Penny Marshall is pretty much Hollywood royalty. Not only will she always be loved for her role as Laverne DeFazio on the hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley, she went on to become one of the biggest directors of the 90s with hits like Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Big, Awakenings, Renaissance Man, The Preacher’s Wife, and Riding in Cars with Boys. And in 1992 she made one of her biggest hits reuniting with Tom Hanks for A League of Their Own, released this month in a new 25th Anniversary edition.
During World War II when so many men were off to war, American baseball team owners not wanting the sport to lie dormant decided to form women’s teams. While in Oregon, a scout finds Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis), who has incredible skills. Both Dottie and her sister Kit (Lori Petty) get chosen for a team managed by a former player and drunk (Tom Hanks) and after a lackluster season Dottie decides to change things up and make some changes that grab the attention of the fans but the sudden attention, while helping the team and the sport, may wreak havoc with the sisters’ relationship.
A League of Their Own is absolutely one of Marshall’s best films and hits every note perfectly. The story is compelling and has a basis in actual history, the cast including Davis, Petty, Hanks, Madonna, and a scene stealing Rosie O’Donnell are all at their peaks and hilarious, and the screenplay by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel is just magic with sharp, funny but intelligent dialogue, fleshed out relatable characters and perfect pacing. It has a deft blend of humor and drama and really leaves you with a genuine smile on your face.
This new 25th Anniversary Edition of A League of their Own features a brilliant new documentary about the film, the history and the enduring traditions that still exist today because of it. You also get a ton of deleted scenes, director and cast commentaries and a previous doc on the making of the film. A League of their Own is a true classic comedy and well worth revisiting.