Thursday, January 6, 2011

Canon Movie Review: A League of Their Own

Earlier today, I watched the 1992 movie A League of Their Own, which is a fictional account of the 1940's women's baseball league, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Well, that's a mouthful. Anyway, the movie was directed by Penny Marshall and stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Lovitz, and Bill Pullman. The plot of A League of Their Own centers around catcher Dottie Hinson (Davis) and her sister Kit Keller (Lori Petty), who play for the Rockford Peaches, even though Dottie would of rather stayed in Oregon waiting for her husband to come home from the war. Dottie becomes the league's breakout star, a catcher that can hit with power and pull off spectacular plays in the field. However, her younger sister Kit bristles at being in Dottie's shadow, and their relationship is strained to the point where a trade is made just to keep Dottie in the league. A few notes about this movie, and there are probably SPOILERS, so read carefully. Or not, it's up to you.

- One of the things that A League of Their Own does right is the casting, as Marshall and the casting directors made sure to fit their actors in the right roles. For example, Jon Lovitz is a wise-cracking scout, basically playing himself the whole. Rosie O'Donnell is a loud-mouthed New Yorker, and Bill Pullman has very little to do, among other examples.

- Most of the humor in A League of Their Own comes from Tom Hanks's characater, manager Jimmy Dugan. Dugan, a former star in the majors, is now a staggering drunk who is down to his last chance at not becoming a complete screwup. Hanks had some great scenes in this film, from the scene where he wakes up after the bus driver quit in the middle of the team's trip, to the scene where he meets his team for the first time, and urinates for a solid two minutes, to the inscription he writes on the kid's baseball along with his autograph. Of course, Hanks also said the line the movie's famous for "There's no crying in baseball", which is also a good scene in which Hanks excels.

- To the credit of the actors in the film, most of the women in the film at least act like they can play some baseball. Well, I had a hard time believing that Madonna could leg out a triple, but there were no glaring issues with the quality of play in the film, so to speak, which is more than I can say for some other movies (like Bull Durham, where Tim Robbins played a fireball throwing pitcher even though he threw like someone that had only taken up baseball three days ago, but I digress).

- Like I said before, the story of A League of Their Own revolves largely around Dottie and her sister Kit. While Dottie has a few character flaws, such as a touch of arrogance and seeing herself as a bit above the game, she mostly comes across as a good person with a strong will. Kit, on the other hand, acts like a spoiled brat for most of the film, always complaining about Dottie's success and blaming her own failures on Dottie even when she has nothing to do with them. The fact that Kit is such an immature brat makes the ending seem like a giant letdown, although at the very least, Kit does redeem herself somewhat.

- Maybe it's just because I am biased towards the performer, but I couldn't stand Rosie O'Donnell's character Doris Murphy at all. Murphy seemed just like O'Donnell in that she was a loud mouth from Long Island who just would not keep quiet. I mean, she would not shut up through the entire movie, always getting her two cents in at the conclusion of nearly every scene. I suppose that O'Donnell didn't do too badly in the film, and that it's my own personal bias that has lowered my opinion of her performance, but nevertheless, she had the most annoying character in the movie, even moreso then that little kid.

Overall, A League of Their Own is a charming portrayal of life in the AAGPBL, even though it's not entirely accurate (for one, pitchers in the real AAGPBL threw underhanded, unlike the overhand style employed by the pitchers in this movie). Despite from minor flaws, A League of Their Own is a pretty good movie that should entertain both sports fans and movie lovers alike. Sure, some people might have a hangup about watching a movie about women playing baseball, but if they look past that, then they would find that this is one of the best baseball movies ever. Overall, I'd give A League of Their Own a 7.752 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let us know them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at Also, come back to The Canon Review later this afternoon for an announcement about a new project that I will be doing that may very well cause me to lose my insanity. So, until next time, avoid the clap.

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