Title – Million Dollar Arm (2014)
Director – Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl)
Cast – Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin, Bill Paxton, Aasif Mandvi, Pitobash, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal
Plot – Struggling sports agent JB (Hamm) comes up with a last ditch idea to head to India and find a baseball player from a cricket loving nation. Setting up a reality TV show called Million Dollar Arm, JB unearths potential talents Rinku (Sharma) and Dinesh (Mittal) and takes them back to the United States were everyone’s lives will change forever.
“How fast do they pitch in cricket?”
Review by Eddie on 26/02/2015
While this Disney produced baseball movie based on a true life story mere years ago is far from highly original and at one time or another plays to sporting movie staples set before it, there is little point in arguing with the fact that this film is also one of the most highly enjoyable sporting themed movies of recent times and with some energetic direction by director Craig Gillespie and fine scripting by writing guru Thomas McCarthy, Million Dollar Arm is a mighty fine film in its own right.
Fans of Mad Men and in more particular respects Don Draper himself Jon Hamm are going to love Million Dollar Arm that little bit more but for fans of well-made movies and against all odds stories are going to lap up every minute of this feel good flick. A large portion of Million Dollar Arm’s success comes down to a really nice energy created by director Gillespie. Gillespie who is perhaps most well-known for his Ryan Gosling oddity Lars and the Real Girl seems to reveal in the films set pieces, from the bustling streets of the ever chaotic India through to the green fields of American college sporting grounds, Gillespie gives the film a great tone. A.R Raham’s Slumdog Millionaire like score and McCarthy’s already mentioned script go hand in hand with this strong behind the camera work and with a winning cast, the film builds on its foundation strengths.
As wannabe big wig sports agent JB, Hamm does a fine job at making a character who could easily be an annoying man in a suit, a likeable presence and Hamm’s interactions with Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal Indian exports Rinku and Dinesh create some of the films finest moments, whether genuinely touching or laugh out loud funny. You feel like your rooting for JB and these wannabe baseball players throughout the entire film and with great supports from Pitobash as over excited Amit and Alan Arkin as the never far from asleep baseball scout Ray, the film has a real winning feel from a cast perspective. The weak link of the movie and something that gets in the way of an at its core basic premise is Lake Bell as JB’s potential love interest Brenda, this arc creates a few too many side acts to a story that doesn’t benefit greatly from it.
A unique true story allows Million Dollar Arm to create something that doesn’t feel stale, despite playing out in a very familiar and well-trodden sporting fashion. Benefiting from a likeable cast, a top quality family friendly script and some assured direction, this is a truly likeable film that while failing to reach spectacular heights, reaches a level of entertainment that makes it highly recommendable.
3 and a half javelin poses out of 5
Good review Eddie. The movie may have its best intentions, but that doesn’t necessarily excuse it from being dull.
A good review but I think you may give this movie more credit than it deserves. The plot is pretty predictable and the characters are mostly 2 dimensional although Jon Hamm’s charisma does help elevate the movie above what would otherwise be movie-of-the-week fodder on TV.
Ha I think I got sucked into this one John, I really found myself enjoying it. I don’t often like baseball movies either so it was a real pleasant surprise.
Found this enjoyable but not one to buy or watch again. Had a few good moments and I gotta admit I looked up the indian players after to see how they had got on (very poorly) and was hoping it’d all work out well during the movie (hey its disney, of course it was going to work out!).
That said you surprisingly might have got sucked into the disney magic a bit! Dont worry it happens to the best of us!
Prob a 2.5 from me
Ha I looked the up to man just to see how close to fact this was. Shame one of them seemingly had talent, but was always injured! Gotta love some cheesy Disney goodies sometimes.
Nice one Eddie. I was a big fan of Lars and the Real Girl and wondered about this. You’ve shed just the right light on it. I’ll check it out.
Nice mate, it is pretty cliché in many respects but if you allow it to it will provide some great entertainment 🙂
Hmmm, I hadn’t heard of this one but it sounds like one to skip, I have never liked baseball.
Did this air down under at all guys?
again, nice write-up mate
Straight to DVD here man, baseball seems to struggle to find an audience down our way with our screens dominated by Australian Rules and the summer of cricket. This one was a lot of fun though, thanks to some clever scripting.
Hmmm, i might go rent it on the cheap rental day
Worth a try man, if it sucks we owe you ha.
hehe if it sucks you owe me a cold coopers pale ale!! ;P
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