Daniel Bigler, a pre-school teacher/Children’s Studies major in Spokane, Washington — and the blogger behind Danielsaurus.com — has taken it upon himself to find us some inspiring movies. “The premise,” he says, “is simple. Each week we go out in search of a fresh movie either for or about kids that keeps in line with the philosophy of letting our kids have ‘Free-Range’ childhoods. Movies with strong child characters breaking the rules, venturing out on their own, and living life to its fullest.”
Feel free to add your own recommendations, caveats, and anything else, below, as we proudly raise the curtain on:
FREE-RANGE KID MOVIE RECOMMENDATION #1:
By Daniel Bigler
First up: that quintessential summer flick, “The Sandlot.” It’s taken up its spot on the mantle as one of the greatest baseball movies of all time, but going back to rewatch it, I was surprised at how much it wasn’t about baseball, but about childhood friendships and legends.
Set in the 1950s, 10 year old Scotty Smalls has just moved into town, and he soon discovers a hidden secret of his suburban neighborhood. It’s the sandlot, an abandoned dirt plot where a small band of neighborhood kids play pickup baseball. The lot is their domain – no adults in sight. Smalls soon learns the hang of this foreign (to him) game and together, he and the Sandlot Kids have the greatest summer of their lives.
I guess you could say I grew up with this film. It came out when I was about eight, and I distinctly remember the little dollar theater where I watched it the first time. “The Sandlot” is packed full with baseball and swearing, giant beasts, fireworks, fanciful stories of burglars, and moving stories of neighborhood legends. To my little eight-year-old brain, it was like the Holy Grail of Kid Empowerment. It was the kind of childhood I wanted. Even as an eight-year-old, I knew that.
There’s still a few weeks left in the summer, fortunately, for kids today to get that kind of childhood – to discover their own “sandlot.” Why not inspire them by picking up and watching this flick over the weekend?
“The Sandlot” came out in 1993 and was written by Robert Gunter & David Mickey Evans – and also directed by Evans. It features the always awesome James Earl Jones, plus a bunch of cool kids who probably had a whole ton of fun making the movie.