|Directed by||Steven Kampmann |
William Porter (as Will Aldis)
|Produced by||Chana Ben-Dov |
|Written by||Steven Kampmann |
William Porter (as Will Aldis)
|Music by||David Foster|
|Edited by||Antony Gibbs|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|August 26, 1988|
|Box office||$7.46 million|
Stealing Home is a 1988 American coming of age romantic drama film, written and directed by Steven Kampmann and William Porter (billed as Will Aldis). The film stars Mark Harmon, Blair Brown, Jonathan Silverman, Harold Ramis, William McNamara, and Jodie Foster (in an extended cameo appearance). The movie focuses on a failed baseball player, Billy Wyatt (Harmon), who discovers that his childhood sweetheart, Katie Chandler (Foster), has committed suicide. Billy must confront the past via reminiscence and nostalgia, while also dealing with grief, as he embarks on a journey to fulfill one of Katie's last wishes: that he spread her ashes.
Stealing Home was released theatrically on August 26, 1988 by Warner Bros. Upon release the film was a critical and commercial failure, although David Foster's musical score garnered universal praise. Over the years, however, it has garnered a cult film status with television re-runs and DVD releases with audiences praising its pace, nostalgic themes and soundtrack.
In the 1980s, Billy Wyatt is a thirty-something washed up baseball player who lives out of a hotel with a cocktail waitress. One afternoon he receives a phone call from his mother to tell him that his close childhood friend Katie Chandler has committed suicide.
Flashbacks to the 1960s explain Billy and Katie's relationship. Katie was a slightly older neighborhood girl who babysat Billy for The Wyatt family who were best friends with the Chandler family (Katie's parents). Katie tries to mentor young Billy, giving him advice on girls and dating. As Billy ages he begins to develop feelings for Katie, and Katie in turn develops feeling for him. Just after Billy graduated high school, his father dies in a car accident. Two months later Katie, Billy, Ginny, and Alan Appleby go back to their summer home "Seasmoke" as they do every year and decide to spend the summer there, the first summer without Billy's dad. This begins a summer of humor, coming of age, and loss of innocence. As summer approaches its end, Billy feels Katie is encouraging his mother to live more freely too soon. Billy has a shouting match with Katie. The next day at sunrise, Billy goes to Katie for forgiveness, but what ensues is a deeply suppressed love for each other. This last weekend of the summer defines their true feelings and makes a memory they never forget. They encourage the others to return home while they spend the rest of the weekend together at Seasmoke. Their passion and love that weekend defines their special relationship in life, and in death. As the weekend draws to a close Katie asks that Billy pursue his passion for baseball, and to retrieve the baseball necklace pendant from the girl to whom he lost his virginity just months before. Walking slowly away, she turns and says "I love you Billy boy". The older Billy remembers that was the last time he saw her.
In the present, Katie's father Hank visits the Wyatt family to share the bad news. He recounts how he drove to Seasmoke to check on an upset Katie after her second divorce, and found her body lying in her bed. "She looked like a little girl sleeping." Katie's wishes are for Billy to take possession of her cremated ashes, confident that Billy would be the only person to know what to do with them.
Billy reunites with his childhood friend Alan Appleby and the two engage in a night of reminiscing and carousing while driving around in Katie's car with Katie's ashes, trying to figure out what to do with her ashes. Suddenly, Billy recalls Katie telling him her fantasy that she could jump off the pier and fly free with the birds. The next morning, Billy goes to the pier, runs down the plank and tosses her ashes just the way she described her fantasy. As he watches the ashes and birds fly freely, Billy realizes this was Katie's plan for him all along. She was speaking to him! The pennant retrieval was for a reason, the trip back home was for a reason, playing baseball with Appleby was for a reason, and all this was done with Katie's ashes in his arms! This directed him towards new sense of possibility in his own life, Billy reunites with a former girlfriend and joins a minor league baseball team; taking pride in grooming the field each morning before a game. The film ends with Billy, his girlfriend, and Appleby celebrating after a game.
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|1.||"Stealing Home"||David Foster||David Foster||3:35|
|2.||"Sherry"||Bob Gaudio||The Four Seasons||2:30|
|3.||"And When She Danced (Love Theme From Stealing Home)"||David Foster & Marilyn Martin||3:50|
|4.||"Poison Ivy"||The Nylons||3:21|
|5.||"All I Have To Do Is Dream"||Boudleaux Bryant||The Everly Brothers||2:20|
|6.||"Home Movies"||David Foster||David Foster||2:10|
|7.||"Great Balls Of Fire"||Jerry Lee Lewis||1:50|
|8.||"Baby It's You"||The Shirelles||2:38|
|9.||"Stealing Home (Reprise)"||David Foster||David Foster||5:08|
|10.||"Bo Diddley"||Ellas McDaniel||Bo Diddley||2:19|
|11.||"Katie's Theme"||David Foster||David Foster||1:30|
The film received negative reviews around the time of its release. In her review for the New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "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". In his one-star review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert wrote, "I detested Stealing Home so much, from beginning to end, that I left the screening wondering if any movie could possibly be that bad".[dead link] On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 20% based on reviews from 10 critics.
When asked about the film in 2006, Mark Harmon said, "That was about a bunch of actors loving a script, going there and burning it on both ends for five weeks just to get it done. That was a fun one to make. I hear a lot about that role. People really found that movie on video."
Ever since the release of Summer of '42, Warner Bros. has attempted to buy back the rights to the film, which they sold to author Herman Raucher in lieu of paying him for the script, under the belief that the film would not be financially successful. Stealing Home was greenlit shortly after Raucher denied their latest attempt to purchase the rights, leading to Summer star Jennifer O'Neill's assertion that Stealing Home was "stolen" from Summer. Regardless, she said that she enjoyed the film and called it a "lovely film." Rita Kempley, in her review for the Washington Post, also saw similarities with Summer, describing the film as a "pale comedy-drama by mediocrities Steven Kampmann and Will Aldis. Admittedly a pastiche of their memories, the movie bespeaks the dust of '60s yearbooks and greeting card sentiment. Of course, that stuff can be touching (Summer of '42) or quirky (Gregory's Girl), but here only allergy sufferers will leave with soggy Kleenex."