Directed by Daniel Stern
Written by Sam Harper
Starring: Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Amy Morton, Bruce Altman
Henry Rowengartner (Nicholas) is an average kid, and a below-average baseball player until he breaks his arm in a freak accident. Now Henry has an arm capable of matching the power pitching of the big leagues. It doesn’t take long for his new skills to gain notice, and despite his mother’s (Morton) concerns, he’s quickly signed by the Chicago Cubs. Now Henry is a rising star in the majors, playing alongside Chet Steadman (Busey) his baseball hero. As he learns how to be a ballplayer, Henry also begins to struggle with the demands of success. These struggles are all part of being the hottest rookie in baseball, especially when you’re 12 years old.
This is one of those movies a lot of us grew up with. The story, written by Sam Harper (Rio), is one of those childhood fantasies coming to life. Another bonus is that Daniel Stern (Home Alone), one of my favorite actors, directed this one. Like most of these family films from the nineties, this one has a cast that includes a number of big names and forgotten faces. This one stars Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie), Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story), Amy Morton (Up in the Air), and Bruce Altman (Glengarry Glen Ross).
The story is a pure childhood fantasy that worked for me as a kid, and I’m sure it worked for many others. Sam Harper took the wonder and inspiration behind baseball and put in a story about a 12 year-old boy. The baseball scenes are as ridiculous as the premise of the movie itself, but somehow this only makes the movie more fun. Like Little Big League, this is one that was geared to the right audience and accessible for the whole family.
The acting in this one is pretty good, although it’s intentionally over the top. Everyone in the cast does a nice job making their role fun, and not taking things too seriously. The major success comes from the fact that the actors were having fun. There is something endearing about the relationships in the movie that feel so genuine. Like a lot of good family films there’s even a nice message in the end.
This is a movie that’s worth dusting off to show the kids. Like a lot of movies in the early nineties, people my age might be the only ones who know about it. So, take some time and check it out. It’s a fun baseball film that the whole family can enjoy. I recommend this to fans of the actors or fans of baseball. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.