Monday, November 24, 2014

MOVIE WEEKEND: MILLION DOLLAR ARM

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here's a once in a lifetime opportunity to read MOVIE WEEKEND on a Monday. With Thanksgiving and its long weekend about to arrive, I'm sure you need a movie the entire family can watch.

That movie is Million Dollar Arm (2014, PG, Available On DVD).


Million Dollar Arm is a pretty conventional Disney movie: nice story, a little suggestiveness but nothing graphic, opens the door to another country and way of life, a little romance, a family feeling among the characters, a learning experience.

J. B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) is a sports agent who wants to make his own agency successful, but his deals fall apart at the last minute. His partner in failure is Aash (Aasif Mandvi). Aash is Indian, and he likes to watch cricket. It relaxes him. One evening J. B. is watching TV. He comes across Britain's Got Talent, and specifically, Susan Boyle's performance. He decides to hold a contest in India called "Million Dollar Arm" to find cricket players who can learn to be major league pitchers.

After a long, difficult search, he returns to Los Angeles with two young Indian men who are not cricket players, but he believes they have the potential to learn how to pitch. At first he's disappointed in their progress, but then he learns that he must be their family away from family and provide them with a home away from home.

Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story. The closing credits include photos of the real people. As usual, I'm sure the movie is loosely based on a true story. Reality is never good enough for Hollywood.

I like the story. The screenplay and acting are fine. One aspect that bothered me is that Jon Hamm sounds as if he has a cold/sore throat throughout most of the movie. He's hoarse, but it's no big deal. The young men from India are pleasant enough actors.

The movie is fairly predictable, but sometimes predictable is good. Great Grandma can watch Million Dollar Arm with a kindergartner and not be upset or shocked. Some drinking goes on, and it becomes fairly clear (maybe not to children) that J. B. has a sexual relationship with multiple women before falling in love with a doctor played by Lake Bell.

Some of the comments on the Internet Movie Database complain that the movie is racist because the Indians are treated as stereotypes and made to be the butt of jokes. I felt that way a little bit, but some Indians on IMDb observed that much of India is not as developed as the U.S. and it's natural for the Indians to be surprised by many facets of American life.

I don't think the movie is racist, and I stand by my belief that it's an enjoyable story.

Million Dollar Arm earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. During a different week, it would be the seal of approval, but this is a time to present a movie that you can watch as a family. If you don't hang out with family on Thanksgiving, then I'm sure you can look at previous MOVIE WEEKEND posts and find something to watch.

Happy Viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

52 comments:

  1. I will probably sleep all day before I have to work. If I have any energy, I'll check it out. Disney makes me happy.

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  2. Hi, Janie Junebug! Thanks for the movie suggestion. Who could have predicted that Jon Hamm would find work after Mad Men? :) On a serious note, I also noticed Hamm sounding raspy in appearances on the talk show circuit a while back. I remember wondering if it had anything to do with the heavy smoking that his Don Draper role required. I hope Jon is AOK and has since kicked the habit. I remember Lake Bell from three of my favorite TV series, Miss Match, The Practice and Boston Legal. I will add Million Dollar Arm to my watch list because Mrs. Shady is very fond of baseball movies, movies with Indian characters and, last but not least, Jon Hamm.

    Last evening Mrs. S and I watched Part 2 of The Beach Boys: An American Family which showed up sooner than expected on Crackle. It's a wonderful TV move, much better than most, and I highly recommend it.

    Have a wonderful week ahead, dear Janie!

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    1. They don't smoke real cigarettes on the Mad Men set. I don't remember what they smoke. It should be weed. I'm glad Million Dollar Arm has so many features Mrs. Shady enjoys.

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  3. We did see this one and we gave it a solid "B." Entertaining but not memorable.

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  4. A movie the entire family can watch? Oh, you don't know my family, then. Last time we all got together we watched American Psycho. This sounds interesting, and I may watch it some time on my own, but I think if I tried to get my family to watch this movie they'd all be concerned I was secretly dying and stage an intervention.

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    1. I want to join your family. I like American Psycho.

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  5. I'm sure that would be a hit here. Have you seen the Rookie? I really like that movie.

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    1. Yes, I saw The Rookie. It's another good baseball movie. The baseball movie I love is Field of Dreams, and the book is excellent.

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  6. Sounds like a nice family movie for the holidays. Have a nice Thanksgiving, Janie.

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    1. I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving, Ingrid.

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  7. This was on our watch list for the kids. Tony and I caught "If I Stay" last night on Demand. It was good, better than I thought it would be for a teen movie. Some innuendos, but nothing too uncomfortable, if the kids walked in or out.

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    1. I have If I Stay in my Netflix queue.

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    2. Innuendos?
      I didn't think that movie had anything about Italian suppositories.
      BA DUM BUM

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    3. Penwusser, are you related to Shady Del Knight?

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  8. Thanks Janie. Have a good Thanksgiving!

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    1. You're welcome. I hope you have a joyous Thanksgiving.

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  9. I'm glad you did this review, Janie. I was wondering about this movie. I'll put it on my Saturday night-movie night list. Thanks.

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  10. Thank you for recommending "Philomena" a while ago--it was wonderful!!

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    1. You're welcome. I'm pleased that you liked it.

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  11. It sounds a bit too corny for my taste, but I appreciate the review.
    Have a great Thanksgiving wee, JJ.
    Much love to you. xo

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    1. Love to you, my dear. Happy Thanksgiving.

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  12. Thanks for the recommendation, Janie.

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    1. You're welcome. I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.

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  13. Sounds like a holiday week flick. Have you seen Moneyball? You'd like that one, I'll bet. Hope you and Franklin are having a great day!

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    1. I love Moneyball. Franklin is hangin' on the deck today. It's 83 degrees and humid. It's close to air conditioning weather.

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  14. I just watched this last night. I always love your reviews and again, I agree. So funny because the whole time I was thinking it was so annoying about John Hamm's voice. It sounded like he was congested or something. I never recall hearing him sound that bad in Mad Men. Must be all the smoking LOL. Great review, as always. xx

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie. I love your post for today about marriage. The Mad Men cast did not smoke real cigarettes. They had some sort of alternative, but I suppose the alternative might have been hard on one's throat.

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  15. In today's world, I'll settle for the outlandish (e.g., Guardians of the Galaxy) and predictable.
    I just want to escape from the madness and be entertained for a little while.

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  16. My hubby and I saw this movie on the big screen, and I really liked it. Reminded us of the differences in cultures.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.

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  17. Great review! I shall add this to my must-see list!

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  18. You may remember I'm married to a Bollywood princess, and she tells me the movie isn't racist. People should stop walking on egg shells. It's getting tiresome.

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  19. I saw the trailer for this when it first came out. I'll have to make a point of seeing it.

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  20. Hi Janie! I've been catching up on your blog! It's such a hectic time right now with the holidays bearing down and a sick and suffering hubby. I've been enjoying Franklin's posts and movie reviews. We'll be up in the mountains for Thanksgiving with my husband's sister's family. It will be football, football, football! I, myself, would rather a good movie. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Take care!

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    1. You need a TV and DVD player or a computer in a quiet corner so you can enjoy movies. Willy Dunne Wooters doesn't watch football on holidays. Woo-hoo!

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  21. Before I read the post, I was thinking you would talk about the "arm" built by Canadians to be used in space shuttles and the like.. But that really was a multi-million dollar arm; it didn't fit the parameters of your title. So, yes, Disney; simple little "happy stories." Stay with the brand.

    Blessings and Bear hugs, Janie. Best to WDW. Instead of movies, get him to try some bird watching.

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    1. Jacksonville is not a place to watch birds. The feral cats have reduced the bird population. I rarely see a bird.

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  22. It does look like a nice feel-good film. Certainly not a hundred percent accurate. You're right, Hollywood can't do that.

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    1. I read online that the two young men were picked up by a team, maybe Pittsburgh. One was dropped at the end of the first year. I don't remember what happened to the other. But at least they got contracts for a while.

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  23. It sounds to me like it's what it looked like, which is fine. Not exceptional, just sort of mildly entertaining, predictable, just fine. But you know, that's not bad, it just is.

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  24. My wife has VERY limited tolerance for inspiring sports movies but she might sit through this one. She likes both Hamm and Mandvi (who doesn't?) and has a mild affection for cricket. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. You can tell her on my behalf that it's not a sports movie as much as it's about the interconnectedness of humankind, and strangers forming a family of sorts.

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  25. I remember hearing about that one and seeing the previews. I was excited to see how the whole culture shock aspect would be presented, and I'm laughing and people who are overly sensitive about it. I had several bouts of culture shock myself after moving to NYC. =)

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

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    1. I experienced culture shock when we lived in the country in Illinois, surrounded by farmers. The women's lives were so different from mine. I was also a bit shocked when I moved to Jacksonville and looked out the window and saw neighbors. I spent so many years with no one in sight.

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