“Having grown up with Disney’s The Mighty Ducks, I am a sucker for a feel good underdog sports movie. And you know what, Million Dollar Arm made me feel good. Really good, actually.
Based on a true story, Mad Men’s Jon Hamm plays a struggling sports agent (basically Don Draper pitching athletes instead of corporations) who decides to find untapped talent in India that he can turn into major league pitchers. The film is sort of split in half. The first deals with Hamm’s JB in India, holding the pitching contest and learning about the culture. The second is bringing his two future stars back to the states and training them. Both halves were incredibly satisfying for different reasons.
The first half was a beautiful celebration of Indian culture. Granted, I don’t know too much about it, but I loved what I saw. Absolutely gorgeous culture, and at least in my opinion it was treated with such reverence and respect. The second half could have just been cliche zero to hero sports stuff, but the characters and actors are what sold it. Our rising stars Rinku and Dinesh were played by Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma and Slumdog Millionaire’s Madhur Mittal (Salim not Jamal). I’ll be honest and say that familiarity with their previous roles endeared them to me that much more. So much heart, and I felt like they were really the ones who carried (at least that half of) the story. But the real scene stealer was newcomer Pitobash as Amit, JB’s volunteer assistant and translator, who only wanted to help out of love for the game. His bright eyes and big smile lit up the screen with infectious enthusiasm.
Oh so I just now realized that the neighbor girl was Lake Bell, not Amanda Peet. I spent the whole film and past week thinking otherwise. I feel that’s one that’s gonna confuse me forever like Malcom McDowell and Terrance Stamp.
Anyways, good to find a nice and uplifting family movie in the middle of the death and destruction of the summer blockbuster season.
Million Dollar Arm – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/