Stealing Home (1988)

Stealing Home (1988)

Taglines: Stealing hearts, stealing laughs, stealing memories.

In the 1980s, Billy Wyatt (Harmon) is a thirty-something washed up baseball player who now works as a high school groundskeeper, spending his days tending to the field and drinking. One afternoon he receives a phone call informing him that Katie Chandler, an old acquaintance, has died.

The bulk of the film consists of extended flashbacks to the 1960s explaining Billy and Katie’s relationship. Katie was a slightly-older neighborhood girl who befriended Billy’s mother, Ginny (Brown), and who became his babysitter. Katie acts as a mentor to the young Billy, and, as he grows up, gives him advice on women and dating.

As Billy ages he begins to develop feelings for Katie, though the rebellious and worldly-wise Katie is interested in older men. Nevertheless, the two share a flirtatious relationship, and Katie comes to regard Billy as her closest friend and confidante. One Summer in his late teens, Billy’s father dies in a car accident, and Katie, Billy, and Ginny go on vacation to recover from the tragedy.

Stealing Home is a 1988 American romantic drama movie, starring Mark Harmon, Jodie Foster, and Blair Brown, with Jonathan Silverman, Harold Ramis and William McNamara in major roles. The film was directed by Steven Kampmann and William Porter (the latter billed as Will Aldis).

Stealing Home (1988)

Fllm Review for Stealing Home

You know what kind of girl she was. You probably know what kind of summer it was, too. The light was golden. The beach was clean. He was young and impressionable, she worldly and wise. Whenever he had trouble, she helped get him through, and because of that he can never forget her. Oh yes, he also had a friend, and the friend’s every thought was of losing his virginity. There was an older woman on hand who (inevitably, in stories like this) was happy to oblige.

The film is ”Stealing Home,” and it’s the work of a two-man writing and directing partnership (Steven Kampmann and Will Aldis), though not even an entire baseball team’s worth of writers and directors could have freed this material from its suffocating sentimentality. Baseball happens to be its real subject, since there’s something about Katie (Jodie Foster) that freed Billy Wyatt (Mark Harmon) from his fears and allowed him to become a professional ballplayer. Katie first gave Billy a little gold baseball to wear around his neck when he was a teen-ager (William McNamara). But even when he was a little kid (Thacher Goodwin), she was always encouraging him to have fun and break free.

The fact that the characters in ”Stealing Home” frequently change ages, and do this confusingly and unconvincingly, is only one of the film’s staging problems. Another is that Katie, though Miss Foster works hard to give her a thrillingly madcap and indelibly romantic side, spends part of the film in an urn. As ashes. Which Billy must brandish very clumsily indeed as he struggles with his grief over Katie’s untimely suicide (this grief takes the form of three-day stubble). No actor could play as many scenes as Mr. Harmon does with an urn tucked under his arm and do it well – especially not an urn that is sometimes seen wearing a baseball cap.

Stealing Home (1988)

”Stealing Home,” which opens today at the National and other theaters, is best watched for some of its actors, although the casting is spotty in the extreme. John Shea makes Billy’s enthusiastic, baseball-loving father seem terminally silly, but the lovely Blair Brown makes Billy’s mother a genuinely sympathetic figure. Jonathan Silverman and Harold Ramis, playing the same friend of Billy’s at different ages, prove to be funny and well matched. Judith Kahan has a brief, amusing scene as this same character’s sweetly bewildered mother. Another mother gag has the parent (Miriam Flynn) of Billy’s first sexual partner wandering into the room just as Billy loses his virginity, and being too preoccupied to notice.

Miss Foster is asked to greatly overstate Katie’s allure, but she does this with impressive bravado. Although Billy and Katie are seen reading ”The Catcher in the Rye” and ”The Group,” respectively, the time period remains inconsistent and hazy. The era is simply established as a dreamily idyllic past, thanks to sand dunes at twilight, waves that crash in the distance, shiny red convertibles without seat belts and a musical score that may make you want to weep, for all the wrong reasons.

Stealing Home Movie Poster (1988)

Stealing Home (1988)

Directed by: Steven Kampmann, William Porter
Starring: Mark Harmon, Jodie Foster, Blair Brown, Harold Ramis, Jonathan Silverman, ichard Jenkins, William McNamara, John Shea, Christine Jones, Beth Broderick, Yvette Croskey, Helen Hunt
Screenplay by: Steven Kampmann, William Porter
Production Design by: Vaughan Edwards
Cinematography by: Bobby Byrne
Film Editing by: Antony Gibbs
Costume Design by: Robert De Mora
Set Decoration by: Robert J. Franco
Music by: David Foster
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: August 26, 1988