This Sunday, April 7, marks the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Sandlot. This is a little insane, in the way that the passage of time sneaking up on you and punching you in the nose is always a little insane. I mean, it makes sense (2013 – 1993 = 20), and it feels a little silly to sit here in awe of the fact that something that came out twenty years ago is in fact twenty years old, because, well, that’s how time works. But it’s still melting my brain a little bit right now.
I think the real reason it’s throwing me for a loop is less of the “UHMAGOD YOU GUYS WE ARE SO OLD REMEMBER SLAP BRACELETS?????” thing than it is the fact that the movie still holds up incredibly well today. Some of the movies that came out in the early-90s were very, very 90s, and the other kids’ baseball movies of the era — including The Sandlot, there were a total of four released in a 15 month span — hinged on some sort of gimmick. Rookie of the Year was about a 12-year-old who crunched his shoulder all goofy-like and became awesome at throwing fastballs, Angels in the Outfield was about angels literally helping the Tony Danza-led California Angels win baseball games, and Little Big League was about a 12-year-old who inherits the Minnesota Twins and installs himself as manager (which, for the record, is exactly the type of thing some snotty, rich 12-year-old would try to do in real life). But The Sandlot — thanks in part to being set in 1962, and thus avoiding the time capsule-like horror show of awful 90s fashion — manages to avoid these traps. At its core, it’s really just a movie about being a kid in the summer.