We were invited to the world premiere event of Disney's Million Dollar Arm in Hollywood! I was invited as media to attend this all expense paid trip in exchange for my coverage. All opinions are my own.
Today is THE day – Disney’s Million Dollar Arm released in theaters across the country!!! After seeing the movie twice, I so badly want to take the whole family to see it (it's rated PG, by the way, so you can bring your whole family too!)! If you've been following my Disney adventures, you've seen some of my recent interviews with the cast for Million Dollar Arm. I've interviewed Jon Hamm and the REAL JB Bernstein, Rinku and Dinesh. And I also attended the world premiere event for Million Dollar Arm (AMAZING).
The story truly is amazing, and although I'm not an avid baseball fan, it's definitely a different kind of sports themed movie all on it's own. It's filled with motivation to keep relentlessly following your dreams, and humility knowing that the most amazing people in this world don't have to be the most powerful and most outspoken. It's a wholesome movie where everyone will leave feeling inspired. You'll understand why after reading my review!
About Million Dollar Arm:
Based on a true story, sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) finds that business has changed and things aren’t going well for his career. In a last ditch effort to save his livelihood he concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “The Million Dollar Arm.” With the help of cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin), he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18-year-old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India, the boys, who have never left their rural villages, are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell), learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.
Check out the featurette for the Million Dollar Arm:
The movie is based on a true story, inspired by real events. I was skeptical after watching the movie that it was a true story, because how could something seemingly impossible happen to these boys from India?! How could TWO boys learn to be pro athletes in 10 months? That stuff only happens in…well, in movies. Which is why I didn't believe it was inspired by true events. The whole movie had me at the edge of my seat. But after interviewing the real characters that the movie was based on, it really DID happen!
Million Dollar Arm starts off with the story of JB Bernstein (sports agent played by Jon Hamm) who used to have successful clients. But after three years of closed doors, both he and his business partner Ash (Aasif Mandvi) decided they needed just one great idea to get their business back on track.
In 2007, JB Bernstein staged a reality show in India to find promising baseball talents amongst the cricket-loving population called “The Million Dollar Arm”. Bernstein says, “The hope was to find the next Yao Ming, except for baseball. Statistically speaking, in a country of 1.2 billion people, the odds are good that you will find an undiscovered raw talent. The hope was to capture all those cricket fans and turn them towards baseball.”
After visiting several cities in India, Bernstein found his baseball pitchers (Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel), and brought them back to the United States. Rinku, Dinesh, along with their translator/aspiring baseball coach Amit Rohan, lived in JB Bernstein's house as they trained baseball. At the same time, they had to learn and acclimate themselves to the American culture (which was quite a challenge for Rinku and Dinesh). The challenges were not only large but even intricate things like opening elevators were very new to them.
To me, the film wasn't just about sports – it was about understanding different cultures, the love of family in all cultures, embracing change, and selfless love without underlying motives. It was funny, sad, encouraging, inspiring, and really hit the heart hard when it came to family. There was even a nice touch of romance between Brenda (played by Lake Bell) and JB Bernstein (played by Jon Hamm). The whole cast was well thought out and did an amazing job of portraying real characters. All in clean fun and it was family friendly – what Disney is always known for. Well played, Disney. Well played. Don't forget to bring the tissues!
Million Dollar Arm hits theaters May 16, 2014! Be sure to buy your tickets now!
Want to know more or stay up to date with the #MillionDollarArmEvent then be sure to follow on all the social channels for more news to come for Million Dollar Arm: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | @DISNEYPICTURES on Twitter
*Photos courtesy of Disney and Louise Bishop of Mom Start.