A League of Their Own Character Review: Ira Lowenstein

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

The key to any successful business is marketing. The product or service can be the best thing since sliced bread, but without the buying public being aware of it, success is unlikely to happen. In A League of Their Own, Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) is the man behind the appeal of the AAGPBL. When his boss, Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) wants to close down the league due to the lack of an audience, it is Ira who keeps it alive. But, like any businessman, the cold truth of the bottom line counteracts the personal relationships of its employees. When Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) becomes a star, that spotlight adds to the long-simmering tension with her younger sister, Kit Keller (Lori Petty).

To sum it up: It takes vision, drive, and belief to make it in the business world. This is especially true when an idea is new, untested, and the response from the public is not what it was expected to be. What makes Ira special is that he believes in the players, even when it contradicts the ideals of the period and is not bringing in the expected profit.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

A League of Their Own Character Review: Marla Hooch

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*I apologize for not posting last week. Life got in the way.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Movie makeovers are not uncommon narratives. What makes one stereotypical and another unique is how the writer(s) approach the makeover. In A League of Their Own, Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanaugh) is not your average woman. Raised by her widower father, Marla was brought up as a boy. She can play baseball like no one’s business but was never taught the female graces of the era.

Brought to tryouts with sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty), she makes the team. Before they can get on the ballfield, they must go through etiquette lessons and a beauty expert. The response to Marla’s appearance is not unexpected.

Ironically, it is Marla who lives the traditional life. She meets her husband at a jukebox joint. After being given a lot of liquor and a tight dress, she gets on stage and starts to sing. Though she lacks the voice, the standard image of a beautiful woman, and the confidence without the liquid courage, she gets the guy. Marrying halfway through the season, Marla returns the next season to play with the Peaches.

To sum it up: Marla’s glow-up is more than a physical makeover. True beauty, as cliche as it sounds, comes from within. It is her belief in herself that not only gets her on to the team, but also provides the romantic life that might not have had otherwise.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

A League of Their Own Character Review: Doris Murphy

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Every era has its own ideal of female beauty. Though the external images change, the expectations of how to be a “proper woman” remain the same. This, of course, does not include playing sports in either a formal or informal team. In A League of Their Own, Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell) is far from the idealized 1940’s pinup (unlike her best friend Mae Mordabito). A resident of New York City, Doris has a zaftig figure and speaks with a stereotypical NYC accent.

Joining the AAGBPL gives her the opportunity to feel like an insider. After spending years feeling like an outsider due to her physical appearance and her love of baseball, Doris has finally found her people. She also finds the confidence to believe that she is worthy of being loved and not forced to be with someone for the sake of being with someone.

But she also has a temper. When Kit Keller (Lori Petty) has an argument with her sister Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis), Doris makes a joke at Kit’s expense, which leads to a fight that changes the course of their relationship. Doris does not just talk the talk. She walks the walk. When pushed, she is not one to be messed with.

To sum it up: Then and now, seeing women who are not a size 2 is still revolutionary. In both the character and actor looking like the average woman, it allows those of us who are not modelesque to see themselves on screen.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

A League of Their Own Character Review: Kit Keller

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It’s hard to be the younger sibling when your older sibling is perceived as a paragon of perfection. In A League of Their Own, Kit Keller (Lori Petty) feels as if she is in the shadow of her elder sister, Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis). When they are recruited to join the AAGPBL, Kit is eager to sign up, but Dottie would prefer not to. She only agrees to stay on when Kit convinces her to.

Though the sisters start on an equal playing field, Dottie quickly becomes a star. Kit’s insecurities start to get the best of her. The conflict between them starts to affect the rest of the team when Dottie insists that her sister can no longer play. As it was back home, Kit believes that she will never be seen as anything else than Dottie’s little sister. This eventually leads to Kit being traded. At the climax of their dispute, they meet on the ballfield as both the personal and professional issues collide.

The last time we see Kit, she is a woman of a certain age. The strife between the sisters is in the past, their relationship has come full circle, allowing them to regain the bond they had when they were younger.

What I think makes Kit relatable is her insecurities. Regardless of whether we are the oldest, the middle, or the youngest child, it’s difficult to walk your own path when you feel like you are fighting for the spotlight. The only way to move beyond this insecurity is to be bold enough to go your own way. In doing so, Kit finds the courage and confidence to make her own decisions, regardless of what Dottie may say or do.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

A League of Their Own Character Review: Dottie Hinson

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie A League of Their Own. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the movie. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When we have a certain skill, many would assume that we would build our lives and career around the skill. But not everyone is interested in that life. In A League of Their Own, Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) is discovered playing on a local baseball team during World War II. While waiting for her husband, Bob (Bill Pullman) to come home, she works in the family dairy with her parents and younger sister Kit Keller (Lori Petty). Convinced to try out for the AAGPBL, Dottie not only makes the team and joins the Rockford Peaches, she becomes its initial de facto leader and star. Coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) is at first more into drinking his days away than supporting his players. But as good as she is, this is not something she has dreamed of. It is just a way to pass the time until Bob comes home.

As the seasons wear on and Dottie becomes one of the faces of the league, the tension between her and Kit grows. Believing that she is forever in her elder sister’s shadow, Kit starts to resent Dottie. This soon spreads to the rest of the team, nearly sending Dottie home with her newly returned husband and Kit changing teams. It finally comes to a head during the World Series, when their respective teams play opposite one another.

By the time the last pitch is thrown and the game ends, the Peaches have lost. Dottie and Kit have both moved on emotionally and resumed the relationship they had before all of this started.

To sum it up: We all have talents and we all have choices. Depending on our perspective, we can either draw on those talents or choose to go down another path. Dottie obviously has the skill, but this is not her life’s goal. I admire that. She knows what she wants and goes for it, even if someone else disagrees with that decision.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Musings On The 25th Anniversary of A League of Their Own

This past weekend, the 1992 film, A League of Their Own, celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Taking place during World War II, it is the story of two sisters, Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty). While the boys are fighting their way across Europe, a girls baseball league, called the AAGPBL is created. Both Dottie and Kit try out and are chosen for the Rockford Peaches, coached by Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). But while their professional lives are a success, the relationship between the two sisters begins to degrade.

For a generation of young girls, this movie is nothing short of life changing. It was feminism without hitting the audience over the head. It was a history lesson that far from boring. It was the story of two sisters whose relationship felt normal and real. Most of all, it encouraged young girls to become athletes.

I recall seeing this movie in theaters back in the day and I remember walking out of the theater transformed. It was an amazing film then and 25 years later, it still is an amazing film.

I still can’t believe it’s been 25 years, time goes way too fast. Thanks for the memories.

Throwback Thursday Part Two- A League of Their Own

Today it’s very common to see women and girls involved in sports, as both a professional and an amateur.

Women in sports, as part of normal American life, is a relatively new idea. Thanks to Title IX and the AAGBPL, women have been more prevalent and respected in sports.

In 1992, A League of Their Own, brought the story of the AAGBPL to the movie going audience.

Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty) are sisters who play on local baseball teams in their spare time during World War II. With the men away, Walter Harvey (Gary Marshall) bankrolls a women’s baseball league. Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) is the former ball player chosen to coach the team that Dottie and Kit are playing with. Their teammates  include Mae Mordabito (Madonna), Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell) and Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh).

The drama of the story is  not just the women fighting for respect as ball players, but also the tension between the sisters.

After 22 years, this movie still holds up and is still an inspiration to girls who have been told no because they are girls.

I recommend this movie.

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