The Scoop: 1992 PG, directed by Penny Marshall and starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Lori Petty
Tagline: To achieve the incredible you have to attempt the impossible.
Summary Capsule: Girls? Playing baseball? What’s the world coming to?
Lissa’s Rating: God help me if my boys are ever anything like Stilwell Angel.
Lissa’s Review: Some movies are just so good and so appealing that you can put them in and everyone in the room will watch them and enjoy them. Your parents, your grandmother, your boss, your best friend, the guy next door who makes inappropriate comments at inappropriate times, your weird internet buddies who you’re afraid to bring home to meet your parents, your weird internet buddies who you’re afraid to meet in real life… they all love them. There are a few universal truths in the movie world, and one of them is that everyone loves The Princess Bride. Another is that everyone can at least tolerate A League of their Own, and most people love it.
A League of Their Own, like October Sky and various made-for-Hallmark channel movies, is loosely based on real events. Back during The War (World War II for you whippersnappers), the boys all went off to fight, leaving the women to run the country. They went to the factories, the stockyards, and the farms, and they did a pretty darn good job of it, too. But they also kept the sport of baseball afloat for those years. That part is real. The rest might not be so factual, but hey, it’s a good movie.
The movie focuses mainly on Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and her kid sister Kit (Lori Petty). Dottie and Kit are working at their family’s dairy in Oregon when an enterprising scout comes and whisks them away to play professional baseball. Dottie could kind of care less, but Kit is over the moon. Once they make it to the Wrigley- oops, Harvey- fields, they make the league and meet a rather typical assortment of characters in their teammates. And I’d be more inspired in my recap if I didn’t think you couldn’t guess a lot of what happens after that.
There’s a lot to like in this movie. There’s snappy dialogue and lots of memorable one-liners. The cast of characters dances that fine line of cliché, but they’re fun cliches so it’s forgivable. There’s a lot of good cast chemistry, and the sets and costumes really look like the 1940’s. (Erm, I assume.) The story is completely predictable but still makes you feel good at the end, and there’s lots of game shots. The little romance that’s present is far from overpowering, and there’s actually some food for thought in there. There’s even a great debate point for the end, which can spark discussion if you’re really looking for it. (If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean, if you haven’t, it’s a spoiler, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when you see it.)
What’s not to like? Honestly, I don’t really know. There are a few moments when the cheese factor gets a little heavy even for me, but overall, that’s really forgivable. Maybe you won’t like the ambiguity of the ending. Maybe you strongly disagree with me that the ending is ambiguous at all. Maybe Rosie O’Donnell drives you bonkers no matter what role she’s in. (This is my stepfather’s complaint.) Or Madonna. Maybe you just don’t like Kit, who is kind of abrasive and grumpy. It’s not a perfect movie, that’s for sure. But it is one that’s appropriate for a wide range of people, and that’s pretty hard to come by.
For as good as this movie is, I feel like I should be going on and on for a lot longer. But it’s not really a movie that lends itself to much mocking or discussion, so I’ll spare you the monologues. So, on the off chance you haven’t seen this in its entirety by catching on TNT at odd times of the night, go out and add this one to your collection. It really is a worthwhile movie.
- The characters at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and seen playing as the credits roll, are real original players from the league portrayed in the film.
- All of the injuries and bruises that are seen in the film were real injuries that the actors received during filming. And given that nasty bruise that Alice gets sliding in, can I say OUCH!
- Actresses auditioning for the film had to prove they could play baseball as well. All the actresses cast in the film apart from Geena Davis did their own baseball stunts. None of the performers wanted stunt doubles.
- The end of the film notes that the players of the AAGPBL were “the first women ever to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.” Actually, they are not inductees. Rather, they were recognized with a permanent exhibit in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, entitled “Women in Baseball,” in 1988. The first woman to actually be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame was Effa Manley, the co-owner (with her husband, Abe) of the Newark Eagles. She was inducted in 2006.
- For an interesting summation of the differences between movie and real life, check out http://espn.go.com/page2/s/closer/020511.html
- When the Peaches run out for the first game, Rosie O’Donnell trips.
- When Jimmy Dugan walks in to the locker room and urinates, he urinates into a trough which would not have standing water in it, but we hear the sound of someone urinating into a toilet with water in it. (Yes, I found that one on the internet.)
- Stilwell Angel is one of the most annoying children on Earth.
Kit Keller: You ever hear Dad introduce us to people? “This is our daughter Dottie, and this is our other daughter, Dottie’s sister.” Should’ve just had you and bought a dog!
Ernie Capadino: “You know, if I had your job, I’d kill myself! Wait here, I’ll see if I can dig up a pistol.”
Ira Lowenstein: If we paid you a little bit more, Jimmy, do you think you could be just a little more disgusting?
Jimmy Dugan: [brightly] Well, I could certainly use the money.
Mae Mordabito: [to reporters] Hi, my name’s Mae, and that’s more than a name, that’s an attitude.
Dollbody Kid: What’s your rush, dollbody? What do you say we slip in the back seat, and make a man out of me?
Dottie Hinson: What do you say I smack you around for a while?
Dollbody Kid: Can’t we do both?
Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!
Dottie Hinson: You ever been married?
Jimmy Dugan: Well, let me think… yeah, twice.
Dottie Hinson: Any children?
Jimmy Dugan: One of them was, yeah.
If You Liked This Movie, Try These:
- Field of Dreams