I’ve got a lot of arbitrary rules for building the movie wall, mostly to keep my budget (marginally) in check. One thing I’ve been trying to do is replace anything I own on VHS with a DVD, but those have been slow going because of my rule that if I had the movie in my hands this second, would I wanna watch it? There’s few on that list that fit the criteria, even some that I really wouldn’t want anyways, but for completion I should get them someday. Angels had only been five bucks, but was sold out for a bit. When I saw it in stock, it immediately passed the rule for me. Yes, I would watch it immediately if it showed up on my doorstep.
I can’t remember the last time I’d seen it. 15+ years? It was never my top kids sports movie (that’s Mighty Ducks 2) but it was certainly in my rotation when my age was in single digits. Happy to report that it still holds up as a kids’ classic.
So the recap, you’ve got an itty bitty pre-3rd Rock Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is in the foster care system. Mom’s dead. Dad’s deadbeat. All he wants is for Dad to come take him to their forever home. Dad sarcastically says that’ll happen with the kid’s favorite baseball team, the currently in last place Angels, win the pennant. Kid of course doesn’t understand the sarcasm and thinks he truly means it, and prays for his team to win the season. His prayer is answered by Christopher Lloyd and his fellow angels who give the struggling players a little supernatural help. Meanwhile the kid and his little buddy also in the foster care system, befriend the cranky team coach played by Danny Glover, helping him manage his team based on when they see angels in the outfield. Or the infield, dugout or wherever they may be.
There’s some amazing people in this cast. When it was filmed, Brenda Fricker and Ben Johnson had already won Oscars, but so many cast members went on to bigger and better. JGL was only starting his career. Among the players, you had future Oscar winners Adrien Brody and Matthew Mcconaughey. I had a vague memory of Brody being in this, but no clue about Matthew. He’s the player that does the wings motion while standing in the outfield, getting swept up in the spirit of the whole crowd. I put that clip on my Insta stories, and I feel a lil something stirring inside me every time I played it.
Cause yeah, this movie still brings the feels. Movies about foster kids have been holding a special place in my heart the past few years (mostly since I’ve made the decision that when the time comes, that’s the way I wanna be a parent). While the kids mostly think about the silly comedy with the angels making the players do funny things, and while we all love an underdog sports story, the true purpose of this film is about the kids finding their family. It’s also about believing in yourself. Srsly, so many emotional moments. Danny Glover hanging out with the kids after a bad day or playing ball with all the neighborhood kids in the park. Everyone in the stands making angel wings to motivate Tony Danza. Really the whole last ten minutes.
There were a couple sequels made, but none of them can touch this one. I think I saw the football one, but I don’t remember it at all. I’d bet you anything they missed the entire point of what made this one great and just focused on the sport. This movie deserves to win the pennant and so much more