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Stealing Home

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Will Aldis

An irresponsible ex-ballplayer returns to his hometown following the suicide of his boyhood babysitter. She has willed him the task of disposing of her ashes. As he struggles with this responsibility, he flashes back to important moments in his childhood. … see full wiki

Tags: Movies, Dramas
Director: Will Aldis
Release Date: 1988
MPAA Rating: PG
1 review about Stealing Home

Stealing Home - 1988

  • May 6, 2011
Rating:
+3
I'm afraid the release of Stealing Home stole very few hearts even though it wasn't that bad of a movie. Written and directed by Steven Kampmann & William Porter, it is said to reflect their own experiences growing up. It was nominated for no awards and is rated for mature audiences. I would assume that was because of the sexual inference throughout the movie, albeit rather tame.

The story:
We start at the end of the movie and through flashbacks and narration we learn the story of ballplayer Billy Wyatt. We formally meet Billy as he lounges around his rather dreary hotel room, living with an exotic dancer, his life on the skids. He receives a telephone call from his mother telling him his childhood friend, Katie, has comitted suicide and assigned him the duty of disposing of her ashes.

On the bus ride back to his hometown we learn the background of Billy & Katie, who was six years his senior. Our first introduction to them is the weekend their respective parents decide to get away and leave Katie to babysit Billy. Katie was a bit of a wild child, never walking to the drum of the rest of the staid family, and shows Billy experiences he would have never realized before.

We flash back, or rather forward from this time, to Billy and his friend Appleby playing baseball for Chestnut Hill Academy. Billy loves baseball, is an outstanding player, but he is under the gun to get the game over quickly so they can catch the train back home. Billy has been given the task of approaching a mutual friend, Robin, to convince her to accept a prom date from Appleby. Billy manages to end the game when he decides to steal home, a feat you seldom see.

As they rush from the ballpark to catch their train Billy is stopped by a scout for the Phillies, Bud Scott, who offers him a summer at their training camp. Once home he delivers the news to his father. If anyone loves baseball more than Billy, it is his father. They are overjoyed and he promises to call Bud Scott as soon as he returns from his business trip.

Later that evening Billy approaches Robin with his offer for Appleby but she turns the tables on him when she offers up herself to Billy in a hilarious love scene involving her mother. I will give him props, though, he did convey the message from Appleby. The deflowering of Robin becomes a point of discussion throughout the movie between Appleby and Billy.

However, Billy's father never returns from his business trip and Billy turns his back on baseball until Katie takes him and his family to their summer retreat, Seasmoke [the scene of her eventual suicide] to help them over their grief. Even though she isn't much older than Billy, certainly younger than his mother, she offers great comfort to the family. Overall she is a nurturer. She is the one that convinces Billy to pursue his baseball career and he does make that call to Bud Scott.

This trip to Seasmoke is also a turning point in their relationship since they do seal it with more than a kiss and poor Appleby, always the nerdy guy lurking on the perimeter, has his own encounter, circa Summer of '42, with an older woman.

Years pass, Billy never sees Katie again. His life hasn't taken the course he expected; hers served her two failed marriages. Now he is charged with giving her the rest she was certain he would know she wanted.

The actors:
Mark Harmon played the adult Billy Wyatt. He is grizzled in appearance, unkempt. However he hasn't lost his boyish charm that carried him through his younger days, in fact he resorts to boyish pranks several times. His mood was reflective when it was needed, childish when needed. His 10 year old character was played by Thatcher Goodwin, who actually was a student at Chestnut Hill Academy at the time of filming. William McNamara played he teenage Lothario persona.

For the role of Alan Appleby, Jon Silverman played the teen part while the adult version went to Harold Ramis. Jodie Foster was Katie Chandler, so achingly beautiful it hurt. Equally so, Helen Hunt played the adult part of Billy's younger sister, gorgeous. Smaller roles went to Richard Jenkins as Katie's father; John Shea as Billy's father; and Blair Brown as Billy's mother.

DVD extras:
none

Overall impression:
I wasn't offended by the movie, although most found it fairly lame and cliched. I had no trouble with the various time changes in the film since each was represented by a different version of the character, with the exception of Katie, who was always played by Foster.

The reason for Katie's suicide is never disclosed but this wasn't really about her death but rather her life and how it reflected on Billy's. We really didn't want to know why she did it, we just accepted it as a natural course of her life. Billy we understood completely. He never fully recovered from the loss of his father at such a young age and never really got back into baseball as he was when his father was alive.

Some great old soundtracks from an earlier time was interspersed throughout. Even for the age of the film it transferred well to DVD and I found the watching enjoyable, even humorous at times. Then again, I'm not your average bear.

thanks,
Susi

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