Anne T. Donahue
May 31, 2014 3:31 pm

It’s an important time, you guys. Baseball is happening, my team (the Toronto Blue Jays) are at the top of the MLB pile (knocks on wood/performs every act of superstition to exist), and I finally know what it feels like to be alive. Correction: I finally understand what Joseph Gordon-Levitt felt like in Angels in the Outfield as the Angels transformed themselves into living, breathing works of art. And I finally understand why I keep referring to Angels in the Outfield at every baseball game. (Because it rules.)

Here’s the thing about Angels in the Outfield: it’s a precious treasure. It taught us about family. About friends. About Tony Danza outside of Who’s the Boss. About how flapping your arms — much like quacking in The Mighty Ducks — will guarantee personal and professional success. In fact, the only thing it didn’t teach us what that there is no crying in baseball — which is why it’s also important to watch A League of Their Own every single day.

So to continue our theme of movies that have shaped us via VHS rentals, here’s our next Old Lady Movie Night installment: Angels in the Outfield. This is for you, any MLB player reading this. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. The L.A. Angels will always matter because of this movie

I think that’s just something we need to acknowledge right now: I will ALWAYS care about how the Angels are doing because I watched them get help from celestial beings. We all did. (Oh god, please tell me we all did — imagine if you were like, “Anne . . . no, none of that happened?”) And I know Tony Danza and Danny Glover aren’t on the team, and are actors, and have never (ever!) been recruited to the MLB, but I don’t care. THIS TEAM MATTERS. Because of 1994. And a movie made in it. And more specifically Christopher Lloyd, who I assume is responsible for every good play. It’s as simple as that.

2. Roger’s Dad is a monster

A MONSTER. The man is A MONSTER. This is a grown man telling a tiny little Joseph Gordon-Levitt that he will (SARCASTICALLY) come back “when the Angels win the Pennant.” WHAT?! Who does that? I mean, I know people do that all the time, but this man is a BAD PERSON. “When will you come back, Dad?” – “When the Angels win the Pennant.” AKA NEVER. If I wrote this movie, Brenda Fricker — aka the homeless lady in Home Alone 2, thank you very much — would walk up to this creature and say, “Get off my driveway, I am an award-winning actress, and I will now take custody of the child you don’t care about.” And then we’d just watch an actual baseball game. So granted, if I wrote this movie, it wouldn’t be Angels in the Outfield. Another important lesson: it’s good I didn’t write Angels in the Outfield.

3. Danny Glover’s character might be better than all of us

So this kid tells an MLB coach that he can see angels, and while Danny Glover obviously has some reservations (to say the least), he’s FINE WITH IT. His problem? None. He’s INTO THIS SITUATION. Look, I’m not saying all movies have to cast such understanding characters, but if it were me, I’d think the most obvious thing of all: ghosts. I would assume that Roger was a ghost, and that these angels were ghosts, and that I was probably also dead. Or, that Roger was a wizard. (“You’re a wizard, Roger!”) I would not employ Roger because I would assume he was more powerful than he could possibly imagine. But Danny Glover? He just believes him and gives him a job. Speaking of which . . .

4. Roger probably should’ve been paid in some capacity for his role in Angels’ glory

As a kid, I watched this and thought, “AMAZING! Look at him! Succeeding! Victory for all!” And as an adult, I watch and think, “Well maybe Brenda Fricker and Roger could’ve earned some money for this very important role in the success of professional sports’ team. Is that not fair? Listen, I KNOW Danny Glover adopts Roger and JP, but all I am saying is that IN ADDITION to that maybe somebody could’ve gotten paid for their time, THAT’S ALL.

5. Friendship is not getting mad at JP for telling the sports anchor about Roger seeing angels

Friendship is also believing Roger can really see the angels at all. THEN, friendship is not losing it on JP for blowing the secret. Even though…

6. No sports anchor would be out to ruin a team or a coach (unless he was OUT OF HIS MIND)

I mean, let’s think about every sports anchor we know and love (or not love, but just know). Right. So maybe they HATE a team. Maybe! Who knows. But even if they hate someone SO MUCH that their entire life is now dictated by that hate, they will STILL not jeopardize their career by trying to bring that person down. Why? Because they are earning literal millions announcing ball games every day. In real life, Ranch Wilder would be shot down so quickly by his anchor-in-crime. Also, how did anyone let it get this far? “George is getting a kid who sees angels to help!” he would say. Every other person would be embarrassed to be a part of that conversation, assuming George was just being kind to a child. Right? I mean, RIGHT?!

7. This movie, though, will restore your faith in basically everything

Because just as George is about to experience a major downfall at the hands of Ranch “THIS is the battle I choose to fight” Wilder, Brenda Fricker and Roger and JP and THE WHOLE TEAM have his back as a human being. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine tuning in for a press conference and seeing THAT? I can, because I saw it played it out in this very movie, Angels in the Outfield. And I’ll tell you what I did: I cried. Because even though I know this movie isn’t real, I knew and I know now that if it all really came down to it, seeing something like this happen in real life would inspire me to live a better one. Or at the very least, make it MY life’s mission to take down Ranch Wilder.

8. If you DON’T make the angel arms during Angels or ANY baseball games, you are wrong

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I care about the Jays. (And then the Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox.) But if I DID care about the Angels more than “WE MUST CRUSH THEM” (aka like a sports fan of an opposing team), I would pledge my allegiance via angel-wing arm signs. Why? Because it’s BEAUTIFUL, that’s why. Little JGL. In his baseball t-shirt. Signalling that Christopher Lloyd is all up in the team’s grill? THIS IS POETRY. And honestly don’t tell me if JGL doesn’t like the Angels in real life because that would break my heart.

9. The Tony Danza storyline is heartbreaking, and almost uncalled for JUST LIKE LIFE ITSELF

So far, Angels in the Outfield has taught up about horrible adults, wonderful adults, little boys with gifts, and what makes a family. But then it deals this OTHER hand: Tony Danza the Pitcher is going to die because he’s a smoker. WHAT?! WHY!? I’ll tell you why: because life is unfair, and it’s about time Roger– oh wait. He was already well aware of that. His life was already REALLY HARD. Disney, what are you doing? Are YOU a representative of life? Because just when I thought I could trust you, you turn around and BOOM. Metaphor. Or something. Either way, my heart.

10. Probably the most important lesson: no coach would ever — EVER — allow their pitcher to pitch 159 pitches in the championship game

NEVER. NEVER EVER. Never would that happen. Why? Because rings and monies are on the line, and it’s already obscene if somebody’s pitched 101. At that point in the game, most of us sit back and think, “Call to the bullpen, coach.” And then he does, and the game continues, and we are content. Forcing someone to pitch 159 is INSANE. In fact, forcing him to finish a game? Without the angels? That’s just cruel. (And I know he’s not “forcing” him and this is about “believing” in somebody, but I personally believe in that poor man’s arm and the fact Dottie took Kit out of a game in inning 9 because she was throwing grapefruits — if you recall.)

10. b) Second most important lesson: um, the ending of this movie is amazing?

Is that a life lesson? I think so, because when I think of Angels in the Outfield, I put my hand over my heart involuntarily and say, “Oh, I love that movie.” First, Roger and JP are now legally brothers because of Danny Glover. Second, Danny Glover believed in Roger, and Roger believed in the team. And somewhere, Roger’s dad is like . . . I don’t know. Imagine the worst life you could possibly lead without it physically hurting you. So like, maybe he sells name tags when his dream is to dance. SOMETHING. Anyway. The point is, this is a movie that proves two things: 1) family is what you make it (PREACH), and 2) baseball is amazing.

Also, 3) Christopher Lloyd is the Hagrid of sports and/or science films. Discuss.

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