Old Lady Movie Night Old Lady Movie Night: ‘A League Of Their Own' Anne T. Donahue

WELL HELLO, EVERYBODY. First of all, hi, how are you? Second of all, I’m well, thanks for asking and OH MY GOD A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. Talk about a cinematic delight! We’ve got baseball, we’ve got montages, we’ve got Geena Davis, we’ve got Madonna swing dancing like no one has ever swing danced before and, as Netflix likes to categorize it, we have a movie “featuring a strong female lead”.

TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW. Things these women weren’t doing: joking around.

So before we begin, I’ll be honest: if I had a choice between selling all of my possessions and watching A League Of Their Own every day for the rest of my life, I would obviously choose the latter. There are two reasons why: 1) Because that ultimatum doesn’t even really make sense and 2) for about three months when I was 11, I DID watch A League Of Their Own every day (for the rest of my life). I bought the soundtrack, I forced my only friend to play baseball with me in the middle of our street and I convinced myself that I could bring swing dancing back if I juuuuuuust followed Madonna’s moves to a tee.

The bad news is that I did not learn to swing dance and I was really, really terrible at baseball. But the good news is that I now own this movie and baseball spring training has started and everything is right in the world. So let’s do this. Let’s watch A League Of Their Own and just embrace the tears that will inevitably start despite the fact that there is NO CRYING IN BASEBALL.

Dirt in the skirt!

1) The beginning of the movie is the only part I don’t really care about

Right? I mean, I love the older lady who plays Geena Davis, and I get that we have to understand how conflicted she is about going to the reunion, but ughhhhhhh I don’t CARE. I just want to watch Kit and Dottie fight about whether or not they need to lay off the high ones. “Mule!” – “Nag!” (Still did not know that “mule” was just a nice way of saying “ass” until I was writing this sentence right now. Please read this anyway.)

2) JOHN LOVITZ

Now talk about someone who can do no wrong. Did you know he improvised the scene with the cows? I did because I spent about three hours watching the extra features one day last summer when I probably should’ve been doing something else. But who cares! Now YOU know. And now you can tell YOUR friends that John Lovitz tooootally improvised that scene with the cow (“Will you SHUT UP!”) because the cow would not, in fact, shut up.

3) Until my 1295258th viewing, I thought Dottie and Kit played for “Lukash Diary”

And I was really, really mad because I was like, “UGH what a TYPICALLY sexist name for a team!” when it turns out they just played for the dairy they worked for. But still. John Lovtiz refers to Dottie as a “dolly” so I mean, that’s just the tip of the misogyny iceberg that this movie tackles SO WELL.

4) “You know something? You’re not nice!”

Remember when Dottie says that to John Lovitz and he’s like “OH! Nice retort!” OF COURSE YOU DO. It’s so clever! The only problem is, I thought that was SO clever that when I was 11 I tried to use it as an ACTUAL comeback to this bully when he was being the worst and, well, the good news was that I said it EXACTLY like Geena Davis – the delivery, the cold stare, everything. The bad news was that he looked at me like I was insane before bursting into laughter and saying something even meaner.

5) MARLA HOOCH

“Hooch … Hooch.” (WHAT A HITTER!) Now talk about a heart-wrenching storyline. Not only do we watch as her UNSPEAKABLE TALENT puts every baseball player in history to shame, we watch as she almost doesn’t leave because she loves her dad SO MUCH. Oh my goodness. Guys, the tears. The tears! Let them flow. Let them flow and let’s set sail on the river of emotion that’s curated by the one and only Marla Hooch. And you know what? SHE IS DAMN PRETTY. Let’s just be honest with ourselves and with each other. The actress who plays Marla Hooch is beautiful! We would all look “bad” if we straightened our hair with irons and looked up weirdly the way the director (PENNY MARSHAL – WHAT UP!) clearly instructed for the initial hat take-off scene. Because we saw the truth in the daylight. And when she’s singing to Nelson. (And when the actress who plays Marla Hooch was on Home Improvement as Al Borland’s GF.) MARLA RULES.

b) And then Dottie and Kit refuse to go with John Lovitz because he won’t take her and IT ALSO RULES

“GOD ALMIGHTY” – Cathy Bates in Titanic, obviously in awe after watching this scene take place. Sisterhood! Valuable life lessons. Standing up for people. THIS IS HOW THE WORLD NEEDS TO BE.

6) Hands up if you can do the Rosie O’Donnell bat trick!

Are your hands up? Because they should be. RAISE YOUR HANDS IN THE HAIR AND WAVE THOSE BATS AROUND LIKE YOU JUST DON’T CARE. It’s actually not a very hard trick to do. Until you try to flip it, but that’s besides the point, and if you don’t flip it, you can toooootally balance it for a second or two and pretend you are Doris with the fantastic comedic timing. Also, what is up with Mae telling her she’s got a big ass? Step off, May. Lose the ‘tude.

7) I wish I was as cool ever as Dottie is in that one scene when she catches that ball

I love this movie more than words, but why would Doris just whip the ball at Dottie? Could you imagine? “Hey – I’m new here. I hear I’m on a bit of a probation at work?” WHIP. Someone whips their laptop at you. You wouldn’t catch it. None of us would. And that ish is big. But a baseball? A baseball being whipped at your face? There is a reason I went to the ER with a black eye in grade six (age 11 – seeing a theme here, guys?) and that is because I was not good at catching a ball.

8 ) MONTAGE SET TO ’40S MUSIC

I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing or what you wish you could do, you turn on this movie right now and you watch THE ONLY MONTAGE THAT HAS EVER MATTERED EVER IN MOVIES OR IN LIFE. Geez. I will also have you know that the “official” soundtrack includes this jazzy little number, so treat yourself to what will now be your power anthem from now until kingdom come.

9) Are you serious right now, uniforms?

Just the worst. Just terrible. Just the saddest thing in the history of the world. I remember thinking when I first saw this movie, “OH, this is kiiiiind of cute,” but then I remembered that THEY WERE THE DEVIL. Those uniforms are actually whatever impregnated Rosemary in Rosemary’s Baby. Imagine sliding in those? Imagine trying to play a SPORT? Noooooope. Those women were troopers. Especially in that one scene where Alice the other catcher basically destroys her thigh. (REMEMBER? You will. That scene is coming in ANOTHER MONTAGE.)

10) The scene where Jimmy and Gary Marshal are talking = bore me to tears

I love Tom Hanks. This is not news. I love him so much that I would watch Bosom Buddies for an eight-month stint even though I TRULY fell in love with Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (read: You’ve Got Mail). And I know that this scene is very, very important to understanding Jimmy’s character and his past and Gary Marshal’s cash-money agenda, but … I can’t. I don’t know why, but nope. I’m shallow, I understand that. But I really just want to watch him interact with the team and watch the team kick ass and watch the All-American Girls Baseball League become the monumental thing it was. CALL ME OLD-FASHIONED, call me vapid. (Just don’t call me late for dinner.)

11) BREAKING NEWS: Jimmy clearly had a bladder infection

Because peeing for 36 minutes straight without a break is not right, it is an issue, and  it sounds like it could imply a very serious problem that I recommend getting tested for.

(I hear you, Madge.)

12) But seriously, Jimmy’s transformation from pig to awesome guy is a transformation for the books

So he goes from “BALL PLAYERS! I haven’t got ball players, I’ve got girls!” (AWFUL) to defending his coaching position TO THE GROUND. Can we all just have another good cry about how he transforms from a tortured, ignorant human being to the type of person I would gladly let be my life coach? Guys, I just love Tom Hanks so much that I am secretly hoping he finally comments on something I write and says, “Anne. It’s totally cool. Let’s be best friends.” LET’S, TOM. LET’S BE BEST FRIENDS.

13) Just imagine having a child like Stillwell Angel

Now I am going to be honest. I am not 100% sold on the having children thing, and that’s fine for me, that’s just my call, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to judge me just like how I would never judge anyone who wanted an army of kids. To each their own, you know? But I WILL (and would) judge anyone who had a child like Stillwell Angel, and I believe I am kiiiiind of entitled to that. I mean, DISCIPLINE YOUR KID. HE IS THE WORST. Imagine being on a bus with him? IMAGINE. I cannot. I cannot imagine it because it makes me want to cry tears of frustration and whatever Tom Hanks endured in Cast Away when screaming “WILSON!!!!” Trapped. In a bus. With this child HITTING ME IN THE HEAD WITH HIS WEIRD STICK TOYS. I feel anxious.

14) Really uncool of Mae to poison Ms. Cuthbert’s dinner

She could’ve done ANYTHING else. But have you guys had the flu before? Do you know how much throwing up sucks? Yeah, you do. It is the stuff of nightmares and torture. So Mae’s got some PRETTY BAD karma coming her way because of that little trick. One MIGHT say the whole team lost the series because of what Mae did. (I won’t. But one might.)

15) THE SWING DANCING SCENE

But forget about Ms. Cuthbert! Who needs her! We’ve got dancing and we’ve got sweet moves and we’ve got Madonna showing us a thing or two! I have never wanted to live in 1942 more, ever in my life, and for these three beautiful minutes WE ALL LIVE IN 1942. (And then you turn on the TV and you see what dancing is now, and it’s like UGHHHHHHHHHH our generation, right? So embarrassing sometimes.)

16) What IS Mae telling the priest?

As a bona fide “old lady” (FYI pals: The title “Old Lady Movie Night” refers to me essentially being Sofia from Golden Girls – not to you guys being old for liking these movies – PROMISE), I STILL do not know what is going on in that confessional. I mean, I think I know. I also know that they are in two separate rooms, but more importantly, I know that something is going ON and I don’t even want to know. I just… no thank you. Tooooo weird, everybody. I will pass.

17) YEAH DORIS, SEND THAT TERRIBLE BOYFRIEND AWAY

I love this scene. I love it SO MUCH. I love how Doris is just opening up to Penny Marshal’s daughter (who plays Betty Spaghetti FYI, y’all), and she is just OVER this crap. That’s what you get, loser boyfriend. SO LONG CHARLIE indeed! EMPOWERMENT, you know? Sisterhood! For the millionth time! I think we should all just watch this scene any time anyone makes us feel like we’re weird and something’s wrong with us when nothing is. And maybe we are weird but WHO CARES just be yourselves.

18) There IS no crying in baseball

There isn’t. There is not. Do you guys watch baseball? There is no crying. There isn’t! Just none. Zero. He is just being honest. And that takes guts, I’ve heard once or twice.

b) “Did anyone ever tell you that you looked like a penis with a little hat on?”

And I will tell you that 11-year-old Anne thought that was the wittiest dialogue she had ever heard in her entire life. (Update: 26-year-old Anne till thinks that it is the wittiest dialogue she has ever heard in her entire life.)

19) MONTAGE SET TO MORE ’40S MUSIC!

AND ANOTHER ONE! This time with fireworks and photographs and that cover of LIFE. “I can’t do that!” says Racine’s bat catcher, seeing Dottie do the splits, setting this wondrous montage in motion. “Who can?” asks the coach, who is obviously one of us. Like, I can’t. Can you? Don’t answer me unless the answer of “NO OF COURSE NOT, ARE YOU INSANE?” because I don’t want to feel inadequate for still trying to touch my toes and failing miserably every time. (Sidenote: It always bums me out that Marla Hooch leaves for the season after getting married. You’re married, not dead, Marla! PLAY YOUR DEBUT SEASON YOU ONLY DEBUT ONCE.)

20) I can’t be the only person who secretly hoped Dottie and Jimmy would end up together

And listen. I love Bill Pullman. I love him ALMOST as much as I love Tom Hanks. But that’s the thing – he is not Tom Hanks. And I can’t be the only person – like I just said in the title – who really, really wanted maybe Dottie and Jimmy to fall in love and Bill Pullman to just come back and be like, “You know? This isn’t working – I love Sandra Bullock, who I met when I was in my time machine being in While You Were Sleeping.” And then everyone would just laugh and be best friends and I would be invited over, and I would be dating Tom Hanks from Sleepless In Seattle and don’t ask questions, let me live in this fantasy world where everyone knows me.

21) Calm down, Kit

I am just going to say it. When Kit totally freaks out and has a tantrum first on the field, then in the locker room, then at the house and it’s like SIMMER DOWN YOU ARE CREATING A SCENE. And okay, I get it. The other day I was tired and I started to cry because this YouTube video was kind of sad, but mostly because I’d have to leave the house to go get coffee and I had a headache, so I understand EXACTLY how Kit Keller feels being traded from her beloved team. But here are the things that I am feeling during the scene in the house:

a) Who is going to pay for the damage to the window in the house? Not Kit, I bet, who has left for Racine.

b) YOU GO, DOTTIE TELLING KIT WHAT’S WHAT.

c) LOL for real to “Has anyone seen my new red hat?” That WAS uncalled for, Dottie. (“Oh, piss on your hat!”) Also hilarious. Like, if this wasn’t already a movie I would say, MAKE IT A MOVIE! And by the way, Mae totally took Helen’s new red hat. Thief.

22) RIP Betty Spaghetti’s husband

Oh my goodness, no. No no no. This is where we can all just let our emotions out for the 18th time and cry and cry because THIS IS REAL and oh my God, Betty cries and then Doris cries and everybody is crying and GEORGE : (  UGHHHHH. Pass me whatever candy any of you may be eating because stress eating is the only way I will not damage my keyboard with tears.

b) OH GOD AND THEN DOTTIE CRIES AND BILL PULLMAN SHOWS UP AND MORE TEARS YET NEVER ENOUGH

WHY DIDN’T I REMEMBER HOW SAD THIS MOVIE COULD BE? I LOVE YOU, BILL PULLMAN I TAKE BACK WHAT I SAID. You are so beautiful and wonderful and you are calling Dottie a cutie and I just want to embrace you EXACTLY THE WAY DOTTIE DOES IN THIS SCENE. So handsome. SO HANDSOME AND SO SENSITIVE AND I LOVE YOU. And he looks at her and it’s just like, OH MY GOD YOU ARE SO IN LOVE. We are all so in love (with Bill Pullman but he’s mine let me have this for one second in my life).

23) Dottie about to leave without telling Jimmy? NOOOOPE.

Who does that? I don’t know about you, but I usually tell somebody when I’m leaving their BIRTHDAY DINNER let alone the team that people depend on me to be on. What is that even about? Did it get too hard, Dottie? Too difficult? Just a challenge? SORRY ABOUT YOUR TALENT, DOTTIE. I just… no. I can’t. Thank GOD she comes back because if she did not, I can 100% guarantee that Geena Davis would be held responsible (in my heart) for every personal failure, ever. (Including running out of granola bars just now and having a run in the tights I just bought.) But you’re off the hook, Geena. We’re cool.

24) POLL: Did Dottie drop the ball on purpose?

This has been a debate for the ages, I know, but I think we really need to ask ourselves the big question: did Dottie drop the ball on purpose to let Kit win? Did she? For a very long time I didn’t think so, but at the same time, I think she MAY have because it was the ultimate way to give Kit something. BUT THEN Kit’s homerun wouldn’t have meant so much? I DON’T KNOW. Tell me what to think right now. I feel so confused and filled with struggle. I need answers, and I need closure.

25) Let’s just focus on Stillwell Angel to make the ending of this movie less sad

So Rockford loses, but the older versions of every player get inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame, and it’s beautiful and heartwarming and it’s the greatest love song of all time. But then we find out that Jimmy died and Evelyn died, and Stillwell’s a beautiful lovely man and Kit and Dottie are reuniting and YUP it’s tear-time in the movie house. So instead, let’s just all laugh about when Tom Hanks throws his mit at Stillwell and he falls (but he’s not hurt – I’m not advocating violence) but he SHUTS UP FOR ONCE and that is the greatest gift of all. “AH-HA-HA-HA! GOT HIM!”

Yes you did, Tom Hanks. Yes you did.

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  1. Yes to Geena and Tom! I totally thought they would sort of end up together somehow. And I totally think Dottie dropped it on purpose. What a big sista.

  2. So many of my one-liners come from this movie! Love, love love it. OH- See the way it works is; the train moves, not the station! I haven’t nodded my head in agreement at anything in so long. Also- Dotti totally dropped the ball on purpose.

  3. No mention of the SONG! That was always my favorite part, especially when they sing it at the end and Meg teaching reading through dirty books! Seriously, best movie ever!

  4. This is one of those perfect movies. Laughs, tears, heart, and message. I still quote this movie more often than not… any woman I meet named Betty gets called ‘Betty Spaghetti’… usually receives a laugh by a Betty, although I have had to explain it a few times. “Dirt in the skirt Mae!”

  5. I used to watch this movie every Sunday as a kid when I’d be over at my grandparents house for dinner. They only owned like three videos for me to watch, but I never had a problem watching this movie once a week every week for many years. It’ll always have a special place in my heart.

  6. Oh my goodness – thank you infinitely for such a beautiful compliment. That really means a lot to hear. : )

    Anne T. Donahue | 3/15/2012 03:03 pm
  7. Im sooo crying right now because i had forgotten about this movie and how much it defined me as a believer in myself as a female the first time I saw it. I have no words for how much you mean to me right know Anne :) and thank you thank you thank YOU. From the happiest place in my heart!

  8. this movie inspired me to become a catcher…. which i totally was for about 6 years in high school and college. Thanks for that one Geena Davis ;)

  9. Oh I love this movie! My mom made me a uniform so I could dress up as one of the Rockford Peaches for Halloween! I had dark brown hair back when I did that, I looked very much like Madonna’s character lol