For someone who is not particularly into sports, I love a good sports movie. Always have. And for years they really weren’t the in thing anymore. But they’re kind of back this year and I am enjoying them. First there was Draft Day with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. And out now is Disney’s Million Dollar Arm which I saw Friday night.
And I have to say. Loved it. It had all the suspenseful sports moments and the ups and downs of wins and losses mixed with another thing I love in my movies and books, which is to be transported to another place, or time and to feel like I’m experiencing something I may not ever get to experience in my life. In this case that was India. The movie is the story of a sports agent who is down on his luck and decides to hold a reality show type contest in India, a country that doesn’t have baseball, to find some raw pitching talent.
The Indian scenery, culture and music we get to be a part of as viewers of the movie is fascinating and beautiful in its own unique way and while I’m sure one could argue that the movie skimmed over some of the real hardship in the country, I think just seeing the way different cultures live is an important first step to understanding.
The acting was solid. Jon Hamm plays JB the down on his luck agent who cares more about the deal than the kids he finds in his care. He’s believable as a single, kind of jerky guy, and just as believable as he begins to see the light. Lake Bell plays the love interest who holds the mirror up for JB and shows him what a jerk he’s being. And though she’s played similar characters before, I always find her charming and enjoyable to watch. The three Indian transplants, Pitobash, Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal who play the translator Amit, and the players Rinku and Dinesh respectively were all both charming and showed great depth playing characters who missed home but were determined to seize the opportunity they were given all while being a bit confused by American culture.
For me, a sucker for an underdog sports movie, the only thing better than is an underdog sports movie that’s based on a true story. And this one is. I love seeing people achieve their dreams; the improbable as they say in the movie or the seemingly impossible stories of success. So while I really enjoyed the movie, I loved seeing the pictures of the real JB and the real Amit, Rinku and Dinesh in the very situations portrayed in the film. Very cool.
An inspirational story and an entertaining movie. What more could you ask for?
SIDE NOTE: Looking at the movie through a business lens, I think the message would be – the deal alone is empty. If you only care about the money, you won’t truly find success. There has to be more.