Have you heard? Disney’s newest movie, Million Dollar Arm, starring Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Pitobash, Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal is in theaters NOW! Check out my Million Dollar Arm movie review and head to the theaters with the family this weekend!
I was invited to Los Angeles on an expense-paid trip in exchange for coverage of the events that we attended. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I have never been much of a sports fanatic. The extent of my involvement and interest in sports typically extends to driving my kids to practices and cheering them on at the sidelines (even when I don’t really know what’s going on).
But there’s something about sports movies that really get me. What is it about movies based on real-life athletes, games, etc? The answer is simple – They are typically wholesome movies that the whole family can watch together that tell a heart-warming story with a life lesson to be learned (and felt) at the end.
This is the kind of movie that Million Dollar Arm is. It’s wholesome, great for the family, and ends with a fantastic lesson that anyone – athletes or not – can learn from.
I love what actor Jon Hamm said about Million Dollar Arm and “feel-good sports movies” in general (you can read my entire interview with Jon Hamm HERE):
I think, like all good sports films, it’s not necessarily all about the sport. I think if you look at something like The Natural. Ostensibly that’s about baseball or a baseball player. But it’s really about this guy and his life and how it was changed and how it was interrupted and then he got to come back and fall in love and all that other stuff. That’s a movie that if I watch the whole thing, I’m a mess by the end of it.
This movie is like that. It’s a family movie that is set against the backdrop of sports, in particular baseball. But it would be a disservice to it, I think, to just say it’s a baseball movie because for me at least it means much more than that. So, again, back to the first question. That’s kind of one of the reasons why I wanted to do this film.
It just felt richer than just a game where I hope they win the big game at the end. And so that was what I hope we brought through the making of it.
I wasn’t familiar with the story behind Million Dollar Arm before I was invited to attend the premiere in Hollywood. So let’s take a moment and do a little “about the movie…”
About Million Dollar Arm:
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.
How it all began:
One of the most rewarding parts of my trip to Los Angeles to see the movie and talk with the actors and real people behind the film was learning about the how the story came to be. The movie really did make me feel like I was on their adventure with them.
In 2007, entrepreneurial sports agent JB Bernstein staged a reality show in India to find promising baseball talents amongst the cricket-loving population. Bernstein says, “The hope was to find the next Yao Ming, except for baseball. Statistically speaking, in a country of 1.2 billion people, the odds are good that you will find an undiscovered raw talent. The hope was to capture all those cricket fans and turn them towards baseball.”
Ultimately, Bernstein found his ball players in Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, and brought them home…literally. The boys became his de facto sons, living in his house as he taught them the intricacies of baseball, as well as the even more mystifying vagaries of American life. For Rinku and Dinesh, coming to the States was tantamount to visiting another planet. Even elevators and drinking fountains were magical and mysterious. JB eventually found that his new, ad hoc family gave him not just pleasure but purpose in life.
Who should see Disney’s Million Dollar Arm:
This movie is for everyone! While it’s not a kid flick and very young kids might not follow the story as well, I can definitely recommend it to anyone. Rated PG. No language. One kiss.
You will love the Million Dollar Arm MUSIC!
One of the things that stood out to me throughout the movie was the MUSIC. The Indian music was contagious! Now that I have the Million Dollar Arm soundtrack, I like to play it at home in the kitchen…and I’ve noticed that whenever I pop it in the stereo, everyone starts dancing. We can’t help it! You can preorder the CD here and get it as soon as it’s released on May 19.
Connect with MILLION DOLLAR ARM (In theaters 5/16/14)
Buy JB Bernstein’s BOOK: Million Dollar Arm: Sometimes to Win, You Have to Change the Game
Twitter: @DisneyPictures (#MillionDollarArm and #MillionDollarArmEvent)
* Photos courtesy of Disney
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