Sunday, February 14, 2016

A League of Their Own

Time to move on to a color film, I think. So, I had never seen this film mostly because sports movies aren't my cup of tea. But I probably should have watched it before this because I am very interested in the WWII period, both the homefront and the actual battlefronts. I wasn't overly aware of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League - again, not a sports person (fencing was my sport before I became disabled). According to Wikipedia, the film isn't too inaccurate a portrayal, though it turns chewing gum magnate Wrigley into chocolate bar king Harvey. It also focuses on the relationship between two sisters, who are apparently complete works of fiction. I usually get annoyed with that in historical films, because the true story is usually far more interesting than anything a screen writer can make up, but there are not a lot of films that really explore sisterly rivalry. It's usually played off that brothers have rivalry, and sisters are perfect except for the younger one envies the perfection of the older one. Which is sadly the trope they chose to go with here. Dottie is amazingly perfect in every way - she isn't shown to have a single flaw. No wonder Kit resents her. But Kit just isn't likable enough to sympathize with. What surprised me the most in this movie was that Madonna's oft-mocked acting skills were actually believable here. She's panned in almost every other film she's been in, and she has more than her fair share of Razzies, but she was actually pretty good in this film. Rosie O'Donnell is also pretty good in a harsh, abrasive kind of way that does fit her character. Though I can't recommend watching the movie with headphones on like I did. She plays up her grating voice until it drowns out other sounds if you're listening through headphones. I liked that the movie focused on the healthy relationships between women forming and developing, though I think Tom Hanks really outdid himself in his traditional urinating scene. I did not need to see Tom Hanks goggling like a gutted fish over pee sounds that made the joke from Austin Powers seem subtle. Why does Tom Hanks like to pee on screen so much? A lot of the characters are really underdeveloped, so some twists, like Betty's husband being killed in the war, don't hit the note of tragedy that they were going for. I think it's a good enough movie, and the newsreel bits were definitely clever, but I guess I can't really see where this movie is "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It was enjoyable, kind of funny, a little trite, and overall I'm not sorry that I saw it. But I knew I'd have to write this quickly before I forgot about it. Maybe they wanted to make sure the AAGPBL wasn't forgotten... but maybe someone can make a movie with a stronger story next time.

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