Laughing Through Life: September 26, 2012

by Andrew Henderson

I am not big into the going-to-the-movies scene.

Let me see…the last movie I saw in the theaters was the second “Sherlock Holmes” flick, which came out almost two years ago.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I plopped down 40 bucks for tickets, popcorn, and soda — and that is a good thing, I guess, as far as my wallet goes.

But that might change very soon.

I just watched the trailer to “42,” a new movie about the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American in the show.

Okay, I acknowledge that I’m a sucker for baseball movies — even the crappy ones like “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Stretch,” “The Sandlot 2,” and “The Sandlot 3.”

“42” looks like an awesome flick. How could it not? Harrison Ford is playing the brilliant Branch Rickey!

Yep, as I said, I can’t wait for this one to come out. I might have to ask for movie gift cards for Christmas!

Anyway, the “42” trailer — as well as the “Trouble With a Curve” movie now playing in theaters — ignited a spark in my brain. I started thinking about baseball movies and their impact on society.

In my humble opinion, a couple of baseball movies transcend the sport. Everyone loves “The Sandlot.” If you don’t like “The Sandlot” then you might want to move to Canada.

“The Sandlot” is probably the most quoted baseball movie. For example, both baseball fans and non-baseball fans probably know this exchange from the movie:

Ham Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s’more?

Smalls: Some more of what?

Ham Porter: No, do you wanna s’more?

Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?

Ham Porter: You’re killing me Smalls!

I have created a list, in no particular order, of my top favorite baseball movies of all time. For the first time in time and space, I will present them here with a bit of commentary on each of them. Here we go…

• “The Bad News Bears” — I am referring to the original one here, not the most recent one with Billie Bob Thornton. The original was made in 1976, the year that I was born. That makes it a great movie in itself.

“The Bad News Bears” is about a team of Little League misfits coached by the aging Morris Buttermaker, an ex-minor league player. The reason why this movie rocks? Ogilvie, Tanner, and Engelberg. There are three of the greatest characters ever in the a baseball movie. Ever.

• “The Sandlot” — I’ve already noted how this movie transcends the sport. See four paragraphs up. Everyone, both old and young, man and female, has probably watched this flick, which came out in 1993.

This is a movie based on Scotty Smalls and his invitation to play on the local sandlot team with Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, Hamilton ‘Ham’ Porter, Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous, Alan ‘Yeah-Yeah’ McClennan, and the others.  Oh, yeah, don’t forget “The Beast.”

This movie might forever be the top three of all-time. For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver! For-ev-ver!

• “The Pride of the Yankees” — This movie is about the life of Lou Gehrig, one of the greatest New York Yankees ever. Gary Cooper plays Gehrig, also known as “Twinkle Toes.”

One of the most touching moments of the movie is when the doctor informs Gehrig that he has to quit baseball and might not live that long because of ALS, a nerve disease that now bears his name.

Gehrig then informs his doctor not to tell his wife. His wife eventually finds out through a friend/newspaper man. I cry like a baby every time I watch this scene. Pass the tissues, please!

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