Friday, March 1, 2013
A League of Their Own (1992)
Well-liked Dottie (Geena Davis) and tomboyish Kit (Lori Petty) live a tough and mostly uneventful life on a dairy farm in Rural Oregon in the 40's. When obnoxious agent Ernie Capadino (John Lovitz) offers them a chance to play baseball professionally, Kit jumps at the chance, but Ernie wants Dottie, resulting in a ultimatum -- Kit can tag along if Dottie comes too.
Kit has never felt as capable, beautiful, or talented as Dottie, and resentment colors her behavior throughout the film. Dottie reluctantly comes to the tryouts, and she and Kit end up on the same team, the Peaches. Sound like a recipe for trouble?
It is, and Kit is in competition with Dottie throughout most of the film, culminating in a finale where tears are shed, bonds are tested, and the only thing bigger than the sister's strained relationship is the bigger picture -- the liberation -- and eventual attempted stifling -- of women in the sports scene.
You don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this movie, and the result is a highly entertaining -- if Hollywood -- comedy/drama. Tom Hanks is fun as a once-great alcoholic manager who is put in charge -- much to his disgust -- of the girls team. For me the most engrossing story was that of Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh,) a dowdy, painfully shy Daddy's Girl who is considered too unattractive to play at a time in women's' sports when keeping up appearances was considered more important than skill or speed.
Controversial public figures Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell play "all the way" Mae and Doris Murphy, two white-trash loudmouths who somehow make it (not on good taste) into the Peaches. Regretfully, I didn't find either of the sisters as compelling as I'd have liked to. However, with the movie covering the bigger picture (World War II, feminism, the personalities of the other girls), it's hard to picture the director doing more with the two-hour format.
I think "A League of Their Own" has a lot to offer everybody. I generally won't even give movies that focus on sports a chance, and this movie entertained me with its mix of funny and bittersweet moments. It is, at its best, a joy to watch a baseball movie for people who have never seen a game in their life.