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A League of Their Own: DVD Special Edition

Genre: , ,

Cast: Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell

Director: Penny Marshall

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: April 20th, 2004
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Overall Grade: A-

A League of Their Own: DVD Special Edition

Review By: Staff

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A League of Their Own (Special Edition)

Review by: Alysa Salzberg

It's a sad truth that some movies just don't stand the test of time. But even as I sat down to watch A League of Their Own for the first time in several years, I had no fear that this would be the case here. There are so many memorable moments and performances in the film, that I remembered them just as clearly as I had the day after I'd last seen it. Yet they're so well-acted and "”written that League has that wonderful quality of feeling fresh and compelling no matter how many times you've seen it before. To cite just one example, regardless of how many times it was shown in the DVD's special features, not to mention how many times I've heard people quote it, Tom Hanks' "There's no crying in baseball!" scene still made me crack up.

If you want a flick you can sit down and watch and become totally immersed in, A League of Their Own is the movie for you. And that's not just meant for girls. Though it deals with girls playing ball, A League of Their Own is anything but a chick flick. These girls play hard and play passionately, and the personal journeys they go through are universal, peppered with insight and humor. We get pitcher Kit (Lori Petty), a younger sibling living a perfect older sib’s shadow; "All the Way" Mae Mordabito (Madonna, proving that not all of her movies are destined to bomb), an exuberant lady with a lust for life…and other things besides; Doris (Rosie O'Donnell), a tough woman who learns to let go of her insecurities; and numerous other girls who find love, heartbreak, and, above all, a chance to do something they never thought they would, all on this epic journey to make something of their lives, and, at the same time, to just go out there and play a great game. Joining them are scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz, hysterical), and Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks, in arguably one of his best roles ever), a disgruntled alcoholic former ballplayer, who's now disgustedly coaching the girls' team, the Rockford Peaches. Maybe the most intriguing character of all, though, is Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis), Kit's older sister, who plays ball as marvellously and effortlessly as the rest of us watch it, yet who doesn't profess to love the game as passionately as her teammates do. To Dottie, baseball seems a fun distraction, while for some of the other girls, it's life itself. Characters like these, male or female, are people we can all relate to, or have encountered in our own lives, and watching their dramas and destinies

play out on the screen is thoroughly engaging.

Since many of you already know how cool this absorbing/inspiring/often hilarious movie is, I won't go on about it any more. If you don't know, I recommend it to you with all my heart. Especially now, since, finally, A League of Their Own has its own Special Edition DVD, packed with extras and more behind the scenes information than you can shake a catcher's mitt at. At last, a hero gets its proper due.

Here's the Special Edition DVD's lineup (as a baseball coach might say):

1. Audio Commentary with director Penny Marshall, and cast members Megan Cavanagh (“Marla Hooch” ), and Tracy Reiner (“Betty ‘Spaghetti’ Horn”). This commentary shows how strongly everyone remembers working on the picture, more than ten years later, as well as the camaraderie between cast and crew. Fond memories, interesting factoids, and information abound.

2. Deleted Scenes. There's fifteen "” count them, fifteen deleted scenes here. Some are very short and light, and, while they don't seem as pointless as many movies' deleted scenes tend to seem, I'd say, though, that overall, they might be more fun for big fans. BUT "” scenes 13-15 are fascinating, and show that, if they'd been kept in the film, so much of what happens would be seen in a very different "” and far more melodramatic "” light. I, for one, am glad they were cut. Especially since one of the things I love and respect about the movie is the charged, yet chaste friendship that develops between Dottie and Jimmy. So, check these last few scenes out.

3. "Nine Memorable Innings." This hour-long documentary takes you into just about every aspect of making A League of Their Own, from the auditions (the stars, we find out, had to already play baseball, or be trainable), to the impact of factors like having a woman director working in the typically male-dominated genre of the sports flick. Worth watching if you enjoyed the movie, or, if you're curious about any of its aspects, since it's conveniently broken up into chapters based on subjects.

4. Filmographies. Isn't it cool that sweet, stubborn little sister Kit, is played by the same person who played Tank Girl? Lori Petty, you have range.

5. Madonna's "This Used to be My Playground" video. A pretty example of one of Madonna's less popular ballads. The video's a bit sappy, but the song's appropriately sad, in a "Live to Tell" sort of way.

Okay, so there's the lineup, and I'd say that it's a fan's paradise. There's just one way I think it's lacking. As I've said, League's Special Edition is a sign of a hero getting its due. Here we have this film treated like a rare treasure, at times even like a relic

in a museum (in one of the most noticeable examples, the written message about the process of obtaining footage for the deleted scenes reads like an explanation of the restoration of an ancient work of art). On the other hand, the very heroes the film is celebrating "” the members of the Women's Pro Baseball League "” are left curiously in the shadows. Where's the mini historical docu? Where's the contemporary footage, or maybe even the virtual tour of the "Women in Baseball" exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame (a central part of the film)? Though A League of Their Own gives us an interesting, historically-based look at the lives of some of these women ballplayers, it seems merely to tease us about the bigger picture. The lives of the characters we've followed are well explained, but what about the reason for the surprising prolongation of the Women's Pro League after the War, and the cause of its final demise? Even after this Collector's Edition DVD, these questions still need answering. Here's hoping we'll get those answers someday on a well deserved Special Special Edition DVD.

Movie Grade: ADVD Grade: B+Overall Grade: A-

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