Cinematic Advent Calendar #12 – A League of their Own

Last year I did a musical advent calendar that I posted to Google+ and a final summary on this blog. This year on a similar theme I will be posting a cinematic advent calendar of twenty four films. It is in no particular order and I make no apologies for the films that I am posting. These are films that I really like and have enjoyed at the cinema.

A League of their Own

A League of Their Own is one of those films that on the surface I really shouldn’t like, however it’s probably one of my favourite films of all time. I did write about this before on the blog, so apologies for a very similar post here.

It should be noted that I really don’t understand everything about baseball, but when this film came out in 1992 I was in a “baseball phase” I was watching baseball films and reading books about baseball. I went out and bought and read Shoeless Joe by W P Kinsella (it was made into the film Field of Dreams). In many ways baseball was the background to the stories, the stories themselves were not about baseball. You don’t need to understand baseball to understand the stories, there may be times when you need to understand the passion people have for sports such as baseball to grasp the motivation of certain characters in these stories.

The first time I watched it wasn’t at the cinema, I had rented it on VHS from my local corner shop where I use to rent films from, this was in the days before Blockbuster! When you think about that and how that market has shrunk or even disappeared. True there are places you can still rent DVDs from, but even that is a much smaller market thanks to services such as iPlayer, Sky+, Netflix and iTunes. I don’t actually like renting DVDs that much, mainly as I find too often they are badly scratched, as a result if I do want to rent, it’s usually iTunes or Google Play. Though at their prices I am more likely to buy.

I think another reason I picked and watched A League of their Own was that I had really enjoyed Tom Hanks in Big and he plays Jimmy Dugan in this film, an embittered coach who at first can’t believe he’s coaching a “girl” baseball team. Eventually he does come round to the fact that these women can play and can play well. What put me off slightly was that Madonna was in it, but in perspective this is one of her better performances.

Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan

There is no real plot to the film, there is no romantic core to the story. This is a story about a team of women coming together, working and playing together during a difficult time in history and making a difference.

There is humour and comedy, larger than life characters as well as some very emotional scenes. This is a moving story that is directed well. Historically there is a fair bit of poetic licence taken by the film with actual events and people. For example the film indicates that the games weren’t popular with the crowds until the teams introduced gimmicks (sliding splits). However in reality the games were popular from day one as people had been really missing live baseball games and as a result there were huge crowds at the games.

I like this film, it is a feel good movie and something that I would watch on a rainy sunday afternoon. There was something very clever about the story and the emotional journey that the women in the film were on. It reminds us that in the 1940s equality was a dirty word for many people and women at that time were nowhere in the same league as their male counterparts in both life, work and sport.

Download A League of their Own in iTunes.

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