Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Movie #340: A League of their Own

A League of their Own is a historical comedy/sports film directed by Penny Marshall and starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Tom Hanks (who inexplicably receives top billing), and Rose O'Donnell.

World War II is on, and a lot of the major league baseball players have been drafted or enlisted. In an effort to turn a profit during the war, rich-dude Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) gets his marketing wiz-kid Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) to come up with something. And oh Nelly! Girls playing baseball!

They recruit women from church leagues and employee leagues and the like, two of whom are sisters Dottie (Davis) and Kit (Petty). Dottie is married, her husband (Bill Pullman) is overseas, and though she's a fabulous ball player, she doesn't really seem to care one way or another. Kit, on the other hand, is also a good player but mostly is tired of living in his sister's shadow, frustrated that Dottie has no greater ambition, and wants (understandably) to get the fuck out of Oregon.

So they join up and play baseball. The thrust of the movie is their team, the Peaches, and the trials and tribulations of being woman ballplayers while much of the country isn't down with that. Dottie and Kit also have their conflicts, the manager of the team (Hanks) is drunk and sexist, and eventually Dottie's husband comes home and she quits, only to return for the final game and lose.

It's a cute movie and there are some funny bits, but I sort of wish I hadn't watch the deleted scenes. See, it always bugged me that I couldn't read Dottie very well - does she really enjoy playing ball, or is she just biding time until her husband gets back? Or is she a fricking genius bored to tears by her life but unsure of what else to do (Geena Davis is actually really smart, so I wonder if she poured a little of herself into Dottie)? In the deleted scenes, though, there's this weird bit where Hanks gets her to admit that she really does love baseball, and then kisses her, which sets off this weird bit between them. Likewise, the deleted scenes slut-shame the fuck out of Madonna's character, in a really embarrassing, pearl-clutching, "you mean women like sex?!" kind of way, and I'm happy they were cut, but they put some of what's left into a weird context.

Michelle's thought was that this movie could have been really interested in the hands of a better director, and I kinda have to agree. I like it well enough, and it actually manages to make baseball look interesting (in real life, it's like watching paint dry), but I liked it better before I knew how it was made.

My Grade: B-
Rewatch value: Medium-low

Next up: Legally Blonde