Kid-centric sports movies were a common sight in the ’80s and ’90s. But today? They’re as rare as a game-winning grand slam. That could soon change, as David Mickey Evans, the original screenwriter of The Sandlot (aka the greatest baseball movie of all time) is fielding a bi-screen team again. Evans announced on Twitter he’s working on a new little league film, Junior Americans, based on a true story of an American Little League team coached by kids the same age as the players.
The Sandlot is still the greatest kids sports movie of all time. Th story of Scotty smalls and his sandlot team is the perfect blend of sun-drenched nostalgia, endlessly quotable lines (“You mix your Wheaties with your mama’s toe jam!”), and memorable, fully-developed characters. Who doesn’t want to watch them outrun and outsmart the meanest dog in town, crush hard on lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn and fawn over the lore of Babe Ruth? The recipe is foolproof.
And it sounds like Evans will use the same ingredients again. In a blog post that his upcoming film Junior Americans will be a “story about the power of friendship and the stresses, worries, difficulties and hard decisions that taking your first steps into the grown-up world put on that friendship.” It sounds very similar to a lot of kids’ sports movies, especially The Sandlot. But we see no problem in that.
Evans says he hopes the new film brings a much-needed bump in Little League enrollment, which has been on a sharp decline. In 2013, 5.3 million children were playing youth baseball, which is nearly a 50 percent drop the 8.8 million enrolled in 2000. This isn’t just baseball. Registration is down across all youth sports, including basketball and soccer. Video games are normally the first to blame, but Evans told CBS the finger-pointing belongs to movie studios and the industry’s ever-changing market. “The decline in video revenue and the increasing necessity of the international markets have pretty much killed the possibility for a movie set in the baseball world,” he said. Basically, he thinks movie studies are being L7 weenies.