10) The Sandlot: Heading Home (2007, William Dear) About halfway through quarantine, we got baseball back as a nation and my son instantly took to watching it and wanting everything to do with it. It was my first watching of both The Sandlot sequels and I was pleasantly surprised by the third movie. I want to revisit it again because I’m worried part of my affection for it may be coming from watching The Sandlot 2 right before it, and that movie is not good. While I can recognize that The Sandlot: Heading Home is not a great movie, I can respect that it’s trying to do something different than the previous two movies while still trying to keep the heart of the original. It stars Luke Perry, who goes through a baseball version of A Christmas Carol after getting hit by a pitch, he has a chance to go back in time and right some of the wrongs he made in life. It stars a few members of the original The Sandlot cast that are awkwardly squeezed into the movie, but as far as sports themed kids’ movies go, I enjoyed it.
8) Safety (2020, Reginald Hudlin) This is the newest movie on this list, released only on Disney Plus a few weeks ago. Safety is based on the true story of Ray McElrathbey, a Clemson football player who needs to adopt his younger brother. My son is very much into football now, and for a movie about football, it’s not really about football at all. Where my appreciation for Safety comes from is that it opened the door for my son and I to have a conversation about social justice and poverty. Being a middle class child, my son couldn’t understand how people didn’t have enough to eat, or why some people didn’t have dads. Safety isn’t a great movie, but where it succeeds is telling a very real story about what sports means to different people, and opening the opening the door to larger conversations to a younger audience.
6) Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019, Rob Letterman) I wrote earlier this year in Growing Up Nerdy how my life has been consumed by my children’s love of all things Pokemon. Over the past year, I’ve managed to watched so many of the Pokemon movies and just about every episode of the show. Once I get through all of them, I’ll try ranking my favorites, but for now I appreciated Pokemon’s first attempt at live action. They do a nice job with the movie and effects and, after watching hundreds of cartoon versions of the creatures, it was fun to see artistically what they would look like in “real life.” Yes, it’s far from perfect, and will always have a special place in my heart for being the first movie I needed to Google an explanation of the completely nonsensical ending, but enough of it is good that I enjoyed it.
5) Harry and the Hendersons (1987, William Dear) For some odd reason, my kids became fascinated with Bigfoot and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to introduce them to a movie I loved as a kid. There is so much to like in Harry and the Hendersons; its funny and sweet and John Lithgow is awesome in it, but most of all it’s a movie that tells a story that went completely against the stereotype created by all the stories before it. My kids loved it and I was so happy to be watching it again years later.
3) Twister (1996, Jan de Bont) I’m not going to talk too much about Twister since I wrote an entire column about it earlier in the year, but this movie is great. It’s an action movie wrapped in a horror movie, and is exactly what I love about big summer blockbusters.
2) The Sandlot (1993, David Mickey Evans) I hadn’t watched The Sandlot in years and was worried about the Goonies Derivation happening, where I wouldn’t be able to see its flaws. Having my son watch it, then watch it hundreds of times over and over and proceed to quote it with the kids at baseball practice, made me realize this is a movie that is going to be beloved for a long time. It’s a great movie, and one of the greatest sports movies ever, I’m just dreading the day when my son realizes Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez wasn’t a real baseball player.