A League of Their Own Review


It’s time to look at a sports film based on true events. It’s essentially a real event but replacing the characters with film versions so it’s fictionalized enough where I can write a review for it. It’s a pretty fun film even if one of the characters really is a little too exaggerated. It’s probably not the first sports flick I would recommend to someone, but it gets the job done and I can finally add another Baseball film to my collection.

The film starts off with Dottie as a senior citizen remembering the good ole days. The rest of the film is the flashback. World War II is at hand so everyone is being drafted into the army. Many jobs are now empty and so the women are picking up the slack. There are many documentaries about this period in time where the world saw for the first time that men weren’t the only ones capable of handling all these jobs. One such occupation was Baseball! The committee has decided that the game must go on so scouts are sent across the country looking for fine candidates. They come across the two main characters, Dottie and Kit. Dottie isn’t interested in joining, but Kit is desperate for a chance to show her mettle and the scout won’t take her without the lead. Dottie ends up going, but will her skills be enough to help her team win the World Series?

Dottie is definitely a pretty solid main character. She’s a natural leader and quickly takes command of the team when their coach isn’t quite up to task. She is also a very good baseball player and appears to be the best in the league. Catching the baseball during the initial tryouts was a good way to protect her friends from the bullies as well. Things nearly got dicey there so it was good that she could back up her tough talk. I do think Dottie starts to falter towards the second half of the film. She’s very quick to leave the team near the climax. There is never any indication that her husband would have been opposed to her playing the last games. It seemed like she was making an issue out of nothing.

The ending of the film is also pretty unsatisfying and ends up not working out very well for Dottie. The film leaves it up to your interpretation on if she held back or not. I like to think that she didn’t hold back because it would not have been the ending that either character in the situation would have wanted. Furthermore it feels like a betrayal to the rest of the team. Honestly if I were the rest of the team I’d be pretty upset by this point. Dottie wasn’t around fro the first 6 games so maybe she shouldn’t have even been put in for the final one. It just wasn’t the ending I was hoping for.

Meanwhile Kit is the other big character, but she can get a bit annoying. She has a bad habit of blaming Dottie for everything. Dottie is supportive throughout the film, but when things go badly for Kit she turns on the lead. Kit’s a pretty good pitcher and Dottie gave her the opportunity to play in the league. That being said, if she can’t hold on to enough stamina to finish the game then that’s on her. Dottie has nothing to do with that. Then that led to the trade disagreement which either way worked out pretty well for Kit. Ultimately, Kit just didn’t have much of a character arc and so I felt like she got a little too rewarded for not really doing much of anything. It’s not that Kit is a bad character, she would likely grow out of the blame game. The problem is that Dottie is the one who really deserved the win here. If not her, then certainly her teammates.

The supporting cast in the group isn’t bad. It’ll likely be very hard for you to memorize all of the names though as there are quite a few supporting characters. The former dancer had the most personality I’d say. She definitely didn’t want to go back to her old life and so she supported the baseball league as much as she could. She may have had the strongest drive of them all. While the girls started off as just fellow players on the same team by the end they’re all a close knit team. One of the players was even taught how to read by the others. That’s true camaraderie.

Then we have the coach. Jimmy does not want to be here. He used to be a big player in his own right before he injured his knee and was forced into early retirement. As a result he seems rather resentful for a large chunk of the movie. It takes a while for him to finally get invested. (Although in the scene where he tries to steal control of the team from Dottie the player did a poor job. She absolutely should have stuck by Dottie) Once he is with the team he’s a better character. It’s a character arc that you see a mile away, the problem is that the film overplayed its hand during the first half. Jimmy just doesn’t show any class. He spits on people, discourages everyone, and just seems kind of gross. The scenes with him and the caretaker of the team are really bad as well. It’s an example at the film’s attempt at comedy which ends up failing quite miserably. It’s also really hard for him to climb back from ripping one of the girl’s cards in half. That card was really important to her and it’s not like he ever apologized on screen either. I think he was too far gone by the end.

This movie excels when the baseball games are being played. However, the parts away from the game are a bit weaker. For example, the scene of the characters heading to a bar to mess around was pretty forced. I don’t think the scene was needed and it definitely dragged on. It was a bit cringy and while some of the romances there may have stuck around, it all could have occurred under better circumstances. The writing isn’t great, but it is good enough for the majority of the film. It was cool seeing the guy from Independence Day show up for a quick cameo near the end. That was neat even if the character himself seemed rather annoying.

While accurate, the film also makes the baseball committee look really bad. They only care about the money and are ready to ditch the whole league at a moments notice. They force the main characters to wear costumes that certainly aren’t very practical to try and appeal to the audience. The gimmicks they have to do to boost ratings is pretty sad. I think we could have done without all of that. As the audience you know that the crowd in the film is pretty depraved. We don’t need to acknowledge it any further than that.

Overall, A League of Their Own is a good film. The ending, that one bar scene, and Jimmy hold it back a little but at the end of the day I’ll give it a thumbs up. I think the film could have probably been further improved if the length was chopped down a bit, but it did avoid giving up the big play so to speak. It may have had some weak moments but it didn’t have any downright bad ones where I thought, “this film just fell under” If you enjoy Baseball films and want to see a nice version of how this team got going then this is a good one to check out. See what you think of the ending.

Overall 5/10

Advertisements

The Greatest Showman


It’s time to look at a fairly recent film that did quite well for itself. I’m sure many people have heard of the famous Barnum circus for which this film is based off of. When I was a kid I went to a few circus shows, but it didn’t really follow me as I entered my teen years. I sort of just grew out of the circus. It’s certainly impressive with how they are able to perform the acts many times over without an incident but it just isn’t as exciting as a nice arcade or in this case, watching a movie about a circus. The Greatest Showman is a fun film even if the main character adds some unnecessary drama.

So the film starts off with Barnum having a dream where he is the greatest showman on Earth. Everyone loves his shows. Then he wakes up in reality where he is a commoner who works for the rich. Everyone disrespects him and his father dies from all of the pressure. Barnum decides that he will be a great man someday. He gets a nice 9-5 job and ends up marrying his childhood friend Charity. They are low on money, but still have a good life. One day Barnum loses his job so he decides to gamble on the circus. Now he can make his dream a reality. His circus is a very different one as he decides to only hire people with a unique act. A lady with a beard, a guy with tattoos, a guy who is short, the Wolf Man, etc. He gets them all together and the show is a big success. Still, it isn’t enough. Barnum wants to keep getting more and more famous no matter what it ends up costing him!

You can probably already guess how this can get a little dicey. Barnum had literally achieved his dream. The show was amazing and he was rich enough to quickly move into a castle. Then he decides to risk it all by letting the fame get to him. He ditches the people who got him this far to go on a tour with a rich celebrity. He even comes close to having an affair on the side. He manages to avoid making this mistake, but isn’t quick enough to prevent the singer from pulling him into a scandal. It adds some extra drama and suspense to the film, but honestly it wasn’t needed. Perhaps the film would have been a little too happy otherwise I guess, but they could have just kept the whole circus in flames scene and that would have delivered the necessary tension.

So, I can’t say that I liked Barnum. When you achieve your dreams and still aren’t satisfied, then it’s tough to sympathize with a character like that. He learns the error of his ways by the end, but it was awful late for that. They probably should have just restarted without him. A shame since he was a quality character for the first half of the film. His wife Charity was certainly more enjoyable than him. She kept it real throughout the film and never let herself get corrupted. She defied her extravagant lifestyle and risked it all to live the life of a pauper. I can’t picture Barnum making the same decision.

Philip was the other co-star here. He decides to also put aside his rich life to have fun at the circus. He is a fun character but his romance started a little too quickly. He falls for one of the performers almost instantly and even then he can’t stay strong after hearing the super singer Jenny who apparently ensnares everyone while in the act. Philip is a charismatic character, but he needs to have more willpower than that. I can see why Anne was worried about starting anything with him after such a moment and I don’t blame her.

In general I can’t say that the romance here was all that good. Perhaps sticking to just one romance plot instead of having 2 would have helped. The main character one I can understand and it did take years so it’s not like they married out of the blue. Philip’s romance on the other hand just feels tacked on. What happened to keeping up the friend zone while at work? They don’t have time to be getting distracted like this.

As this is a musical there are quite a few songs in here. For the most part they are pretty solid. I think the cicus troup probably can’t sing quite as well as the main characters but they do well enough. The best song in the film is certainly the one in the bar between Barnum and Philip. The bartender there was low key the best character in the film. I like how he always had the drinks ready and would slide up and down the aisle as he followed the dance. He knew that he was going to make a lot of money out of these 2 guys and he was absolutely right. When there is a buck to be made you can’t afford to hesitate. That’s what it means to be a true performer. They should have hired the performer to get an act. I do have to say that if I were Philip I would have certainly turned down the offer though. Losing everything just to get to be in a circus? I dunno, doesn’t really seem like a tempting offer to me.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is definitely a pretty fun film. There is a short period in the film where it starts to get rather somber and dramatic, but for the most part it’s pretty lighthearted. The first half of the film probably does beat the second half, but it’s still a good all around film. It never drags on and the cast is likable for the most part. They all simply lack willpower and the conviction to see their dreams through to the end. Better luck next time in that regard I guess. I’d recommend checking out this film especially if you like musicals but also if you like a good time at the circus.