Million Dollar Arm – a Slightly Off Kilter Review

You know what I love?  No, I’m not talking about coffee this time.  That was Wednesday.  I love when you can watch a movie and really feel something.  Good, bad, scary, joyful… just feel something.

Same with books but that too will be a different post.

Million Dollar Arm Earlier this week I was honored to attend a screening of Disney’s Million Dollar Arm and was not disappointed.  The story itself is heartwarming and endearing as one might expect from Disney.

The official release tells us that Million Dollar Arm is based on the true story of sports agent JB Bernstein and his quest to save his livelihood with 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.”

There were brief moments reminiscent of another “Sports Agent” type of movie from the past and I’m not gonna lie – there were a few times I felt like someone was gonna jump out with an all too famous tagline from that film, but then it makes a left turn and I’m back in the present moment instead of 1996.

The casting on this could not have been more perfect.  Jon Hamm as JB Bernstein shows glimmers of his other well known character, Don Draper, complete with narcissistic flair, but that too is to be expected and likely the reason to place him in this role.  The talent he finds in India, “Dinesh (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,” both deliver beautiful performances that never felt like they were acting but rather that they were living the story.

Necessity is the mother of invention and when JB finds himself at the end of his rope, he decides to change things up and travels to India on a hunch that he can find two cricket players that he can mold into star pitchers for MLB with the help of pitching guru Tom House (Bill Paxton) and retired baseball scount Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin).

As with most “Based on a true story” type flicks, you know how it all turns out – or could guess at the very least – and yet, even with some level of predictability, I found myself still rooting for the underdog and moved when the road hits bumps along the way.

This is a story about more than just baseball.  As Disney is often known for, it was the life lessons we left the theater talking about.  JB gave a dream to those who didn’t even think the dream was possible.  He learned more about what life is truly all about.  He learned to open his heart.  There were more than a few laughs and yes, even a tear or two as I felt my heart almost leap out of my chest during one particularly moving scene.  The soundtrack had me tapping my foot a time or two, much to the chagrin of my date I’m sure.  The blending of cultures in such a respectful and honest way was beautifully done.  Mostly, the gratifying transformation of everyone involved left myself and my fellow theater goers with a warm fuzzy at the end of the evening.  Sometimes you are just in the mood for a feel good story and this one delivered.

Just in time for summer, it’s a baseball movie.  It’s touching. And let’s not forget, it has Jon Hamm.

Need I say more?



  1. I’m sad they photoshopped out Jon Hamm’s…uh…”hamm” in the poster. It would have been HUGE compared to the paparazzi shots I see on my tiny screen every day. *le sigh*

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