A League of Their Own Reviews
During WWII, the first all women baseball league is formed by a candy bar magnate and managed by a drunken has been. With a lot of potential, especially shining through farm girl Dottie Hinson, the team makes a name for not only themselves, but for sports history.
A League of Their Own excels in some areas but most areas is empty. The performances are great, with tons of big name actors. As I have stated in earlier reviews, I'm a big Tom Hanks fan, and this is one of his first roles that shifted from forgettably goofy 80s comedies to all around excellence in drama and comedy. The plot, however, is missing something. It takes a long time for the essence of the film to even begin, with a lot of character buildup that is unnecessary for some characters and the first hour compiled of Tom Hanks' character being a drunken mess. As entertaining as his performance is, it's basically a condensed baseball game with some added filler of bus rides and other mischief. It attempts at building some subplots, too, which work out somewhat better than the main plot - one being the tension between Dottie and her younger sister Kit, who feels unrecognized in the shadows of her successful sister. The tension and chemistry, although completely predictable, is more of an entertaining story than what is essentially a compilation of condensed women's baseball games. It's filler everywhere - there is no legitimate story to be found. The film could be cut in half and still manage to tell the rise of women's baseball just fine. I did, however, really like the ending of a present day glimpse of all the characters beholding their Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit. The little things make A League of Their Own and the big things are sloppily handled. A League of Their Own, although it has the potential to be a great film, feels more like a rough draft than anything and only has half of the film requirements done right.
The story involves two sisters, Dottie (Geena Davis) and Kit (Lori Petty), playing baseball during WWII. One day, a baseball agent (Jon Lovitz) decides to recruit the two into joining an entire league specifically for women. They accept, and are then playing for the Rockford Peaches. With the guidance from their manager, former baseball star Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), the Rockford Peaches, and the girls for that matter, make a name for themselves by proving that women can play baseball.
"A League of Their Own" is a good movie; sure it has its problems, but we'll get to them later. For now, let us see what makes the movie work. And what better way to start off this than with the direction from Penny Marshall? She provides a perfect balance between the comedic and dramatic moments seen in the film, letting the audience laugh, and take in the seriousness of the film. This is especially true from the cast, consisting mostly of women from the likes of Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell, turning out solid performances. By recreating real people with these celebrities, makes the movie stand out more. The editing promises a well-paced film; maintaining a two hour run time, the movie gets its point across while delivering some solid action with its baseball scenes. The costumes look great as they fit the time frame of the 1940s very well, as well as the cinematography recaptures the look and feel of the 1940s. Plus the music by Hans Zimmer really fits the tone of the movie well, too. Finally, the history that surrounds this movie is quite interesting, and will definitely peak an interest in some wanting to know more.
Now, let us get to the problems with the film. For starters, while the pacing is nice and offers up a good continuous flow, it can present itself as being slow. Most of this can be attributed to the fact that there are moments in the movie, like the introduction of a child character that really serves no purpose, that pad the movie a little further. And here we transition to the film's biggest problem: there is no major conflict presented in the film. Sure, we want to see the Peaches win, and there is a rivalry between Kit and Dottie, but that is only given more focus and attention during the last third of the film. And even then, it is resolved fairly quickly. If there had been some other major conflict involved, then the movie would have been more compelling to watch.
Overall, "A League of Their Own" is a fine baseball movie with some good elements to it. It's just that there are some major issues that make the film far from being perfect. But it still represents a time period when women played baseball, that has since been somewhat neglected in the history books.