For years Disney has given us amazing sports films. Glory Road, Invincible, The Mighty Ducks, The Rookie, Angels in the Outfield, Cool Running, and Remember the Titans. Now you can add another to the list, Million Dollar Arm. The film stars Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal, Lake Bell, and Alan Arkin. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie, who is best known for the Fright Night Remake, and Mr. Woodcock. Based on the true story of Sports agent J.B. Bernstein and his attempt to turn two Cricket players from India into Major League Baseball pitchers.
The film is everything you would expect from a Disney sports film. At times it is a little predictable, but that doesn’t really seem to matter. It’s a fun film to watch. Sports agent J.B. Bernstein set up a Indian reality TV show, where the winners would receive 1 million dollars, and formal training for the MLB. Million Dollar Arm follows Bernstein (Hamm) as he is a down on luck sports agent who travels to India to start the American Idol style contest to find a pitcher in baseball he can represent. A long the way he finds himself and learns it’s not all about the business, it’s about life.
The cast is very strong. Jon Hamm is no Coach Bombay, but he plays the part well. He shows the duality of a sleazy agent, yet a man with a good heart at the same time very well. The ball players from India, Madhur Mittal and Suraj Sharma, who play Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh respectively, are phenomenal. They play the confused kids in America with such devotion. You really feel for these guys as they struggle to learn and adapt to the rules of baseball, and American society over all. Alan Arkin is someone I always enjoy seeing in films. He always plays such a great grumpy old man. Lake Bell, who I didn’t recognize from many films, was my favorite part of the film. She has a dry sense of humor that fits so well in the film.
Like I said the film gets predictable at times, but it is still such a fun film, you look over that. It’s great film to take the family to, or for a date night. I really enjoyed it, and gave the film a Jeebus score of 4, a good time at the theater.
The Jeebus System explained:
I base films on what I call the Jeebus System, which is a 6 point grade with a possible .5 bonus. With a full 1 point given for entertainment value, story, SFX or cinematography, acting, and casting each, then a half point for direction and dialog each. Titles are given to each score, with “death penalty to all involved” to anything <.9. “You’ll see this on FXx a lot” for <1.9. “Redbox or Netflix it” for <2.9. “Check out the Matinee” for <3.9. “A good time at the theater” for <4.9. “Multiple viewings required” for <5.9. And finally, Jeebus-tacular for 6 or above.