Making the Grades
Based on the 1951 movie of the same name, Disney's Angels in the Outfield is a story about two young boys, Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and JP (Milton Davis Jr.), and their efforts to find a way out of their group home.
Roger has a father (Dermot Mulroney), but he's unemployed, uninterested, and unfeeling. Unable to cope since the death of the boy's mother (and likely long before then), the man abandons his parental responsibilities. Just before he rides off into the sunset on his motorbike, he sarcastically answers his son's questions about a future reunion by saying, "When the Angels win the pennant."
Obviously figuring pigs will fly first, the delinquent dad doesn't account for the faith of a child.
Taking his flippant remark literally, little Roger and JP begin praying night and day for the success of the California Angels, the baseball team that practices at the Anaheim Stadium which is a mere three-base-run away from the foster home where they live.
It seems someone "up there" hears their fervent pleadings, and suddenly heavenly angels mysteriously appear to assist the presently down-on-their-luck players. Of course, Roger is the only one who can see the divine interveners. When he tries to tell George Knox (Danny Glover) about the winged helpers, the grumpy manager dismisses both the idea and the kids. Yet as time passes, the jaded man begins to believe there might be something to the boys' out-of-this-world explanation for the unexplainable things that are happening.
Of course, there is nothing unpredictable about this script. It hits all the usual bases, including the amazing rise of the bottom-ranked ball players, the showdown final game, and the miraculous softening of the tough guy's heart.
Yet, despite the sentimental plot and a few bad words, many parents will appreciate this feel-good, child-pleasing tale. Given a bit of spit and polish with its visual effects, Angels in the Outfield is the sort of movie that's safe at home.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Angels In The Outfield.
Although it makes for a happy ending to the movie, how reasonable do you think it is for a man with a busy job requiring a lot of travel to provide a home for young children? What other alternatives might there be for solving Roger and JP’s problems?