A League of Their Own: Live Watching It 30 Years Later

Summertime is absolutely the right time to listen to Tom Hanks urinate while people yell “dirt in the skirt!”. It’s been that way for at least 30 years now, ever since the release of the blockbuster 1992 film, A League of Their Own, starring Geena Davis and Lori Petty. If you haven’t seen this frothy cupcake of a baseball movie before, you’ve been depriving yourself of classic 90s Americana that is so sugary sweet, you’ll need dental surgery and American flag implants.

Inspired by true events, director Penny Marshall decided to sanitize and scrub the early 1940s into such a pasty white, flag-waving, dad-hugging Ameritopia that it veers away from historical accuracy with irresponsible abandon. It’s what they did in the 90s. (See also: Independence Day, The Sandlot, Angels in the Outfield, The Little Rascals, and Dennis the Menace.) So, yeah, it’s inherently flawed in its storytelling to a problematic extent.

But, on the other hand, it’s lady baseball deliciousness. Artificially sentimental and sweet, this movie will just make you smile. Rosie O’Donnell deepthroats a stranger’s hot dog, a kid gets hit in the face with a baseball mitt, and 36 year-old Geena Davis tries to pull off 23. Yes, it has everything.

And since your nostalgic heart is already racing more than if you just ate a case of Harvey Bars, I’m ready to sit here with an excellent cheap bottle of wine and provide blow-by-blow commentary. What a challenge it will be on my end–this damn movie is so squeaky clean that it’s nearly mock-proof. Fear not, for my mockery knows no bounds, just like Madonna’s love for herself.

Get your DVRs ready, pin those curls, oil your glove, and get ready to watch along as we explore how well this has aged and more.


A League of Their Own Re-Watch

0:00 – Let’s make one thing clear: This is a terrible movie title. It sounds like a film being shown in a high school health class. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive. Betty Has an Itch. A Mom of Their Own. I’ll try to noodle around ideas for better titles while we watch.

0:30 – This film intro is already so 90s I can barely breathe. I’m 12 years old and watching this in theatres with a box of Sno Caps and a bucket of popcorn.

2:00 – Believe it or not, that isn’t Geeeena Davis in “old” makeup. That is a totally different actress lip synching to Geeeena’s voice.

3:13 – Sibling sporting ball advice from Grandma. Could it be….FORESHADOWING??

4:08 – Whoa, looks like Margaret, there, has some major cheddar. Look at that house! Ope, wait. She’s making her elderly mom ride a Greyhound to a really important ceremony. Come to think of it…why the hell isn’t Margaret or at least ONE family member fucking going with her? This is a big fucking deal! Historical and whatnot! AND the woman just lost her husband (or don’t we know that yet?)! Her kids are real tight fuckers with veins of ice.

5:23 – We’ve got a mix here of real lady baseball players and actors. Can you spot the difference? None of the actors have mullets or permed helmet bobs. And now I’m going to hell.

5:40 – YEA! We’re getting all echoey and it’s time for the flashback!

9:53 – I NEED Kit’s pants here. With the anchor and those buttons. I neeeeeeeed them. But we all know you’re just looking at Lori Petty’s boobies here because her shirt is pretty much see-through.

15:13 – Their father’s a creeper. I’m calling it now. He reminds me of a character from Creepshow.

15:54 – Jon Lovitz is everything.

18:53 – The Marla hate is harsh and really uncalled for, Penny!

20:26 – The orchestra is swelling, a tearful father-daughter goodbye, and–wait for it…YES! The American flag waving in the window reflection. Penny Marshall was like, “No we can go more patriotic. Get me a bigger flag! Bigger! More wind! More sad trumpets! YASS!”

22:30 – “Pickle tickle”. Maybe the greatest and most frequent euphemism used in my boudoir.

23:10 – It’s Madonna and Rosie! Why weren’t these besties on the same team? Oh, and notice that Doris might be wearing the hat from Mae’s uniform.

23:58 – Dottie caught a ball. And they all, like, fainted. Um, okay?

26:32 – I paused the movie. Not one damn joke name on the team lists. I’m so depressed.

32:30 – So, can’t we just have a sports movie about the in-laws playing croquet? I’d be there for that. I mean, they’re into it. Wicker wheelchairs, doilied servants getting knocked out. It’s intense! A Wicket of Their Own.

35:51 – It was in that moment that no one but Betty realized Jimmy just cursed her husband George in the Pacific. That card was his life force. He is now doomed. And all those other bitches can talk about is the line-up. Goodnight, sweet George.

37:25 – If you blink you’ll miss it: Rosie O’Donnell actually legit falls while running toward the field. A real-life oopsy.

38:19 – Ha, the guy spit out his gum when he gets hit with the baseball. Don’t know if that was planned, but it was brilliant.

38:36 – There are a lot of jokes about Jimmy Dugan’s cock and balls in this movie. His peeing, scratching, venereal diseases. I just want it noted. For the record.

38:39 – The Harvey Bar mascot is a thing of fucking nightmares! What IS that? And why does it actually sort of resemble Garry Marshall’s face?

44:36 – Ever since this scene, I always want a handful of dirt whenever I quit a job. Or leave a meeting. Or get out of a line. Okay, I just want to hit people in the face with dirt.

46:16 – Tom Hanks delivering the line “WHO’S LOU?” is everything. I mean, this whole sequence is cringey on behalf of Mrs. Cuthbert, but WHO’S LOU?

46:17 – Cool, cool. Let the super fall-down drunk guy drive the bus cuz otherwise it’d have to be a woman. A WOMAN. And we all know how we can’t drive, amiright?

50:42 – I told you Marla was gorgeous! I adore her and I adore Nelson. Chef’s kisses.

53:53 – The announcer is Squiggy! You know–from Laverne and Shirley? Schlemiel, schlimazel Hasenpfeffer Incorporated! We’re gonna do it!

59:30 – “Penis with a little hat on”. Hee hee.

1:01:28 – And now Madonna makes a try at acting. Take that, Mr. Chocolate Man. Actually I feel dirty and might pause to shower.

1:02:38 – Anyone else catch a glimpse of Stillwell Angel in the dugout being a real class moron? Love it.

1:04:53 – Completely inadequate nod to women of color. Yep. A real token moment that is fairly offensive in how glossy and brief it is.

1:05:08 – MARLA’S GETTING MARRIED! For a bit of fun, try to spy all of her teammates in the blue dresses.; Some of their hairstyles are wild.

1:05:40 – Fuck there’s a lot in this montage. Okay, so apparently that bruise on the leg was 100% real. No makeup. The actress actually bruised herself that badly during filming!

1:07:02 – Montage still going! Madonna just caught a ball with her cap. If I recall correctly, that would not qualify as an out. Has to be glove or hand. But then her bosoms came flying out, and…

1:09:09 – I love that the ladies absolutely observe the bus seating hierarchy. The fun people (Mae) sit at the very back, and the uptight kiss-asses sit way up front (Dottie with the chaperone and coach).

1:09:33 – Okay, now is where I get into why the hell we love Dottie as a protagonist. I mean, really, why? Why? She’s pretty and plays ball well. She’s also cold as ice (must be where her daughter gets it from), boring, stiff, and totally dispassionate. She also ends up screwing over the team more than once (oops, spoilers!).

1:17:07 – So much drama they had to do a side-wipe between scenes!

1:20:32 – All this low-key drama hyped to be the end of the world, and Ellen Sue is standing around nekkid. I mean, okay.

1:20:47 – Oh my god, not the fucking song! I need more wine for this. Lots and lots of fermented grapes.

1:21:15 – “We’ve got Canadians, Irish ones, and Swedes.” Oh dear lord. The lyrics.

1:21:29 – “She’s not the one to need or use an alibi”. What does that even mean?

1:22:22 – Betty’s vision is realized as the scary telegram man enters. The baseball card soul destruction magic was too powerful for George. Sad. This is also me pretending that this scene doesn’t make me tear up every time like a blubbery loser.

1:25:20 – It’s Bill Pullman! The quintessential 1990s hero. Even though he’s really bad at acting. But he’s cute, so, ya know.

1:29:12 – So, again, remind me why she’s the likeable protagonist? Granite lady’s going home to make babies and pretend she never had a personality.

1:34:27 – So let me get this straight: She ditches the team. She misses six games. No practices. Her arm is cold. Her mind is elsewhere. And now we’re supposed to be happy to see her? Alice is going to poison her fucking Coca Cola.

1:34:51 – “Besides, I’m no quitter.” No you really are. Textbook definition of quitter. You’ve attempted to quit twice. And by the end of the movie, you’ll quit again. Quitter, quitter catching shitter.

1:35:56 – Stillwell Angel, that was an amazing fall. Get that kid an Oscar. All the Oscars.

1:40:07 – The Racine team, I think their logo is supposed to be a beehive, but it looks like a yellow poop. Must be a cheese issue, cuz Wisconsin. Too much soft cheese. In logo form.

1:43:49 – GO LORI PETTY! You got this, girl!

1:45:58 – Okay. Stupid fucking Dottie. I’m gonna weigh in on his cinematic controversy right now: She didn’t do it on purpose. She didn’t “give” Kit that win. But also, she didn’t have the passion to hang on. So she screwed the team, and to my mind, put a big fat asterisk next to Kit’s victory. It could’ve been Kit’s own with Alice behind the plate. Instead, Dottie showed up just in time to be the worst. For everyone. No wonder her kids stuck her on a Greyhound and shoved her out of their houses.

1:53:20 – Not that fucking song again.

1:54:48 – Gatorade: Shameless sponsors of a film where they weren’t sure how to work their product in except for this.

1:58:24 – Wait, what? Marla ushers the old man over to the pic of Jon Lovitz and says, “Look, hon, there’s the man who changed my life.” Fine. I guess this must be Nelson. But then….the camera does the parallel cigar shot as if that man IS Jon Lovitz. WHO IS THAT GUY?

1:59:06 – Oh my god. Not that fucking song again. I was all teary and sentimental, and then Ellen Sue fucking starts that song. Noooooo!

1:59:52 – Hey, Kit’s kids and grandkids care enough to show up! (Take that, Dottie!) Though it does appear that Kit has become mute. Sad.

2:01:22 – End credits roll. I love it. Except that the end song, “This Used to Be My Playground” was not released by Madonna for the soundtrack. Twat. I remember bitching about how shitty that was on the walk home from school. It could’ve been a hit. (Baseball pun!)

So, after lots of mulling and wine (wine pun?) here are my alternate titles for this movie–which were difficult to come up with because everything sounded like a porno.

First my half-way serious attempts:

  • Dirt in the Skirt
  • Rockford Peaches
  • Lady Ball
  • Women Up to Bat
  • Pinch Hitters
  • Out of the Kitchen

Blech, those are still terrible (yet better than the actual title!). Here are the more porny ones that the husband unit and I came up with while finishing a bottle of wine:

  • While the Men are Away, the Girls Will Play
  • Bitches Be Ballin’
  • Bats, Balls, and Babes
  • Three Strikes and They’re In!
  • Catcher’s Tit
  • Homerun Honeys
  • I’ll Play If My Sister Can Join

And now for the alternate titles that are just patently offensive and stupid:

  • Dudes Drop the Ball
  • THESE Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend
  • Ovaries in the Outfield
  • Field of Queens
  • The Ladies Hit Back
  • From Udders to the Dugout
  • Take That Pop Fly, Hitler!
  • We’ll Make Do: The Story of How America Tolerated Women In Sports In Order to Sell Chocolate Bars While the Men Were Away Doing Something Important

With that, we will wrap up this rewatch and look forward to the next chance to offend war heroes and Tom Hanks’s penis.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: