Film Review: Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Release Date: May 6th, 2014 (El Capitan Theatre premiere)
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Written by: Thomas McCarthy
Music by: A. R. Rahman
Cast: Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin

Walt Disney, Roth Films, Mayhem Pictures, 124 Minutes

Review:

I love baseball. I love Jon Hamm. I love underdogs. I love heartwarming feel-good sports movies. So why wouldn’t I love Million Dollar Arm? I asked myself this question before going to see the film and I hoped that I wouldn’t be disappointed. I wasn’t. In fact, the film exceeded any expectations that I had.

The film tells the story of J.B. Bernstein who, in a desperate attempt to keep his sports agency afloat, goes to India to find pitching prospects out of cricket players. In India he finds Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, who go on an arduous journey to try and make it in Major League Baseball.

The story was stellar and the script was fantastic. Jon Hamm (Mad Men, The Town) was terrific as J.B Bernstein, while Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire) and Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) both did a great job as the two Indian players Dinesh and Rinku. The real star of the movie however, was Pitobash (I Am Kalam, Shor In The City) as Bernstein’s hilarious Indian assistant Amit. Alan Arkin (Argo, Little Miss Sunshine) and Bill Paxton (Titanic, Apollo 13) also showed up in this film, giving it a bit more character depth and direction, as both played allies of Bernstein trying to get these kids into the big leagues. Lake Bell (No Strings Attached, What Happens In Vegas) played the love interest and the most solid voice of reason in Bernstein’s ear. She was fantastic.

There isn’t really anything bad that I can say about this film. It was well directed, well written, well acted and lived up to the standard that Disney has given us in the past with their sports movies. I recently compiled (but haven’t yet posted) My Top 25 Baseball Films of All-Time. Well, this film should probably be wedged into that list. I guess I’ll have to update it before its release.

Rating: 7/10

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