'A League of Their Own's home run

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday August 23, 2022
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Abbi Jacobson, Chanté Adams, D'arcy Carden and Gbemisola Ikumelo in "A League of Their Own."
Abbi Jacobson, Chanté Adams, D'arcy Carden and Gbemisola Ikumelo in "A League of Their Own."

"A League of Their Own" was a 1992 period piece film directed by Penny Marshall. Marshall was inspired to make the film after viewing the 1987 documentary about the AAGPBL titled on television. She had never heard of the league before. Her film, which was a critical and box-office success, is a fictionalized account of the AAGPBL and the Rockford Peaches team.

The film is full of Oscar-winning heavy hitters and other major stars: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Lori Petty, Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, Garry Marshall, and Bill Pullman. The screenplay was written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel from a story by Kelly Candaele and Kim Wilson.

promotional poster for 'A League of Their Own'  

"A League of Their Own" is the origin of the iconic and oft-repeated line, "There's no crying in baseball!" which Tom Hanks as manager Jimmy Dugan shouts at Madonna's "All the Way" Mae Mordabito. The film was and remains beloved.

So did "A League of Their Own" need a retelling as a series when it was seemingly perfect the first time? Yes, apparently, it did. The Amazon Prime original series makes no attempt to mirror the film.

Rather, it is a strong and vital retelling of the story of the Rockford Peaches with a whole new and decidedly queer slant. It is, in many respects, what was left out of the film 30 years ago, but which we all knew was there, hovering in the wings. Blackness, queerness, even some transness. It's all there and we are so here for it.

a scene from 'A League of Their Own'  

"A League of Their Own" has many standout characters and the writing and acting are powerful. We were hooked in the first episode and really hope there's a second season.Abbi Jacobson, an out lesbian, didn't just co-create the series, she's a main character, Carson Shaw. Carson is a catcher from Idaho.

The show's other signature character is Max Chapman (Chanté Adams), a Black pitcher who wants to play, but is barred due to her race.

Also in the top-tier are Greta Gill (D'arcy Carden) as the femme de la femme player and Max's bestie Clance (Gbemisola Ikumelo), who is also a comic artist.

There are also Latina players, and what women's baseball team doesn't have a few butches? Lupe Garcia (Roberta Colindrez), Jess McCready (Kelly McCormack), Esti González (Priscilla Delgado) and Jo Deluca (Melanie Field) round out the cast. And in a tribute to the film, Rosie O'Donnell plays Vi, the owner of a gay bar."A League of Their Own" is really funny.

Dale Dickey's chaperone character, Beverly, asks the Peaches to walk into mandatory etiquette classes "like ladies, please, not livestock." But the series also veers toward gutting pathos at times. Max exemplifies this dichotomy in what is overwhelmingly a feel-good show.

At one point Max asks her mother why God is depriving her of what she should be doing; being the star athlete we know she is, better than anyone else on the field."Why would He give me this gift if it wasn't my path?" Max asks her churchgoing mom.

It takes your breath away to think about all the Maxes of her Jim Crow era. It's also a question that hangs in the air of Max's life, because she's also a lesbian. In 1943, history is standing in her way at every turn.

There's so much to say about "A League of Their Own," but we are loathe to spoil this delightful, superlatively gay and diverse and oh-so-fabulous series by revealing too much.

This is one of the best and queerest series this year. Some of the performances are breathtakingly good; Jacobson is so nuanced as Carson. Carson's husband is away at war and she is playing the field in a myriad of ways.

Adams manages to make Max hyper-real and not just a symbol of the weight of racism in the 1940s. Hers is an Emmy-worthy performance.

D'arcy Carden, who we loved in "The Good Place," is just fabulous here as the Peaches' high-femme heartbreaker. And BAFTA-winning British actress and comedian Ikumelo is understated genius as Clance.There are some pitfalls in "A League of Their Own." Anachronisms creep into language and tone in places. But this series is, overall, a home run; watch.
Amazon Prime

Anne Heche in 'Girl in Room 13'  

Girl in Room 13
After Anne Heche’s tragic death in a fiery, drug-fueled car crash, Lifetime will be releasing her final film, “Girl in Room 13,” in September, as scheduled.

At a TCA panel last week, Lifetime's executive vice president and head of programming, Amy Winter, said of "Girl in Room 13," that the film was a passion for Heche.

"This project is important to each and every one of us," said Winter. "We all started to make a film that would bring attention to the appalling issue of human sex trafficking. We hope that this film moves you and that you are just as inspired as Anne was to help us with our with our mission to stop violence against women."

The film's director, Elizabeth Rohm, told People, “Every single morning, Anne would come to set and she said, ‘We will not stand for abuse!’ And she would pump her fist and have this just beautiful, bright smile. She was so committed to making an incredibly deep, profound, important performance.”

Rohm said, “Anne was very open about the abuse she sustained in her childhood. And I believe that she was committed her whole life to making an impact and protecting women and being a voice against abuse.”

Rohm, told Entertainment Tonight that the entire cast is “devastated” by Heche’s sudden death.

She said, “We’re all so dedicated to the cause, stopping violence against women and I again thank Lifetime so much for creating this platform. All of us, especially Larissa [Dias] who played this victim, are committed to that cause.”

Rohm added, “We talked about it –every single one of us– that this was our mission. And although [Anne] is deeply missed, right now, I will say the film is finished and she did a phenomenal performance – a tour de force much like Larissa.”

Heche was pronounced legally dead on August 12 and was taken off life support on August 14 after she was matched with organ recipients. Heche had been hospitalized in a coma for about a week following the crash. She was 53.

Tatiana Maslany in 'She-Hulk'  

Hulk, Franken, ‘Bodies’
We’ll talk more about this later, but Marvel’s “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” now streaming on Disney+ and starring Emmy-nominated actress Tatiana Maslany (she of the eight roles on “Orphan Black”), is a lot of fun.

Maslany told Variety that the late trans hyper pop icon SOPHIE was an inspiration for her. “Musically, SOPHIE just lives in this place that I always want to live in,” Maslany said to Variety at She-Hulk’s red carpet premiere.

Maslany said the star had "a poppiness and femininity combined with these clashing industrial sounds" and that SOPHIE's song "Faceshopping" was inspiration for her performance as Jennifer Walters, an attorney trying to cope with her new superpowers.

Maslany said, "Her music video 'Faceshopping' was all about skin, commodification of body and being separated into different parts, and that all felt thematically and spiritually connected."The Grammy-nominated producer and musician SOPHIE died 34 in January 2021 in a climbing accident in Greece.

Former senator and “Saturday Night Live” comedian Al Franken took shots at Sen. Ted Cruz while guest-hosting “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Franken had opened by saying, “Tonight is not about politics, it’s about comedy and having fun.”

Then he said, “So who’s here from out of state to get an abortion?”

Franken, who’s been launching a comedy comeback touring nationally, then took on his former colleague, Ted Cruz. “I really think that one of the most serious issues facing our country today is just how big a dick Ted Cruz is.”

He continued, “Now I’ve said it before, but I probably like Ted Cruz more than most of my colleagues like Ted Cruz, and I hate Ted Cruz.” He added. “Ted Cruz is probably one of the most famous senators, because as I mentioned, he’s a huge dick.”

We’re always happy to see Ted Cruz dragged, but was it funny? Marginally. We’d say, don’t quit your day job, but that ship has sailed. You be the judge. Though we did like this slap at Donald Trump: “Trump has screwed himself so badly he’s gonna have to write himself a check for $130,000.”

Rachel Sennott and Lee Pace in 'Bodies Bodies Bodies' photo: Gwen Capistran/A24  

Finally, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” actor Lee Pace was trending on Twitter August 20 and we had to check out why, with trepidation, as we love Pace and have since “Pushing Daisies.”

It was all good, though. Pace revealed in a GQ article that he is married to Matthew Foley, an executive at Thom Browne. Apparently the two have been together for some time.

Pace told GQ, "What I'll say about being married, it was once described to me as an endless sleepover with your weirdest friend. In our experience, that is absolutely true. If you've found one person you can be weird around, hold on tight."Be still our hearts.

Pace wants more than marriage, though. “I’d love to have kids,” he said in his interview. “I think there’s nothing better than little kids running around.”

We loved this description of Pace from the GQ interview. It sums up why we and the whole of the interwebs love him. It’s “the cool and easy brand of unselfconscious masculinity he practices. He built a house; he wears sock garters on the red carpet at the Met Gala; he sees no real tension between the two.”

And he’s married to a smoking hot husband and they live in the house he built by hand. As the kids say, you love to see it!

So for the heartwarming and the soul-satisfying amidst the Sturm und Drang, you know you must stay tuned.

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