WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Set in the summer of 1962, Scotty Smalls, a socially inept kid (Guiry) moves into a small town and is befriended by Benny, the best ballplayer in town (Vitar). Benny teaches Scotty how to play ball and when he finally hits his first dinger, the celebrations are short-lived as the ball goes in to the yard of the biggest, meanest dog in town. One detail: The ball belongs to his step dad (Leary) and happens to be autographed by Babe Ruth himself. Hijinks follow as the kids try to retrieve the prized souvenir.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As light-hearted, cute comedies go, this one is a definite round-tripper. A great ensemble of kids is at the centre of all the action and the nostalgia of childhood summers will make anyone reminisce of times spent on the diamonds, flubbing fly balls and hopping fences to retrieve lost toys. The kids play this on to a tee and everyone, including Denis Leary and James Earl Jones take a bag seat to the enthusiastic youngsters. Itís a feat to present a movie with nine kids and to be able to give each of them a significant enough turn to make it really feel like they were all part of the same great story. No kid stands out and none is forgotten.
With an easy to follow plot and some themes that any kid will remember, this film is the epitome of family fun, with something to please everyone and nothing to displease anyone. Kids will enjoy the funny comedy bits and the older folks will enjoy the memories. If it can be compared to anything at all, it made me think of The Wonder Years.
I remember watching this film several times when it originally came out on video and since then, itís developed a mild following with the baseball film crowd. For that reason, it was pretty disappointing to see that the only extra available was a 5-minute featurette on the production of the film. A few snippets of interview with some kids and the director and thatís pretty much it. It would have been nice to see a bit more effort put into it, or at least, not to name you featurette ďfeaturetteĒ.
Very fun movie, which unfortunately does not get the respect of the studio to release it in a decent DVD package. With pretty much nothing other than the movie, it canít be made in to more than a rental on a rainy day. Nonetheless, if you have kids or if you like the baseball thing, it should definitely follow you out of the video store next time you stop by.