Thanks to comedian Russell Peters, I am interested in movies or TV shows that involve Indian people as the main characters. Don’t ask me why; I don’t really know. But when I saw a preview for Million Dollar Arm, I knew I had to go see it, despite the fact that I couldn’t care less about baseball. I’m incredibly glad I did, because Million Dollar Arm is funny, yet serious, and entertaining, yet informative. It’s an inspirational story that shows us that we can do anything we set our minds to.
Million Dollar Arm is about sports agent J.B. Bernstein. His agency is floundering, and they need to land a big signing deal in order to even stay afloat. When all their prospects fall through, J.B. nearly gives up. Then, as he’s flipping channels late one evening between a Cricket match and Britain’s Got Talent, he gets an amazing idea. Find somebody who plays cricket, then teach them how to play baseball as a pitcher.
So, he heads to India, where their favorite sport is cricket. He hosts a sort of game show called Million Dollar Arm, where he encourages Indian people to come and throw a baseball for the chance to win big cash and a trip to America to train to become a professional athlete. Upon arrival, J.B. finds that cricket bowlers (similar to baseball pitchers) can’t play baseball well at all. But, with just enough luck, he snags a couple of decent players and heads home.
From there, it’s a story of J.B. learning that family, friends, and caring for one another always comes before money. He became so caught up in training the winners (so that he can make money) that he completely misses the facts that they aren’t happy in America. After all, they’re thousands of miles from home, they don’t speak the English language, and the one man who is supposed to care about them would rather stay on the phone all day making deals and talking business.
Luckily, redemption comes along, and all is well. I won’t tell you how the movie ends, but I can assure you: you’ll enjoy it. Even better, Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story, and they even show some clips and pictures of the real Indian boys during the credits.
I love so many aspects of Million Dollar Arm. First, it isn’t cheesy. The Indian kids (Rinku and Dinesh) aren’t played out stereotypically. The movie doesn’t make fun of Indians; rather, it brings light to the plight of overcrowded Indian cities, and it shows just how rough it is for foreigners to learn the ways of Americans. Furthermore, it portrays the Indian culture well (I think), and all is done tastefully. I would hope that Indian-Americans aren’t offended by this movie, and judging by the fact that a couple Indian-Americans were in the same theater as us, I would say Million Dollar Arm does a fine job.
I love the progression shown in Rinku, Dinesh, and Amit, their Indian translator who aspires to become a baseball coach. Rinku and Dinesh go from shy kids who don’t speak any English (or know how to use elevators) to young adults who can speak fluent English and listen to Keith Urban and Eminem. Amit learns more about baseball and learns how to give a killer pep talk, which I’m not ashamed to say may have almost made me choke up a bit.
I love the inspirational story. These boys had never even picked up a baseball, but within a year, they were throwing perfect strikes over 90 MPH. Why can’t we do the same? Can’t we become the actors of tomorrow? Or the politicians? Or the writers? Musicians? Athletes? If they can do it, what’s stopping us from becoming great?
I walked out of the theater knowing that anything is possible with Christ and a bit of practice. I also loved the fact that Rinku, Dinesh, and Amit are religious. They prayed faithfully to their God, and although we don’t have the same religion, the main essence of what they were doing still rang true; it can still be applied to our own lives no matter what religion we claim as our own.
In the end, Million Dollar Arm is great. It’s witty and funny, it’s inspirational and dramatic, and it isn’t cheesy or stereotypical in any way. Whether you like baseball or not, whether you’re interested in Indian culture or not, go see Million Dollar Arm anyway. Why? Because the message still rings true: you can do anything.