What do Rosie O’Donnell’s return to "The View" and Derek Jeter’s final baseball game have in common? Very little. They are, however, two recent events that have triggered the selection of today’s Netflix Pick of the Week: Penny Marshall’s 1992 film “A League of Their Own.” Set in the suburbs of Chicago during World War II, the dramedy follows the creation of the All–American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL), a female softball league founded to keep America’s favorite pastime alive while over 500 Major League Baseball players fought overseas.
Based on a true story, the film focuses specifically on the Rockford Peaches, one of the new AAGPBL–commissioned teams. Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and her sister Kit (Lori Petty) are brought over from their family farm in Oregon to play. Like many other new recruits, Dottie, the team’s catcher and arguably best player, is merely biding her time before her husband Bob returns from war, after which she will leave the team and return home to be a dutiful wife. Other Peaches include loud–mouth New Yorkers “All the Way” Mae Mordabito (Madonna!) and her best friend Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell), as well as Ellen Sue Gotlander, former Miss Georgia–turned–pitcher and quiet Shirley Baker (Ann Cusack, sister of John and Joan). The Peaches are managed by former Chicago Cubs player Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), now a washed–up drunk who initially takes little interest in his new role.
Though it's a work of fiction, “A League of Their Own” brings historical significance to an otherwise lesser–known part of the American homefront during WWII. It’s inspiring to watch these women leave their domestic roles behind and draw in crowds of spectators, proving they are just as athletic and coordinated as male players. Davis, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for this performance, shines as the conflicted Dottie, while Madonna proves that she is more than just the Queen of Pop; she plays Mae with just the right amount of sass and heartache, making her one of the film’s most endearing characters.
“A League of Their Own” is not just a chick–flick; in fact, I think it’s right up there with “Remember the Titans” and “Field of Dreams” as one of the best sport films of all time. Whether you’re heartbroken over Jeter or already annoyed with Rosie, know that both issues will be resolved by watching this film. Just remember: “There’s no crying in baseball!”