The Movie: 7.5/10.
The story of Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story. A man wants to make a shitload of money and comes up with an idea to have a competition along the lines of a TV singing competition, but for baseball players in India. Why India? The untapped market, of course. A billion people who don’t watch American baseball, potentially converted to watch, buy hats, buy shirts, and other memorabilia. It doesn’t sound like a very noble plan, and it’s not. Our leading man, JB, is greedy, a chancer, and kind of desperate to find “the next big thing” to make him millions of dollars. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that all of these stories come from a place of altruism and kindness. American Idol, X Factor, America’s Got Talent, they aren’t to be all warm and fuzzy and make someone’s life better, that’s just byproducts Like Million Dollar arm the idea is to find meat for the grinder (i.e. contestants), bring them back to America to parade them around and hopefully get some attention so you can get some finder fees from the big leagues from bringing them around the world.
With all that being said, don’t get me wrong. I’m not hating on the movie or the story at all. It’s just the reality of it all and I think it’s reasonable to bring that along with my impressions of the movie itself. Million Dollar Arm is well made, kind of funny at times, kind of sweet at times, and in its own way it has that hopeful and inspirational vibe. I don’t have any idea why we would want to put in the minds of young people in another country that playing American Baseball and becoming a rich vapid dude (potentially of the asshole variety) is inspirational, but it is what it is.
A man who thinks these empty kinds of accomplishments is valuable is at the heart of it all, so we can’t shake that part of it. Once he goes to India to find his contestants he doesn’t really have a change of heart or anything like that. He goes to auditions, finds his 2 players to bring back, and the next thing we know they are training and trying out for the big leagues. Needless to say, they have no baseball experience. I think I’m writing very long sentences here, but you get the idea, right? The man JB finds in India who does love American baseball, an uninformed superfan of sorts, is an excellent coach and motivator, and kind heart to bring along for the journey. He’s actually the best part of the movie if you ask me, and by reading this I guess you did just that. He’s fun and over the top performy, but it fits.
Through these young men, really young and naive about the world, they only get marginally better at the actual game of baseball. I don’t like sports, that’s the truth, but I figure if I were to get interested enough to play one I would have to learn and train for years and years to become good enough to be a team player. These boys had a few months, and no close up friendly support from the man who brought them from their homes in India.
Our leading man, Don Draper of course, is a bit of a jerk. He neglects them, feeds them crap, and takes them to a party that is supposed to predict their futures, but it’s so obnoxious…yuck. If anyone took my nephews to a snotty party with idiots who care more about the price of their cars and clothes than being good people, well, they might find a crystal punch bowl dumped over their head.
In the middle of all this we meet a female interest for the leading male person. She’s smart and messy and a bit of a hippie but with scrubs on. She points out that he’s being a jerk, and voila, the jerkiness is going to become a thing of the past, almost. He still is selfish and money driven, but he gets it, these people are PEOPLE and they are not just meat for his grinder of making cash. So, as we get to know the players, the trainer, the girlfriend/doctor, and our beloved Draper, we soften up to root for them to get picked to actually play baseball in the big leagues.
Do they, don’t they? That is the question. Along the way, looking back, it’s mostly an empty movie, not much substance. It’s got a few laughs and there was one time when I cried, yes, cried. So, it’s got a heart in there somewhere with the misguided aspirations and ill-conceived plans to “improve” someone’s life. I did like it though, it’s a good flick to kick back and relax and enjoy. Don’t over think it the way I did, ooops, now you read this you might. Forget everything you have read here and carry on:)
- Training Camp – Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal talk about the training that was needed to get them in shape for the movie.
- Their Story – The real Rinku, Dinesh and JB talk about the real life events that inspired the movie.
- Million Dollar Music – The music of the film is very multicultural, the composer who also put together the Slumdog Millionare soundtrack discusses it here.
- Alternate Ending – A 49 second alternate ending, doesn’t really alter anything.
- Deleted Scenes – Three very short deleted scenes that are for completionists only.
- Outtakes – Watch John Hamm Ham it up. See what I did there?
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 2/10
This is a classic boring uninspired cover that makes me feel so bad for the whole cast and crew. I mean, look at it. Does it make you want to see this movie? No, that’s the answer. Having a big man’s head on the top with little bits of the rest of the cast stuck on without much thinking or design is so blah. It under sells the quality of the movie, and over sells the “I’m not playing Don Draper again” idea. I would not have this as a poster.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Disney have a dependable 1080P AVC encoded transfer here that doesn’t really stun but gets the job done. With a very consistent level of detail and color palette the film looks like a 2014 movie should. Fine detail is evident in close up shots and color is well represented. This is a nice looking presentation from Disney that might not drop jaws but will keep fans of the film happy.
Million Dollar Arm’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track again isn’t something you will pop in to impress your friends. Instead this track brings across a level of clarity that a talky film like this needs. There is not much in the way of action during the movie, but the films score which consists of rap and Indian bangra music is where the speakers comes alive. Dialog is centered and never muffled and most of the track is up front and center. You might even forget you have surround speakers to be honest.
Overall Score 7.5/10