The crack of the bat, the sweet aroma of freshly mowed grass, the crisp baselines. These are just a few of the things that make me absolutely love our nation’s pastime, baseball. When I heard Disney was going to be releasing another baseball movie, Million Dollar Arm, but this one with Jon Hamm, I was more than a little excited. The combination of my favorite sport and one of my favorites actors set my sights on this May release. From the first time I saw the previews, I was hooked.
For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Million Dollar Arm tells the story of sports agent J.B. Bernstein and his quest to find a baseball player from the untapped market in India. With the help of an investor to back the contest, J.B. (played by Jon Hamm) travels to India to ideally find cricket players to become the next pitchers in Major League Baseball. The movie is one that explores the idea of family, what is most important in life, and do the ends justify the means. While that may sound rather heavy for a Disney film about baseball, Million Dollar Arm addresses them all in a humorous, but poignant manner.
I like the way in which J.B. bonds with the two boys he brings over from India, Rinku and Dinesh, and their translator and wannabe coach, Amit. After a few mishaps due to cultural differences, J.B. ends up taking them in. The game of baseball is the vehicle through which the story develops of the boys and their relationship with J.B. As Dinesh and Rinku have never played baseball before, don’t speak English when they arrive in America, and come from a very different lifestyle in India, you can imagine that it is not an easy journey for these young men.
Million Dollar Arm is a welcome addition to the canon of baseball films in my collection. I like the correlations to other sports related movies like Jerry Maguire, Rudy, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans and The Rookie. It isn’t so much about the destination with this movie, as most know, or at least can predict what happens, but it is more about the journey. Even my mom, who isn’t the biggest baseball fan loved this film. It is heartfelt, funny, and has a good amount of baseball references. In the end, the journey is as much J.B.’s as it is that of the boys he brought to this country. Million Dollar Arm hits all the right notes for an enjoyable family film for the baseball fan.
Have you seen Million Dollar Arm yet? Where does it fit in your ranking of baseball films? This one falls in the upper half for me. It isn’t quite up there with The Pride of the Yankees, Bull Durham, The Sandlot, Field of Dreams or A League of Their Own. I like it much better than the already likable The Rookie, one of Disney’s other forays into the baseball world. Check out this film if you’re a fan of baseball, Jon Hamm or Bollywood.
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