Saturday, December 6, 2014

Million Dollar Morals

   It’s rare that I give the score of 5 out of 5 to anything. Even if I like something, I generally stop at a 4 star rating, because a 5 star rating is for something truly exceptional. It’s also rare that I enjoy a baseball movie at all, unless they involve corn fields filled with dead ball players… My wife is a sports junkie, me? I’m still trying to figure out what a “Charger” is, and why my wife gets so thrilled every time she sees a lightning bolt on another car. So for me to have rated a baseball movie so high is indeed a rare event, and one my wife is marking on her calendar.

   Million Dollar Arm, tells the story of JB Bernstein, a formerly big time talent scout who has fallen on hard times. He has ventured out on his own, with his closest friends, and has been failing to draw in the big athletes his business needs to succeed. Then, his friend suggests tapping foreign markets. Realizing his options are limited, he settles on finding new athletes in the one country untapped by Baseball. India.

  He convinces his investors to let him host a contest, called Million Dollar Arm. The top two winners would be brought to America, where they would have a chance of being signed by an actual Baseball team. Here he meets his new assistant, Amit Rohan, and eventually oversees the contest which is won by Rinku Singh, and Dinesh Patel. The two are brought to America where they experience culture shock, but develop a profound love of our country, and the game of Baseball, while JB must overcome his selfishness and insecurities and embrace his new family in the form of the young ball players, and the cute nurse who lives next door.

   The movie does not set out to be political at all. I don’t mean to over analyze, but in a world where all the bad guys are corporate CEOs, and hard work and profits bring about the end of the planet in like, every movie ever, it’s nice to see a movie which shows, without trying, how capitalism can be a boon to others.

   Here a man goes to India in search of profit, and through hard work he lifts three people out of poverty and enables them to experience the American dream. Now granted, his motives are selfish at first, but as is true with many business relationships, he becomes close to those he is working with, even like a family. When he realizes what he has really built, his motives change. That is capitalism at its finest.

   You see, what we see in Washington DC isn’t capitalism, it’s the inevitable result of government involvement with the market. When markets are left to their own devices, people are lifted out of poverty. The rich get richer, the poor get richer, and everyone benefits. JB’s efforts pay off when Rinku and Dinesh are eventually signed by the Pirates. He gets his pay off, Dinesh and Rinku get their pay off, even the investor, Mr. Chang, gets his pay off. In fact, it is this everybody wins scenario that is the end goal of capitalism’s process. We all get something, we all walk away happy.

   Million Dollar Arm gets a 5 out of 5 for being willing to demonstrate that such scenarios are still out there, even in Obama’s America. With a little hard work, and a dream to pursue, we can all find happiness. Too few films hammer this point home. Kudos to Disney! Go buy this movie! 

A five, out of 5. 

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