A League of Their Own, VHS version
Four out of five stars
Put bluntly, despite his impressive acting skills, Tom Hanks has difficulty playing a drunk. Furthermore, his character having that problem is an unnecessary and annoying component of the story. The premise is a look back at the inaugural All-American Girls Professional Baseball League season. The year was 1943 and most of the best major league players were off fighting World War II. President Roosevelt himself decreed that baseball would continue to be played during the war and in an attempt to keep interest in baseball alive, some of the owners of the major league teams decided to create a professional league of women players.
This movie is a mostly fictionalized look at the first year of the league, although they get the main principles correct. The women were carefully managed with a strict code of behavior regarding dress, appearance and overall conduct. For example, they were all required to attend charm school and smoking and drinking in public places could lead to fines and even suspensions.
Overall, the movie has a fairly predictable plot, it follows the Rockford Peaches through their first season of play. There is of course the big game at the end, won by one of the stars when she was down to her last strike. Tom Hanks plays the manager of the Peaches and when the season starts, he is a barely conscious drunk with no competitive fire, a role that Hanks does not play well. He sobers up over the course of the season and starts taking his job seriously. The movie would have been better if the Hanks character would have been serious from the beginning.
One positive aspect is the inclusion of the fact that there was a war on, and young American men were being injured and killed on the battlefield. In those years, nearly all young women had a husband, brother or other close male relative potentially in the path of a killer bullet.