I was the meagre age of three when A League of Their Own was released. However, that’s no excuse, as while I obviously couldn’t make it to the original theatrical release, I’ve had 21 years to watch this film, yet I only just discovered it a WEEK ago – how is this possible?! Starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna(!) among others, this film could easily be pigeonholed. It could be, and probably is, seen by many as a feel-good swing around the park which features a pop-star with mediocre acting talent in a main role, and follows many of the standard cliches of sporting films.
Despite this, I feel this film should be lauded, applauded and loved by many, and I’m so disappointed I didn’t get to see it during my gawky teen years of awkwardom. Please do not dismiss this light-hearted, wonderful comedy as merely a light-hearted wonderful comedy. Here are a few good reasons why I think, if you haven’t seen it, you should go and find A League of Their Own somewhere and stick it on a screen near you. Right away.
- Remember the Bechdel Test? A League of Their Own smashes it out of the park!
For those who aren’t familiar, the Bechdel Test is one way of evaluating gender bias in films. Three simple questions must be asked:
- Does the film have more than one named female character?
- Do the female characters ever talk to each other on screen?
- Do they ever talk to each other about anything other than a man?
The amount of films that don’t fulfil these three simple criteria is staggering and depressing in equal measure. So hoorah for ALOTO! The amount of female characters* trounced the men on screen, they all had individual personalities, they did a great job of highlighting the divide between what was expected from ‘ladies’ of the time and how the real women would have behaved. Yes, occasionally they talked about men, but they also talked about sport, ambition, family, children, travel, underwear, nail polish, drinking, sex, fashion, farming, money etc etc etc. They were real women with real friendships and connections to the world. Ace.
*Plus point – it’s also directed by Penny Marshall
- Madonna’s lindy hop
While Madonna is never going to win any major acting plaudits for her role as the brassy-not-classy Mae Mordabito, she turns in one hell of a dance scene. Despite reportedly being miserable, homesick and downright grumpy during filming, you’d never guess it from her bopping. Some great costuming, wonderful moves and music make for a really fun sequence, where “All-the-way Mae” does the lindy-hop. Here ya go…
- It’s about women excelling at professional sports
I’ve already added my two pennies about women and sport, but what makes this film so refreshing is that this film celebrates the competitiveness, feistiness, physicality and success of its female characters. Yes, the baseball uniforms the women wear are sexualised, but this is a point that’s poked fun of in the film, rather than exploited.
- And finally… TOM HANKS!
The man is a genius. In this film, he’s initially pretty vile and not at all charming, perfectly displaying the chauvinism of the time as a past-it ex-basbeball-playing drunkard tasked with coaching a bunch of ‘girlies’. However, once his character finally begins to interact and respect the women he’s working with, he seamlessly switches to funny, charismatic and likeable. I challenge you not to root for him!
I’m firmly in the Tom Hanks fan-girl camp. If every person who is even a smidgeon as famous as he is, took a look at themselves and tried and be half as classy, the world of celebrity would be a much better place. I could only love him more after recently finding out about what is now known as the Tom Hanks typewriter saga. What a wonderful being that man is.
So go, my pretties, here are a few reasons why everyone should at some point watch this 22-year-old film about girls playing baseball; rent, download, watch and see if you agree with me about the marvellousness of this film!