Movie Review: Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Starring: Jon Hamm, Lake Bell and Bill Paxton

Directed by: Craig Gillespie

A struggling sports agent makes a last bid attempt to keep his company afloat by venturing on a crazy recruitment strategy to find baseball players in India, a country renowned for playing cricket.

This movie has been sitting by my Xbox for the longest time, just waiting to be watched and only now have I decided to give it a chance. It has a reasonably well know cast such as Jon Hamm, Alan Arkin, Bill Paxton and Aasif Mandvi and while the first 3 actors are recognisable by name Aasif is somebody who immediately when you see him you can think of a ton of stuff you’ve seen him in, he’s very much a solid actor in Hollywood who is slowly making a name for himself as a trusted supporting actor. I didn’t know much about Million Dollar Arm before buying it, I just saw Jon Hamm’s face on the cover and saw that it was a Disney movie and thought it was worth a shot.

As with any Disney movie that is based on a true story it is rather predictable and at no point during Million Dollar Arm did I ever think the ending was going to be different from the inevitable. Although predictable, Million Dollar Arm is charming, heartwarming and tells such an inspiring story of courage and adversity which really masks any plot holes or flaws that this movie may have. The entire cast performed so well from the household names such as Jon Hamm and Bill Paxton to the lesser known Indian actors Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal and Pitobash. All three Indian actors are unknown to me but all three of them were terrific in their roles as they were taken from their Indian villages and thrust into the spotlight of the MLB in America. Watching their transitions from shy Indian boys who were strangers to each other as well as the American culture to seeing them become brothers living out a dream was a pleasing story arc that was really heartwarming.

I was surprised with the amount of comedy that was involved within this movie and character Amit (Pitobash) who acted as the other Indian boys translator during their time in America was the central focus when it can to comedy relief. He was fantastic, he was so pleasant and charming to watch and his smile was infectious. Million Dollar Arm teaches so many basic life lessons that can be applied to day to day life. It teaches about family values, cultural diversity, hard work, brotherhood and more importantly giving somebody a second chance. While the first half of the movie was a little slower in pace as sport agent J.B. Bernstein is in India trying to find Baseballs next pitcher and first ever Indian representative the second half of the movie is where most of the character development happens and it was a very pleasing final hour to watch.

Overall, I was surprised at the quality of this movie as I expected an average Disney movie but what I got was a very good watch which was very heartwarming. I would definitely recommend Million Dollar Arm even to movie lovers not interested in sports as the story alone is inspiring.


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