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Film Review: Disney Million Dollar Arm

Disney Million Dollar ArmDisney releases it latest inspirational sports film, Million Dollar Arm. The film stars Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in an inspirational story with baseball as the backdrop to a story of commitment, hope and family.

Based on a true story, sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) finds that business has changed and things aren’t going well for his career. In a last ditch effort to save his livelihood he concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “The Million Dollar Arm.” 

With the help of cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin), he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18-year-old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. 

While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India, the boys, who have never left their rural villages, are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell), learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.

The films story is what gives this movie so much heart and at the end leaves you with the feeling of so much pride for these two men who had the chance of a lifetime. The acting from Jon Hamm is great and plays the role of Bernstein so well. Though for me the one’s who stole the show were Madhur Mittal and Sruaj Sharma as Dinesh and Rinku. There emotion jumps of the screen especially the part in the film in which they leave their village and family behind to go to America. The fear of the unknown from the first time ever leaving their home make you root for these guys to make it and reach that goal.

Lake Bell in the role of Brenda is really the glue that bring everything together the person who not only relates to the men from India but also trying to show Hamm’s character a new way of looking at things and see them as human beings not as a potential means of saving his agency. 

The pace of the film slows down in parts and sometimes seems a little drawn out. It is not a perfect film but it is a good film. Disney has made some great sports film in the past and this one adds to that tradition. 

Cinematography was so key in capturing the feel with the shots in India translating beautiful on screen. It adds to the story and becomes another side character in the plot with people and the society of India. One of the best moments of the film. 

Overall, Million Dollar Arm is one of those films that if you did not know about this story you would think it was impossible and no way this could be based on a true story. Believe me I was working in professional sports at the time and the word was this is impossible and a publicity stunt but this was a true story. 

To see how it changed the lives of these two men is a story many people around the world should see and that anything in this world is possible. What makes this film so good is that baseball is just the backdrop to the story. 

At the end of the film you will leave with such a great feeling and even the hope that what ever has stopped you from achieving your goals that you will change and try. Million Dollar Arm is worth not only your time but will not regret spending your money to see this film. 

Million Dollar Arm – B+

 

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Michael Sandoval

Michael created MUSE/MUSE TV after a career in professional sports and journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute in which he studied Electronics and Computer Science and California State University, Fullerton in which he graduated with a degree from the College of Communication in Journalism. He is a big Foo Fighters fan, loves Star Wars and loves photography. Member of the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society.

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