Every once in a while, a movie comes around and catches you off guard for its surprisingly spectacular use of music. Does it surprise you that The Sandlot is on that list? The 90s favorite is loved for many things, but I’d surmise that its soundtrack ranks low on that list for most people. It’s not that people don’t think it’s great (the 1960s music definitely sets the stage for a nostalgia explosion), but it’s just overlooked in favor of the movie’s other great elements.
This Fourth of July, I urge you to re-watch this classic, especially the scene in which the gang celebrates the holiday in the most American way possible: Playing baseball in a neighborhood lot, wearing jean shorts, scarfing down hot dogs on their way to the game, watching fireworks in awe…all set to perhaps the best rendition of the “America the Beautiful” the world has ever heard. Yes, I mean the Ray Charles version.
Ray Charles’ version is wonderful in and of itself, but it’s absolutely magical in this movie. How is it that the music producer was able to slip this 1972 song into a kid’s movie set in the 60s? Most kids don’t know who Ray Charles is. It’s anachronistic. But guess what? It doesn’t matter. It’s perfect, just like the holiday it celebrates.
I hope all your Independence day celebrations are safe, as American as they possibly can be, and set to the sweet sounds of Brother Ray.