I vigilantly maintain that The Sandlot, despite it’s obvious brilliance, has in some respect “sampled” the magic of Tanner Boyle and his band of miscreant little leaguers. Minor differences seperate the NC-17 Boyle and the PG-7 1/4 Benny… who has dark hair, more pop in his bat, a better arm, likes his ketchup on the bun, and the fact that Tommy Lasorda put a lasagna death grip on Benny, thus denying Mr. Rodriguez the opportunity of taking on the entire seventh grade Cincinnatti Reds.
Benny, Smalls and crew were clearly molded in the image of Tanner, Timmy Lupus and da Bad News Bears. The “oiling and lotioning” of luscious lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn, a slight contrast to Tanny and Kelly tagging wool at Amanda’s dance studio. One could also plainly argue that Benny The Jet was more alike a morph of Tanner and Kelly Leak… while Benny is of course (in the Sandlot’s sweet and petite era of “Little Giants”) spared the absentee father and too cool for school pain suffered by the angst ridden Kelly. Benny cursing whilst spitting rooster-tails from the back of his Kawasaki… nah. The mildly whitewashed Sandlot (can you even imagine Benny being coached by a dugout drunk?) proving that despite a 17 year age difference, adolescent boys circa 1976-1993 all share a love of baseball, debauchery, and the bell-bottoms rocked by smoking hot hitchiker Vicki Kilstrom (Breaking Training road trip).
Yep, Tanner and Benny might as well be Siamese twins, their skins made of Holstein cowhide, Costa Rican cotton and wool flowing through their veins, sharing a single “baseball is life and life is baseball” heart. Tanner defiantly standing alone at the Astrodome, Benny stealing home in front of the 714 Dodger fans left after the seventh inning. An informal Survey proves it, and 4 out of 5 dentists agree, Benny is the whitewashed version of foul-mouthed Tanner Boyle.
Benny Rodriguez: “… anyone who wants to be a can’t-hack-it pantywaist who wears their mama’s bra, raise your hand.”
Best Sports Movie Makeout Scene Ever (eat that Crash davis!)…
- Squints and the Luscious Lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn
This video from The Sandlot is simply classic. The “pretend drowning” Squints jumps into the pools deep end to lure the lusty lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn. The lifeguard hops in, pulls Squints out, and performs CPR to save him. The suspense amplifies with comments such as “he looks pretty crappy” and “he looks like a dead fish” echoing from conspiratorious onlookers Smalls and Ham. The jig is up when Squints miraculously recovers with a devilish grin and the greatest story ever told by the Sandlot crew. Squints grabs Peffercorn’s head and kisses her, as the music of “This Magic Moment” impeccably drops in on the Best Sports Movie Makeout Scene ever.
Classic Squints & Lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn Video Narration:
“Michael Squints Palledorous walked a little taller that day. And we had to tip our hats to him. He was lucky she hadn’t beat the CRAP out of him. We wouldn’t have blamed her. What he’d done was sneaky, rotten, and low… and cool. Not another one among us would have ever in a million years even for a million dollars have the guts to put the moves on the lifeguard. He did. He had kissed a woman. And he had kissed her long and good. We got banned from the pool forever that day. But every time we walked by after that, the lifeguard looked down from her tower, right over at Squints, and smiled.”
*** I’ll maintain that if you are a red blooded American male born anywhere near the late sixties to mid seventies, you should be able to recall a similar “incident” with your pals. At the very least, reading the lines above should remind you of a more innocent and free youth, filled with the teenaged angst troubles and tribulations that these two movies captured so brilliantly.
Epic Smartass moment for Scotty Smalls…
the “now you tell” me look he gives his mom when she gives him a very belated dissertation on Babe Ruth.
Bad News Bears and The Sandlot Compared…
These mini-reviews from AlmostAthletes.com nails these two epic baseball adventures/coming of ages flicks…
The Sandlot (1993): A movie that never gets old, The Sandlot twists youngsters getting into trouble with America’s favorite pastime, baseball. Hamilton Porter, Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, and our man Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous – who pulls a brilliant and masterful move to finally make-out with the temptress Wendy Peppercorn – come together to create a funny yet phenomenal plot. How often do you lose a baseball signed by Babe Ruth, battle a dog that appears to be the size of a stegosaurus, and then end up befriending James Earl Jones, only to get a better ball than the one you lost?
The Bad News Bears (1976): The original one, of course. What could possibly be better than an alcoholic, politically incorrect Walter Matthau reluctantly coaching a bunch of snotty kids on the art of baseball? There’s also actress Tatum O’Neal as a little girl (before all the drug problems), characters such as the foul-mouthed Tanner Boyle, troubled thug Kelly Leak and fat Engelberg. There’s even Vic Morrow as the rival coach (before he got a helicopter dropped on him), a great ending… and beer.
Seperated at Birth…
‘Squints’ Palledorous and “Heeeere’s Johnny” Jack Torrance
Life Lessons From The Sandlot & Bad News Bears
…alternate title: “Your devotion to the rat race is killing the innocence and wonder of your childs youth”
That carefree era of our youth is now dead. Replaced with cell phones, Wii and Glee, baby thongs (wtf?), and overprotective parenting. If the regret you have with your “modern day” child are those mostly innocent follies he didn’t commit when he had the opportunity, then I humbly suggest maybe you haven’t put him in a place with enough opportunity.
The freedom of the late seventies allowed for it, even in metropolitan Los Angeles. Tanner Boyle was expected to be “out playin’”until dark, not standing inert in line at The Gamestop waiting for Madden 2011 and eating a churro. In the nineties, realities of suburban life forced The Sandlot to a small town in Utah.
Were Smalls and Benny to climb modern day Los Angeles fences in search of lost baseballs, even the strongest movigoer amongst us (those with masterful “suspension of disbelief” abilities, thus capable of temporarily “believing” Rambo dodged the 9,387 artillery rounds exploding around him) would conjure up an image of Benny getting hosed down by a Gat from a fearful homeowner aware of the current ”terror alert level.” Benny: “Man down, fucking aye oh my goodness gracious, it’s Smalls, he’s been hit…”
If you really want a “Stand By Me” life for your modern day Tanner or Benny, you best up and move to small town USA, where innocent yet defining events take place daily. Sometimes its in the form of catching frogs at the pond, and yes sometimes it’s even by sneaking into the community pool with a Baby Ruth bar.
However or wherever you choose to rear your child, take note of this sad reality from Mike Vitar who was “Benny The Jet” and is now a Los Angeles Firefighter in an era where children spend on average 53 hours a week consuming electronic media. Even if his young sons watch the movie and are inspired to get outside and play baseball with neighborhood kids, Vitar will put his foot down. “You can’t let your kids run free anymore,” he says in this great Salt Lake Tribune article entitled ”What happened to Utah’s beloved Sandlot?” by Bill Oram.
Vitar came of age in time to see freedom slip away from kids. He and his friends played baseball on the few remaining lots in West Hollywood, where they swung at a tennis ball — as a courtesy to neighbors’ windows. “There is something to be said about a group of kids being able to get together and being able to hang around all day without any kind of structure,” Vitar says. “Getting into a little bit of trouble.”
Vitar is now a parent, and says getting into trouble is no longer a harmless pursuit. “Innocent fun, you could call it,” Vitar says. “It just isn’t that anymore.”
Indeed the world has forever changed since Englebert and Hamilton “Ham” Porter roamed ballfields eating Hershey bars (editors note: in the seventies and even somewhat into the Sandlot era nineties, ”the fat kid” was both a token and the anomaly). Fret not though young parent, there are still plenty of grass stains to be earned, and indelible memories to be made, in little communitites across America. Drop the Nintendo from the U-haul on your way into smalltown… and just maybe your little Squints Palledorous will have a chance to marry Wendy Peffercorn, buy Vincents drugstore, and have 9 kids after all.
More random 80′s and 90′s Flicks: notes of Interest and selected videos
>>>>— Bad News Bears video … This video features Tanner Boyle Standing Defiantly at The Astrodome In Breaking Training, and the goosebump inducing “Let them play” chant while Tanner chucks second base at the Astrodome goons…
>>>>— Bad News Bears from Breaking Training facts … including a Google map of the actual North Valley LL ballfield (located in Chatsworth, CA) and a depressing Bad News Bears “where are they now” video. Don’t blame me if your sentimental side takes a hit when you learn that Kelly Leak sold more copiers than Tanner last month…
>>>>— Fast Times with Phoebe Cates – “The Pool Scene” … if you were a kid in this era and a BNB fan, you no doubt will also remember exactly where you were, and exactly when, you first witnessed Phoebe Cates exit the pool in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The red bikini that scorched the earth…