh yeah, the Great Bambino. Of course! I thought you said the Great Bambi.
Ham Porter: That wimpy deer?

Bertram: My God, he looks like a dead fish.

Squints: For-ev-ver!

Timmy: She don’t know what she’s doin’.
Tommy: Yeah she does. She knows exactly what she’s doin’.

Ham Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s’more?
Smalls: Some more of what?
Ham Porter: No, do you wanna s’more?
Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?
Ham Porter: You’re killing me Smalls!

Final Thoughts

This movie is just incredible, and still feels like a cult hit. You never see any coverage on those movie countdowns, sports related or otherwise. This movie epitomizes what it meant to be a kid. The most important thing in your entire life was catching a ball or playing outside as long as possible. If you don’t remember it, watch it again. If you do remember it, watch it again. Then go play something in the backyard.

Kids Baseball Movie Countdown from 1993 to 1994 – #2 Little Big League

July 17, 2007

#2 Little Big League

I know I know I know. It has been too long since the last post, and I apologize. This whole working world thing sucks, as do the other “writers”. But here we go with the countdown.

Little Big League: the youth baseball movie you forgot about. But it is certainly one of the best, especially when viewed a few years after your childhood. As ridiculous as it sounds, the premise is actually believable… well, more believable than movies about a 100 mph fastball throwing 12-year-old or angels helping the Angels win the pennant.

Starring:

Luke Edwards – As Billy Heywood, he plays a pretty convincing part. Even though he’s just reading lines, he really seems like he knows baseball (hell, I learned not to bunt my #3, #4, or #5 batters because of him). Too bad he doesn’t convince anyone else of his acting talent. His second best movie is American Pie 2 as “High School Guy”.

Timothy Busfield – Best known for the line “Don’t sell the farm” from Field of Dreams, Tim is pretty awesome in this flick as well. He plays the usual “old-time player/coach that hits on the main kid’s semi-hot mom” role.

Jonathan Silverman – My favorite character. He figures out how many hours it took for those two guys to paint the house. He also had the glove pump-up thing and the water balloon shenanigans. When your last name is Bowers, you can’t really help but be the team cut-up.

Dennis Farina – Probably the best actor in the movie. Went on to Law and Order fame as well as played a pretty awesome bad-ass in Snatch.

Plot Summary

Billy’s grandfather dies and leaves him ownership of the Twins (wish it was the Pirates). When Dennis Farina doesn’t stop being what I would figure Dennis Farina truly is like, Billy fires him. After impressing the assistant coach by explaining one game situation, he activates himself as coach. After the usual kid antics and the team starts winning, Billy gets sour and forgets his friends. Then he remembers them, and they make it to the playoffs. However, in a nice twist, they lose (only movie besides Friday Night Lights where I can think of this happening). But everyone’s happy and the old player gets the mom.

Shaky Premises:

Kids would fish for fun.

Someone wouldn’t know the horse’s name was Friday.

Probably the best thing Rickey Henderson has done in the past 20 years, and he didn’t actually appear in the movie.

The daughter of the owner of a baseball team would be single. Really? Not many guys out there would bend over backwards for the tickets alone?

Best Lines

Joey: If I owned the Twins, I wouldn’t even show up here. I’d just hire a bunch of scientists to do my homework. I mean, if you’re rich you don’t have to be smart. That’s the whole beauty of this country.

O’Farrell: Hey ‘Blackout! I didn’t get you for your curve ball. I don’t like your curve. I hate your curve. You know why? Because the damn thing don’t curve!

Do you think in his whole life, Batman ever ate at McDonalds or KFC?

Final Thoughts

If you don’t believe me about this movie, you need to check it out again. It really is better than you remember, though still ridiculously corny. But trust me, it’s not the same movie as when you were nine.

Kids Baseball Movie Countdown from 1993 to 1994 – #3 Rookie of the Year

June 13, 2007

#3 Rookie of the Year

I already know what you are thinking: How in the heck is this great cinematic event #3 in this awesome countdown? I’ll tell you why, because you haven’t seen the movie in 10 years. With the wonderfulness of free HBO, I have had the pleasure of viewing this movie again and, while still good, definitely not the greatness you remember from your youth. Great flick though, obviously.

Starring:

Thomas Ian Nicholas – Does anyone recognize this guy? That’s right, love-lorn Kevin from American Pie. Even 11 years after being the most famous kid in the world, he was still able to nab Tara Reid (though not too difficult these days). Kinda did absolutely nothing between movies, though.

Gary Busey – Just hilarious, all around. Best role besides Black Sheep.

Daniel Stern – You may remember him as the non-Pesci burglar in Home Alone. You probably don’t remember him from Bushwacked.

John Candy – Radio Announcer. I rarely ever don’t laugh when he talks.

The following is listed verbatim from IMDB.com:

Barry Bonds Three Big Whiffers
Bobby Bonilla Three Big Whiffers
Pedro Guerrero Three Big Whiffers

As a Pirate fan, I can’t tell you how happy I am about this.

Plot Summary

Henry Rowengartner sucks at baseball, breaks his arm trying to impress a girl (who hasn’t?), arm heals tight and he can now throw 100 mph. In one of my favorite scenes from any baseball movie, he catches a homerun at a Cubs game and throws the ball from the outfield to home plate. Obviously, the Cubs suck so bad, they need him on the actual team. No need to worry about that whole age restriction thing. He gets Gary Busey as a role model (no joke needed) and the rest is history.

Of course, like all other main characters in kids sports movies, his mom is single and falls in love with his mentor. In the end, he loses his speed and the team wins the World Series without him. Hooray!

Shaky Premises:

No one goes to the Cubs’ games. Even when the Cubs suck, they still sell out. It’s like taking crazy pills.

Henry bats once… during the entire season.

The previous premise is truly baffling when it seems like he pitches ALL THE TIME.

Apprently there is one road trip during the season.

Kids can rebuild an engine.

Kids can use a motorboat with no license or supervision.

Best lines:

Doctor: Funky, buttloving…!

George: Did he say “funky buttloving?”
Martinella: I’m looking for Henry Rulenfurter.
Henry: Pitcher’s got a big butt! Pitcher’s got a big butt!
Final Thoughts:

The golden movie at the time, it has lost some of its luster. It’s definitely more of a kids movie than the top two. It pretty accurately describes every kids’ dream (at least at the time, when baseball was enjoyed by kids).
Worth another look, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s not the same movie as when you were nine.

Kids Baseball Movie Countdown from 1993 to 1994 – #4 Angels in the Outfield

June 8, 2007
With the long sports desert known as summer time upon us, we here at the North End Zone need to fill the space with something. We have devised a plan to make everyone long for “the good ol’ days”. Yes, we mean the Golden Age of kids baseball movies: 1993 – 1994. So this series of posts will countdown the top 4 kids baseball movies to come out during this time.
#4 Angels in the Outfield
Starring:

Danny Glover – Played George Knox, the manager. I’m sure Disney would love to associate with Danny now that he’s buddy-buddy with one Hugo Chavez.

Tony Danza – Played the pitcher in possibly his best movie role ever, aside from his part in The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon.

Christopher Lloyd – Played the part of Al, the boss angel. His hat said AL, which I think actually stood for “American League”. I don’t think his name is Al at all… liar.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Played Roger. Of course, we all know him from his 10 Things I Hate About You fame, when he hooked up with Alex Mack.

Also, Adrien Brody and Matthew McConaughey play small roles in the movie. I think this movie takes the cake over Two for the Money.

Plot summary:

Roger’s dad makes the statement that he will love his son when the Angels win the pennant. Roger takes this as fact. He then prays that the Angels do win so he can be with his dad and his sweet motorcycle.

Actual angels then come down, as they have no little kids to save in world anywhere, and help the baseball Angels play better. In the end, the actual angels abandon the baseball Angels, and the baseball Angels win the big game on their own while the entire crowd flaps like eagles or something.

(Yes, I too find it weird that I should capitalize Angels for the baseball team and not for actual angels.)

Shaky Premises:

Angels could actually help Tony Danza throw a baseball 100 mph.
People in California would actually show up to regular season baseball games.

Anyone would climb a tree to watch the ’94 Angels.

Best Lines:

Photographer: It looks like a prison photo.

JP: It could happen!
George Knox: You can’t go through life thinking everyone you need will one day let you down. If you do, a very bad thing will happen. You’ll end up just like me. (was he talking as George Knox or as Danny Glover?)

Final Thoughts:

Overall, great kids movie. I’m not sure how the Angels went from the arm flapping thing to a Rally Monkey, but whatever. They won the series.

I’ve always wondered if my dad could fake abandon me and say he’ll come back when the Pirates win the pennant. Although, I’m not sure if angels would believe me, and I’m not even sure if they could even help at all.