Necessity is the Mother of Invention.
Sometimes the greatest ideas come out of the most desperate of situations. In the beginning of Million Dollar Arm, struggling agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) comes up with a competition (or publicity stunt) to bring cricket players from India to the United States to play baseball. This would then give these young athletes a chance to try out to be professional pitchers for Major League Baseball. This stunt leads to Rinku (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) coming to the United States to train and try out for MLB. While it is a culture shock for these two young boys from India to come to the United States, it is also throws Bernstein’s life upside down. The result is a crash course in love and family for Bernstein. Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story.
The quality for Million Dollar Arm is exactly what one would expect from a new movie. It didn’t feel like a big budget movie that blew me away but there weren’t any huge complaints either. Part of this was perhaps an attempt to capture the feel of India as a good chunk of the movie does take place there. The reveal of the Taj Mahal really stood out as a moment that captured this look and feel of India as opposed to the idealized version that is so often portrayed. Back in the United States, there really wasn’t anything that jumped out either. Personally, I would have liked to perhaps have seen a bit more of the beauty that could be found in both countries. My hunch is it was an artistic choice to not go this direction but, in my mind it was the wrong choice. The sound was quality but didn’t blow me away either. As I reviewed this movie I couldn’t but help comparing it to Remember the Titans that DID really impress and capture beauty visually and also from an audio standpoint throughout the film. All this to say, I don’t have any major complaints but I can’t really say I have any hat tips for the quality either.
There were several bonus features included with Million Dollar Arm. They included:
- Making-of Featurettes:
- Training Camp – Actors Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal faced the same daunting challenge that their characters Rinku and Dinesh did—learning how to pitch a baseball.
- Their Story – The real JB Bernstein, Rinku and Dinesh explore the legacy of the Million Dollar Arm contest and its impact on the lives and aspirations of children in India…and their own lives as well.
- Million Dollar Music by A.R. Rahman – The Oscar-winning composer (Best Original Score, “Slumdog Millionaire,” 2008) talks about creating music that encompasses two worlds—India and the U.S.
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes:
- “JB’s Problem”
- “I’d Take Ten Dollars”
The bonus features for Million Dollar Arm were worth watching once. It was kind of fun to see how closely connected this movie was with the original story. None of these bonus features will go down in the annuls of amazing bonus features but, they do a decent job of showing a bigger picture of the story and movie. I definitely enjoyed in particular Training Camp, Their Story, the Alternate Ending, and the Deleted Scenes.
Million Dollar Arm is exactly what you would expect of it. It’s a heart warming and predictable movie that is pretty much the epitome of a feel good movie. It is completely family friendly and the epitome of a feel good movie. That being said, don’t expect to be blown away by this movie. It is just an enjoyable movie that fits comfortably in the middle of reviews. It makes for a safe movie for family movie night and there are some good life lessons that come from it. I don’t know that I would pay full price for it but it is worth renting on iTunes or something. No hat tip for this one but I will give it a nod because it is positive and family friendly.