I’m a baseball fan. Always have been. The St. Louis Cardinals is my team – my big brother, Mike, bought me my first Cardinals tee-shirt (Lou Brock!) in the ’70’s and Oh, the crush I had on Keith Hernandez when I was in high school…sigh. I married a lifelong Cards fan and we’ve lived in blissful baseball harmony all these 25 years (this September 9th). Consequently, Raymond and I both love baseball movies. We will often kick off baseball season in the spring by re-watching a few of our favorites. Field of Dreams, a perennial favorite, is just outstanding no matter how many times we watch it. I was once burned, though, by another Kevin Costner movie – For Love of the Game (1999) – a chick-flick disguised as a baseball movie. That cruel deception has made me wary of baseball movies – I walked into the theater expecting another epic baseball film and walked out royally
pissed off really angry. As usual, I digress. Okay – back to today.
I didn’t want to read anything before seeing Million Dollar Arm, in spite of my fear of baseball movie deception, but I found a spoiler-free review in my twitter feed and trusted it enough to follow the link – so the great review here (by George Gensler) at Adventures by Daddy told me enough to know I could expect Million Dollar Arm to be a real baseball flick (with a dash of romance thrown in). The movie’s based on a true story and if you go see it, stick around through the credits to see some wonderful actual photos and videos of the real people behind the story.
Why this is a fantastic baseball film:
Million Dollar Arm is about baseball. And business. And relationships, personalities, taking chances, and redemption. I was drawn into the story right away – then experienced a huge variety of emotions. Many scenes are funny, but I also felt sorrow, anger, joy, surprise, and frustration. To be cliché, I laughed, I cried – and everything in between. John Hamm does an exceptional job playing J. B. Bernstein – the sports agent main character. His ability to manipulate viewers’ emotions is a huge part of what makes this movie work. I have never been to India, but the parts of the film that take place in India were superbly filmed and edited – I saw India in a way I never have before.
The script, acting, and directing – along with an amazing musical soundtrack – combine to make you feel something for each character. Those feelings may not always be positive, but that’s also what makes Million Dollar Arm good entertainment – and a GREAT baseball movie. In fact, I haven’t enjoyed any movie as much as I did this one in quite a while.
On the fence? Go on – there’s a great story there…even if you’re not into baseball – but if that’s the case, don’t tell me, okay? I don’t trust people who don’t love baseball.
Have you seen Million Dollar Arm? What did you think?