Sports movies often follow a predictable roadmap in which an underdog team must overcome an impossible opponent, come together to show remarkable progress, face an unexpected problem, and then persevere in the end. “Million Dollar Arm” is not one of those movies. This film tells the tale of two individuals trying to prove themselves in a sport that they have never played. While this is a “baseball movie,” you do not have to be a sports fan to enjoy it. The story is told through the medium of baseball but the heart of this film lies in the cultural and language barriers faced by the protagonists. As if this wasn’t a big enough “human element,” their materialistic manager must undergo a humbling transformation. Pitobash Tripathy, Lake Bell, and Alan Arkin steal the spotlight with their character roles, but all of the acting is above average. I really enjoyed the score by A. R. Rahman and the script is good, but I was most impressed with the director’s ability to bring this true story to life through the atmospheric shots of India. The story hits close to home because the main characters were drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the Indian atmosphere emphasizes the culture shock faced by any foreign athletes when they first arrive in America. I love all of the American sports movies, but “Million Dollar Arm” is a breath of fresh air.
[Pictured: Good performances all around, especially Pitobash Tripathy (on the right)]