Saturday, April 15, 2017

A League of Their Own 25th Anniversary Edition

Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna star in this major league comedy from the team that brought you Big. Hanks stars as Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up ballplayer whose big league days are over. Hired to coach in the All-American Girls Baseball League of 1943 - while the male pros are at war - Dugan finds himself drawn back into the game by the heart and heroics of his all-girl team. Teammates Lori Petty and Rosie O'Donnell round out this all-star roster, with Jon Lovitz adding a scene-stealing cameo. Based on the true story of the pioneering women who blazed the trail for generations of athletes, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN is "a home run!" (Joel Siegel, ABC-TV)

My Thoughts

"There's no crying in baseball!"

A League of Their Own came out when I was only fifteen, but I instantly fell in love with it. I had it on VHS and watched it at least once a week for years. It was my comfort movie. When other teens were getting sappy over Ghost or singing along with the Little Mermaid, I was getting immersed  in the emotion and empowerment of A League of Their Own.  I rooted for the girls who were trying to make it in a man's world, I sobbed when Betty Spaghetti discovered her husband was killed in the war, and I loved seeing the realistic historical elements in this movie.

In A League of Their Own, all of the pro baseball players have gone off to war. To keep the stadiums in business, they decide to start a women's league. Dottie and her sister Kit are small town country girls who get drafted along with a variety of other women from all over the county. Dottie and Kit wind up with retired baseball star Jimmy Dugan as their coach, portrayed by the amazing Tom Hanks. He doesn't take it very seriously and spends most of his time in a drunken stupor. It's a rough start, yet against all odds, the women fill the stands.

There is so much I love in this movie. I love how Dottie tries so hard to do what's right for the team and her sister. I love how Jimmy eventually pulls himself together and becomes the manager they need. I love how at the end of the film you get to see some of the real baseball players who made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I love seeing Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell, especially in the bar scene after they poisoned their chaperone. I adore Geena Davis who became my favorite actress after this movie. I even watched the Exorcist this year just because she was in it.  I love the female empowerment and the true-to-life emotions these women felt while the men they loved were fighting in WWII. My grandmother, who would be about the same age as these women, said that it was one of the most accurately depicted movies on that time period she had ever seen.

I am about as far from a sports fan as anyone can get, yet this movie has resonated with me for years.  It's a cast of strong female actresses portraying strong women inspired by actual events.  Perhaps this is why women of all ages and all walks of life have loved this film, and why it will go down in the fall of fame just like the league that inspired it.


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