By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: #MillionDollarArm is one of the better feel good movies of the year. It’s a heartwarming, underdog story that will make you laugh and cry.
The Gist: Based on a true story, a sports agent who is one bad deal away from folding his own company, thinks of an idea to convert Indian cricket players into professional baseball players.
What Works: Humanity is the driving force of what makes director Craig Gillespie’s (Lars and the Real Girl) sport film work. You can feel it throughout the whole movie. From the poor village sons who leave their homes in hopes of giving their families better lives, to the sad lonely jerk who realizes that warmth and affection goes a long way, to the impending sense of failure that one goes through when their job is at stake, Million Dollar Arm is not really about sports, it is about family, friendship and love. Even though Kevin Costner’s Draft Day is a good movie, it didn’t embrace those elements heartily enough. Jon Hamm plays Don Draper light in this lead role for Disney. In the first 30 minutes of the film, he pitches two people some great ideas that felt like Don Draper himself pitched them on behalf of Sterling Cooper & Partners. Hamm is a presence. He’s masculine, assertive, sometimes a jerk, but a hustler who knows what he wants. The rest of the supporting cast are charming, likeable and their characters’ plights manage to pierce right through the screen.
What Doesn’t Work: Duration is a bit of an issue. Some scenes could have been shortened, but ultimately the payoff works. We get to have a smile on our face, we’re happy about the outcome and we get to shed a tear or two.
Pay or Nay?: Pay. Movies that bring a strong human element to the table are always a good watch. They somehow tug at you in ways you forget movies can. This “true story” has a compelling premise that engages from the onset. Watching Jon Hamm is a delight, especially if you’re a Don Draper fan. Overall, this is a film that the whole family can watch and end up feeling real good about investing in it.
Rated: PG for mild language and some suggestive content
Release Date: May 16, 2014
Screenplay: Thomas McCarthy
Director(s): Craig Gillespie
Starring: Jon Hamm, Bill Paxton, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin, Bar Paly, Aasif Mandvi, Suraj Sharma, King, Autumn Dial, Al Sapienza, Tzi Ma, Joshua Mikel, Greg Pitts, Gregory Alan Williams, Ravi Naidu, Mike Pniewski, Jeff Matthew Glover, Jonny Beltran, Allyn Rachel
Film Genre: Biography | Drama | Sport