A League of Their Own
Directed by: Penny Marshall
Cast: Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell, Jon Lovitz
Running Time: 2 hrs 8 mins
Due Out: October 16, 2012 (Exclusively available Amazon at A League of Their Own [Blu-ray])
PLOT: With the men off fighting in World War II, team owners decide to create the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Two sisters from Oregon (Geena Davis and Lori Petty) and more join the Rockford Peaches, reluctantly led by former MLB great Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), as they work to show they should be taken seriously.
WHO’S IT FOR? Baseball fans and movies fans alike should find plenty to enjoy about this charming, well-told story. Just make sure you’re prepared for a little sentimentality to go along with it.
This is one of those films I watched countless times growing up, but haven’t revisited for years. While I’ve generally considered it one of my favorite baseball movies, I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t hold up. Those fears were unfounded, however, because A League of Their Own is just as good now as it was then. Despite a few dramatic story turns, it’s mostly light and endlessly fun to watch (the tryout sequence is full of energy, almost like watching a musical number). At times it pushes right up to the line of being over-sentimental, but never quite crosses over for me. Sure, a scene where a player helps an illiterate girl find out if she made the team could feel like too much for some. For me, though, it hits the perfect note of being sweet without going too far. And that’s the whole story: this is a film that knows what it wants to be and does a terrific job achieving it.
In a film like this you’d expect there to be plenty of empowerment for women, and this does a great job of showing the players make a name for themselves and prove they are just as capable athletes as the men overseas. It helps that director Penny Marshall gets strong performances out of the entire cast. Geena Davis and Lori Petty are the heart of the picture, and they really sell the ups and downs of their relationship. As good as they are, the real scene stealer is Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan. He’s outstanding from his very first scene – a piece of toilet paper on a shaving nick immediately says so much about his character – and the end result is one of his best performances. He nails a few heartfelt moments, but mostly he provides big laughs. “There’s no crying in baseball,” is the most well-known line, but I think my personal favorite might be, “By the way, I loved you in The Wizard of Oz.”
A League of Their Own also features some top-notch craft work, all of which looks gorgeous on this 20th anniversary Blu-ray. Whether or not you’re a big baseball fan, this is a great, highly enjoyable film, and it’s one that’s worth adding to your collection.
MOVIE SCORE: 9/10
Director and Cast Commentary Featuring Penny Marshall, Lori Petty, Megan Cavanaugh and Tracy Reiner
15 Deleted Scenes with introductions from Director Penny Marshall
“Nine Memorable Innings” Documentary Featuring Interviews With the Cast and Filmmakers
Madonna’s “This Used to Be My Playground” music video