Inspirational Movies

My son is in is second year playing little league.

If you’ve ever seen five-year-olds on a baseball field, then you know that I use the word “playing” very loosely. There’s less crying this year, but there’s also less paying attention. Most of Detective Munch’s time in the field is spent sitting on the grass or playing with sticks and dirt.

Despite the fact that he enjoys being up to bat, he’s already expressed his reluctance to attend some of his games. So over the weekend, in an effort to get him motivated to play, I decided to pull out some inspirational movies.

When I was a kid, my parents wanted me to take karate classes. Especially after I saw The Karate Kid, which quickly became a favorite movie.Bull_Durham_movie_poster

Unfortunately, despite Daniel LaRusso’s progression from whiny weakling to whiny karate master (the dude’s whining puts Luke Skywalker’s to SHAME!), and despite his triumphant (spoiler alert!) victory over the might-as-well-be goose-stepping Cobra Kai bullies, I didn’t leave the theater excited to learn martial arts. Instead, I left it terrified that my sensei would make me do bare-knuckle push-ups, like the sadistic Sensei John Kreese.

Movies are powerful. I remember being inspired to do a ton of ridiculous things by the movies I watched as a kid, from spending the afternoon practicing jumps on my dirt bike after watching RAD, to helping my older brother turn his bedroom into a gym so we could train to defeat Clubber Lang, and even calling a 1-900 number to speak to the main character from Howard the Duck even though I’ve still never even seen it!

To this day, movies inspire me to do stuff. Just ask Mom and Buried about the time I tried to build a time machine in a storage locker!

It was with those memories in mind that I decided to queue up some inspirational movies for my son, in an effort to get him to take more of an interest in baseball. Saturday night, after his latest game, during which he complained he was tired less than an hour after waking up and complained that he was hungry while practically in the middle of eating a snack, I found The Sandlot on Netflix.

The Sandlot is not a huge landmark for me the way it is for many; I suspect I was already too old when it came out. Every time I hear someone say, “You’re killing me, Smalls!” I think of Sams getting scolded by his no-nonsense principal in Lean on Me. (Which, to be fair, features a scene where Morgan Freeman holds a baseball bat and exhorts his enemies to call him Batman, so the mistake is understandable?)

But it’s a fun movie, and it’s about kids – kids who are older than my five-year-old, obviously, but live-action movies that are suitable for five-year-olds are few and far between these days – and it’s about baseball. I wanted baseball to seem fun for my son. I would have preferred to show him my favorite baseball movies, but Bull Durham has too much sex, Major League has too much swearing, The Natural is too slow for a little kid, and Field of Dreams is about someone’s dead father, so we went with The Sandlot.

He enjoyed it, though I’m not sure how much difference it will make for his next game this Saturday. I guess we’ll find out. If it doesn’t pay off, I’ve got School of Rock queued up to help him get psyched for his music lessons. If that doesn’t pay off, well, The Babadook should inspire him to start behaving…

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As part of the Netflix Stream Team, I was compensated with a year’s subscription to Netflix for a year and a Roku TV. But my opinions are 100% my own.Except for the ones Mom and Buried provides for me.


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