Lighthearted, nostalgic tween comedy; some language.
“The Sandlot” is a lighthearted baseball comedy that tweens will love. Set during the early 1960s, it follows a new kid in town who makes friends by joining a local pickup team. The main threat to the gang’s happiness is “the beast”: a giant, slavering dog on the other side of the sandlot fence (he might briefly scare younger viewers). Strong language includes “s---,” “a--hole” and lots of colorful insults, and there are some scuffles between the boys. Adults may raise an eyebrow at the way the movie treats Wendy, the much sought-after, slightly older lifeguard “babe.” The boys ogle her with typical preteen interest (and one tricks her into kissing him), but it’s the camera that unnecessarily lingers on her various body parts. Family relationships are also somewhat strained (particularly between one of the boys and his indifferent stepdad), but friendship plays a strong role and comes off in a very positive light. And overall, the movie has a sun-kissed, nostalgic tone that both kids and parents will appreciate. (101 minutes)
Stirring tale of heroic sportsmanship will inspire families.
“Hoosiers” focuses on a tiny farming town’s small high school basketball team that becomes an underdog state champion. They achieve this by learning to play as a team, as taught by a new coach (Gene Hackman) who has a past and obstacles of his own to overcome. There’s lots of emotional intensity here, of the “who will win?” variety. The movie also deals with alcoholism but features the redemption of two adult leads. There’s some swearing, including “s---” and “Jesus” (as an exclamation). Players get into confrontations during games, including a bench-clearing brawl at the sectional championship. One fight results in a bloody injury that requires stitches. Strong positive messages include not judging a book by its cover, giving people second chances and the importance of hard work, discipline and teamwork. (104 minutes)
A League of Their Own (PG)
Terrific story of women’s baseball has great messages.
“A League of Their Own” is a tenderhearted tale of camaraderie based on the real-life 1940s All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks, it has strong messages of teamwork, compassion and “girl power” and offers relatable female characters who throw fastballs right through the gender stereotypes of their day. Expect some innuendo and sex talk (Madonna’s character is referred to as “All the Way Mae”) and a bit of swearing (“s---,” “penis with a hat on”), as well as drinking (Hanks’s character is often drunk) and smoking. Men admire the girls in their skimpy uniforms. Some sexual references: “pickle tickle,” a comment about girls being better suited for sex than baseball, a reference to “the clap.” Shots of women in their underwear. A drunk coach urinates in front of the women (no nudity). Some sensual dancing. There’s also some wartime sadness/stress, but ultimately this is a great story for teens and up. (128 minutes)
Hoop Dreams (PG-13)
Stunning documentary addresses race and class issues.
“Hoop Dreams” is a three-hour-long documentary film that features a lot of intense discussion by two young men about their experiences with parental separation and divorce, familial drug use, extreme poverty, sport-related injury, urban blight and violence and teen pregnancy, all while they’re trying to earn college basketball scholarships. There’s some locker-room profanity and some strong language from basketball coaches, such as “bulls---,” and a scene where one of the characters is listening to music with particularly strong lyrics. (170 minutes)
Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsensemedia.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.