This January, the Cubs DNA team is taking a closer look at baseball movies: picking the classics, unearthing some overlooked titles, debating top flicks, and making recommendations. January is a slow month for baseball, so let's bridge the gap with baseball movie month.
Today, we discuss A League of Their Own. Released in 1992, this Penny Marshall movie tells a fictionalized story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). During World War 2, Major League Baseball endured many players joining the armed forces. MLB owners formed a women's league to try and fill the gap. This comedy-drama stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna.
I first saw "A League Of Their Own" or ALOTO in 8th grade. It was just all right at the time. I loved baseball, and I could appreciate it. But after watching it, I didn't really care a ton for it. Not enough to revisit it for nearly 20 years. As a part of our baseball movie month, I'm glad I did rewatch it. It's a good movie.
Rewatching it now, it's a lot better than I remembered. It has flaws, but is probably a top 5 baseball movie. It starts off being very funny, then has a odd tonal shift when Dottie and Kit have their spat about Kit coming out of a game. There's some sappy melodrama and the conclusion is a bit too long, but it doesn't outweigh the positives. It's a hearty laugh a minute for the first half, and does get you to think a bit in the second half. Comedy-dramas are a tough line to walk, because the two genres can be so different. It walks the line pretty well, even if there's an odd split in the middle.
It's greatest accomplishment is likely bringing widespread recognition to the contributions of the AAGPBL. When all the men went to battle in World War 2, women really stepped up for the USA in many ways. Playing baseball might have been a smaller contribution at the time, but it has since served as an inspirational piece since.
As an older and wiser person, I have a better appreciation for some of the struggles that women had just two generations ago. As an 8th grader in their simplicity, it was funny to think that women had to play in dresses and attend charm school, but those things really happened. The players really had chaperones whose job was to make sure they wore lipstick at all times. Fortunately, we've evolved as a society. ALOTO does exist as an accurate and culturally significant time capsule when things were very different, and really not that long ago.
Overall, I give it a 7/10. It's not a movie I'll rewatch annually, but has some sharp humor and significant cultural significance.
"A League of Their Own" will always be my favorite baseball movie. Adding to what Pronk wrote, it was a really entertaining story about the birth of the AAGPBL. I grew up playing softball with my friends and for all of us, it wasn't just the game we loved playing, but the camaraderie and sisterhood it created. Plus seeing women on the screen playing ball and kicking butt was really exciting as a young woman, finally, the representation on screen!