Hanksfest featuring A League of Their Own July 6-12 (fest runs to Aug 2) Cineplex Park Lane 5657 Spring Garden Road $6.99 cineplex.com/events
Tom Hanks is turning 62 on July 9, and to celebrate Cineplex has created Hanksfest, which across the next month will screen four of the actor's classics, including Apollo 13, Forrest Gump and Big.
The first entry is, ironically, one of the few times in his career as America's Dad that Hanks has ceded the spotlight: In a A League of Their Own, Penny Marshall's 1992 blockbuster about the All-American Girls Baseball League. Hanks begins the movie playing against type—as reluctant Rockford Peaches coach Jimmy Dugan, it takes a surprisingly good team and unrequited feelings for star catcher Dottie (Geena Davis) for him to give up his shitty ways. By the end (26-year-old spoiler alert) he has been changed sober by the women and the spirit of sport.
A League of Their Own is a quintessential summer movie. It's got baseball, hot days at the ballpark, Madonna, girls in short dresses, swing dancing, cold Coca-Cola and enough gumption to power the internet. Built inside the framework of a traditional sports movie—Dottie dropped the ball on purpose, @ me at your peril—is a feminist masterwork, even if it does sand off the queerer edges (two straight men wrote it in the early '90s, progress takes time).
It's based on real women who left their families and stepped up for what was initially a nationally derided WWII branding stunt—in real-life it was Phillip Wrigley who invented the league to fill the dearth of MLB players fighting in the war; in the movie it's a chocolate company—to play 11 seasons of top-quality professional baseball. And men like Jimmy Dugan—fallen heroes with broken dreams—got a second chance to literally swing the bat.