Various and Scattered Thoughts on the Latter Three-Quarters of the Film “A League of Their Own”

As I may have mentioned before, during the holiday season I was able to watch almost all of the movie “A League of Their Own” with my wife. On the evening of Monday, December 26th, my wife stumbled across the classic tale of women’s baseball during World War II on AMC, and put it on the television without telling me what we were about to watch. When the commercials gave way to the movie, I was quite excited, and we didn’t change the channel until the end credits. We both had fond memories of the movie from childhood. I personally had probably seen it four or five times when I was younger, and as an adult, I honestly remembered it as a successful and well-rounded piece of American cinema. I even went so far as to claim it had been a box office success and nominated for important awards. I was correct about one of those things. It turns out, as it usually does, that my nostalgic perspective on the movie did not fit well with the less optimistic reality of what I saw in the present. The movie is kind of mess. Granted, there had been alcohol imbibed prior and during our viewing of the film and that may have colored things a bit, but I doubt by much. Certainly not by enough that I’m not fully confident in my assertion. It’s been over a week, and my memory is awful, but what follows are a few mostly random observations on “A League of Their Own.”

  • One of the beers we drank before finding the movie on TV was the New Belgium La Folie Sour Brown Ale and holy shit was it good. We’re both getting on this sour beer bandwagon and not getting off any time soon. This is not related to the movie at all.
  • We came into the film just before Tom Hank’s character, Jimmy Dugan, comes into the clubhouse and takes an epic piss. Like, a ridiculously long, not physically possible time-frame of urination. It was like in Elf when Will Farrel drinks that two liter bottle of cola, only about 4 times more unbelievable. As he finishes the deed things sort of get inappropriate and weird. Dude makes some really fucked up sounds and faces.
  • Then he tears up that poor woman’s baseball card. This alcoholic is a real bastard!

  • The opening of the movie that we missed has something to do with John Lovitz smoking a cigar on a farm. I really don’t think I’m making that up. He really wants Dottie (Geena Davis) to play baseball, but Dottie won’t agree to it until her kid sister Kit can come along. Also, they pull some shit to get an ugly girl on the team, too. She can mash, her slugging percentage was probably off the charts.
  • Later on in the movie, the ugly masher gets drunk and sings “It Had To Be You” on stage right at some nerd who she falls in love with.
  • Dottie is like a vintage Johnny Bench out on the diamond. She’s an excellent defensive catcher who can also hit. On top of all that, she calls one hell of a game and just plain knows how to win. I’m pretty sure Evan Grant had her on his MVP ballot this year.
  • She also has a preternatural ability to hold on to the ball after super violent collisions at home plate. Do not forget this!
  • Kit is a young pitcher with a lot of promise who can strike fools out like crazy, but she battles control issues and easily loses her composure after giving up a big hit. I guess she’s the Gio Gonzales of the AAGPBL.
  • She’s also a pretty good hitter but has trouble with the high heat. Do not forget this!
  • The commercials that aired on AMC at 11 o’clock on a Monday night were out of control. They mostly consisted of ridiculous inventions with no practical purpose, shady ass life insurance companies preying on the senility of poor helpless old people, and guys doing awkward exercises on strange contraptions who think you’re a total pussy unless you can do pullups on a bar in your doorjamb.
  • Madonna is somehow in this movie hamming it the fuck up. She plays some slutty center fielder and I think at one point she showboats it and catches a ball with her hat.
  • There’s also Rosie O’Donnell. Two Rosie moments stick out to me vividly. The first is when all the girls go out on the town and she manhandles some dude around on the dance floor swing style. She carries him around on her back and throws him between her legs and everything. It was like he was the lady and she was the guy! Hilarious. The second is when, after going into the stands and catching a foul ball, she emerges with an entire goddamn hot dog in her mouth. My wife took a picture of this to confirm it actually happened.
  • Sprinkled in throughout this whole thing are some really quite serious portrayals of gross misogyny and sexism. At one point the team’s female supervisor runs after a male bus driver who quits on the spot after falling victim to the shenanigans of his passengers. She begs him to come back and drive the team to their next game and he violently throws a ton of dirt in her face and mouth. It was actually kind of jarring and profound. It’s ok though, because the character is mistreated by the team members and handled like a cartoon character in every other scene in which she appears! At one point Tom Hanks drunkenly overpowers and makes out with her. Slapstick! Comedy!
  • Bill Pullman (not Paxton) comes back from the war and Geena Davis quits the sport right before the World Series against the team her sister had been traded to. It really makes no sense. Not even for this movie. Why were they in such a hurry to get back to the farm? Pullman couldn’t have hung out in a hotel for a few days? If they were concerned about starting a family, I’m pretty sure you don’t need to be on rural soil to get that process underway.
  • We’re all for one, we’re one for all, we’re All-American.
  • Dottie returns for game seven. She gets the go ahead hit off Kit late in the game. Kit gets all flustered and shit. When Kit comes to bat, she finally hits the high fastball. She runs through the sign and plows Dottie over in an attempt to score the winning run on an inside the park home run. Dottie lets go of the ball. Team Dottie loses and Team Kit wins. Something tells me this is not an accurate portrayal of what really took place.
  • The movie ends with all the ladies hanging out in the Hall of Fame looking at their exhibit. If there’s one thing this movie did 100% correctly, it was in the casting of the old ladies. They look so much like the younger actors they’re meant to be the older versions of it’s insane. I honestly thought Dottie was Geena Davis in the most impressive make-up and prosthetics ever.
  • As the credits roll the real-life women play a game of softball while wearing AAGPBL sweatshirts. But there’s also some weird cuts to some awkwardly staged moments? Like one old lady gets super livid at a strike call and poorly acts her way to an ejection? Did I drink too much? Am I making this up? Either way all of them can hit better than me when I go to the batting cage.

Seriously.

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2 thoughts on “Various and Scattered Thoughts on the Latter Three-Quarters of the Film “A League of Their Own”

  1. Jimmy says:

    Watched this childhood favorite as an adult, too. What was a fabulous, well-balanced movie turned into contrived drivel.

    It was kind of like Penny Marshall sat down with each scene and tried to make it as sappy as possible.

    Dislikes: Dottie/Kit relationship, All-American Girl song at the end

    Likes: Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz, Rosie O’Donnell (the only actress in the movie that could throw a ball), and the ladies at the end of the movie who were actually in the league.

    As a boy, the reunion of the players had me all teary eyed. As an adult, the old women, who once really played ball choked me up. Those girls could really play.

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