League of Their Own, A [1992]

Penny Marshall's popular 1992 comedy sheds light on a little-known chapter of American sports history with its story of a struggling team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league was formed when the recruiting of soldiers during World War II resulted in a shortage of men's baseball teams. The AAGPBL continued after the war (until 1954), and Marshall's movie depicts the league in full swing, beginning when a savvy baseball scout (Jon Lovitz) finds a pair of promising new players in small-town Oregonian sisters (Geena Davis, Lori Petty). The sisters are signed to play for the Rockford Peaches near Chicago, whose new manager (Tom Hanks) is a former home-run king who wrecked his career with alcoholism. They're all a bunch of underdogs, and Marshall (with a witty script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel) does a fine job of establishing a colorful team of supporting players including Madonna and (in her movie debut) Rosie O'Donnell. It's a conventional Hollywood sports story (Marshall's never been one to take dramatic risks), but the stellar cast is delightful, and the movie's filled with memorable moments, witty dialogue, and agreeable sentiment. And just remember: there's no crying in baseball! --Jeff Shannon

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