Nostalgia in “The Sandlot”

 

David M. Evans’s film, The Sandlot, chronicles the childhood and life of  protagonist Scotty Smalls and his group of young friends, playing baseball in the 1960’s. It begins with his future-self narrating the beauty of baseball and how it had impacted his life. The film details his move to a new neighborhood and forming a brother like bond with the children in the area, over baseball. This film’s entirety reflects the theme of nostalgia, as baseball is a national pastime and the story regards his childhood.

In this ten minute clip,  which is the beginning of the film, we follow the into a baseball stadium, which is where the protagonist works as an announcer. We see the weight of the nostalgia felt by our main character as he walks us through the baseball stadium, and by the old black and white photographs on his wall, through his life. His narration is reminiscent of the days in which he himself played the game.

The camera span of the black and white photos of legendary players on the wall are nostalgic of an older time. The photos and his narration of the game that has always been central to his identity, truly set  the tone for his reminiscence of a simpler time. He then draws further on this theme in his connection to his days of playing, and the blur transition into the flashback that follows. Evans utilizes fifties music and wardrobe styles (such as converse shoes ) that were common to that time period, to set the past setting.

Additionally, the stepdad and son’s love for the  autographed baseball by Babe Ruth, ands to the nostalgic sentiment as the father maticously cleans and cares for the ball, reminiscing over when and how he received it.  This is shown in the close camera angles used on the father as he is cleaning the ball, and also the lingering shot on the signature Babe Ruth on the ball.  In all, the childrens’ role, their naïve sense, and the simple pleasure they get from playing the game, all project a strong appreciation for the ease and comfort of the daily life that once existed in society.

In Robert Sklar’s literary work, “Movie Made America”, he discusses the rise in television and its effect on the film industry. He writes,  “Television had taken over the cultural role of providing the continuing fictional narratives that sweetened and diverted daily life that theatrical motion pictures had once performed. Yeyy movies maintained a preeminence in the entertainment culture out of proportion, from a statistical perspective, to their diminished significance. Movies-at least a handful each a year-became special events. Evans’ film touches on the nostalgia for movie theaters  of that period, in the scene where Scotty runs through the theater. As he runs through, the dog rips through the thin film screen towards a large audience of people. In this scene, Evans reflects on a time where the movies were an activity that everyone went to, parents and children, in their daily life.

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