Million Dollar Arm (Blu-ray)

October 21, 2014 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Jon Hamm stars as JB, he is a sports agent who travels to India to recruit Cricket players to play baseball in the U.S. It doesn’t take too long for him to find two players. They come to the states and JB becomes agitated when he discovers that their talent isn’t coming through like it did when he saw them. We also get scenes of the players adjusting to the different culture and technology. These scenes all feel a bit silly. We watch them as they ride on an elevator for the first time or when they discover pizza as well. The story is also rather predictable; Sports Agent down on his luck, the underdog team that few people believed in, and even a romantic subplot involving JB’s tenant played by Lake Bell. The film keeps cutting back to scenes between the two, but these only drag the film down. Truth be told, the Bell character probably could have been nixed from the film all together without it losing its effect. Alan Arkin also shows up as a sports scout, but his character feels like a cliché.

I’ve never been a huge sports fan, but baseball in particular bores me to tears. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy films on the sport, however. Still, Million Dollar Arm really doesn’t have many effective baseball scenes. Hamm is mostly one-note throughout the film, and the other characters hardly register. There seemed to be over a dozen scenes of JB rushing the boys to hurry, or scurrying to get to a party on time. Everything about the film is by-the-numbers. I was thinking that the film would at least offer a bit of mild entertainment value, but it also bores. It’s also far too long for a story that really doesn’t have many surprising elements. Had it lost a good 20 minutes or so, it might’ve flowed better. Predictable, boring and uninteresting, you should skip Arm and check out a better sports film instead. It failed to make an impression on me.

Video: How’s it look?

Any film concerning baseball (or any sport, for that matter) will ultimately showcase the playing field. As is stands with a baseball film, we’re presented with the lush green outfield as it contrasts with the more “earthy” look of India.  Flesh tones are warm and natural and, come to think of it, everything seems to have a very warm look to it. I suppose that’s intentional and it gives the film a very pleasant demeanor.  Detail is as we’d expect, very sharp and I noticed no real errors in the 2.39:1 AVC HD transfer. It’s a very overall good image, though a few scenes looked a bit soft.

Audio: How’s it sound?

As a rule sports movies are a bit hit and miss when it comes to dynamic audio. If you’re watching a football or boxing film, there are times when you feel like you’re about to get hit and the sound simply resonates through the room. Baseball is a bit different as the crack of the bat isn’t exactly the same as the thud of a fist. Still, this DTS HD Master Audio track serves its purpose and does a good job of re-creating the experience. It’s not the best and most dynamic audio to hit the format, then again it wasn’t supposed to be.

Supplements: What are the extras?

I’m often amazed at how sports movies are marketed. This movie was released in theaters in May and comes to Blu-ray just in time for the baseball postseason. Coincidence?  I think not.

  • Training Camp – Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal give us the lowdown on the training involved for the film, some of their workouts and the assistance from a minor league baseball player.
  • Their Story – The real Rinku, Dinesh, and JB give us their version.
  • Million Dollar Music by A.R. Rahman – The film’s composer dishes on the soundtrack to the film.
  • Deleted Scenes – Three total and none really add to the film.
  • Alternate Ending
  • Outtakes

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