Inspirational sports dramas based upon incredible real-life events tend to (ironically) be about as formulaic and conventional as movies get, yet you'd be hard-pressed to run through the list of entries to the sub-genre produced and/or distributed by Disney - Cool Runnings, Remember the Titans, Miracle, Invincible - and not come up with at least one title that warms the cockles of even the most cynical moviegoer's heart.
Million Dollar Arm is the latest such project from Disney, and judging by the trailer the film just might have the right touches - strong cast with good chemistry, relevant subject matter - to make the formula work yet again. The movie is based on the true-story of professional baseball agent J.B. Berstein, who - back in the mid-2000s - found his career plummeting for oblivion. In a bid to save his own hide, Berstein puts on a reality show in India called The Million Dollar Arm, so as to find the best cricket players in the country and bring them to the U.S. - hopefully, with the final result being that they strike a deal with a Major League Baseball team.
Mad Men's Golden Globe-winning leading man, Jon Hamm, plays Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm, alongside Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire) and Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) portraying Dinish Patel and Rinku Singh - the cricket pitchers who make the journey to America. Rounding out the supporting cast are Alan Arkin (Grudge Match), Lake Bell (In a World...), Aasif Mandvi (The Last Airbender) and Bill Paxton (2 Guns).
Here is the poster for Million Dollar Arm:
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The Million Dollar Arm script was penned by acclaimed actor/writer/director Thomas McCarthy, whose credits include The Station Agent, The Visitor and - most recently - the well-received indie high school wrestling dramedy Win Win. Directing responsibilities were handled by Craig Gillespie (Fright Night), while the score was provided by multiple Oscar-winner A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours).
... Now let's just hope the actual movie doesn't play so much on outdated stereotypes (see: Dinish and Rinku marveling at the magic of elevator technology), as the trailer would suggest.
Million Dollar Arm opens in U.S. theaters on May 16th, 2014.