This Rotten Week: Predicting Godzilla And Million Dollar Arm Reviews

By Doug Norrie 2014-05-11 18:59:15discussion comments
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Million Dollar Arm
Rotten Watch Prediction
At one point I think I would have said that Hollywood would never run out of baseball stories to tell. Cinema is one of the gameís strongest foothold in Americana, and for a long time the nation's on-going nostalgia with the sport has helped keep a constant production of movies coming that tug at our heartstrings and reinvigorate a sense of wonder. But, man, that time might be passing. We might just be running out of sports stories to tell in general. It may have all already been done.

But before we get into that, see what director Craig Gillespie is bringing to the mound in the Million Dollar Arm trailer:



Look, I love basebll, and write about it daily, so I feel particularly in tune to movies that engage in a dialogue about it. What I mean by baseball stories (or sports stories in general) running dry in the creative sense is that we keeping seeing flicks about the process behind the game rather than the game itself. On the surface, this doesnít seem like the worst thing, especially if there is a mild human interest story like the one in Million Dollar Arm (down on his luck but still kind of rich agent heads to India to find the next big major league pitcher). But with each movie like this, Moneyball, Draft Day, etc. the modern version of the sports movie is becoming something different. Something corporate. We are rooting for the executives and the agents? Is that really the goal?

This flick is about the agent (Jon Hamm), and not necessarily about the actual kids who become the pitchers. The latter appear to be part of the movie, but far from the leads. It just strikes me (pun intended) as weird and a bit off center.

Director Craig Gillespie has been up and down the critical ladder in his career. Movies like Fright Night (72%) and Lars and the Real Girl (82%) were both winners and Mr. Woodcock (13%) bombed terribly. Iím inclined to think he will pull off some feel-good moments in this one, but early reviews are mixed which is a bad sign out of the gate. Again, I have a feeling that the sports movie shift toward the executives (and not the players) is the wrong direction. Something I hope shifts back sooner than later.
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