Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
Million Dollar Arm takes a lot for granted when it comes to its audience. It assumes that anyone paying to see this film must care about baseball. Odds are it's right — you've got to have some motivating factor beyond Jon Hamm's jawline. But it assumes you care enough that it doesn't matter how little its characters seem to. We see so few instances involving any carnal appreciation for the game throughout the bulk of the picture, least of all from cranky and materialistic sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Hamm), that when the final act treats us to its coup de grâce tearjerkers we can't help but feel like we're being thrown one hell of a curveball.
But that isn't the worst of the film's assumptions. As a last ditch effort to find a ringer both talented and bankable enough to save his career, J.B. throws caution to the wind and high tails it to India on a scouting mission for strong-armed cricket bowlers. So casually racist that you'd think this film takes place long before 2008, J.B. hates everything about cricket (...why?) and India on the whole, submitting immediately to the idea that he's in a third-rate wasteland where nothing can get done, nobody knows anything, and any young boy would be elated to get out of dodge. And Million Dollar Arm has no interest in proving him wrong: The film never second-guesses (and assumes we won't either) the notion that Big Leagues hopefuls Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku (Suraj Sharma) would be happier and better off in America. It assumes we won't take any issue with the idea that two boys from India must have never seen an elevator, a television, or a moment of good fortune. Sure, they might not have... but it's as if Million Dollar Arm expects us to believe there is no other option when a wide-eyed Sharma wanders through a Californian hotel like Wall-E exploring the starliner.
Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
The film gives itself so much regrettable leeway while carting through the necessary points of its true story, jumping from the laughable inception of J.B.'s plan to move his search overseas to the languid introduction of the two boys (neither of whom is given any backstory) and their entry into the MLB's consideration. But scattered throughout are beats and scenes that seem ripped from a different script entirely — J.B.'s gradual appreciation of Dinesh, Rinku, and much bemoaned translator, documentarian, and aspiring baseball coach Amit (Pitobash Tripathy) as his surrogate family. Of course the vast majority of his emotional realizations come at the behest of his beautiful, kooky tenant Brenda (Lake Bell), but the kids are usually at least nearby.
It's shocking how much the personal material does to salvage Million Dollar Arm, though. J.B.'s relationship with Dinesh, Rinku, and Amit, and — perhaps more importantly — the relationships between Dinesh, Rinku, and Amit themselves are funny, warm, and flavorful enough to give this otherwise faceless movie some real character. Secondary players Bill Paxton and Alan Arkin do little to surprise, playing disgruntled and unconscious respectively, but there's a reason these guys are always called on to do the same thing. And if that's not enough for you, Aasif Mandvi's kids keep throwing up. It plays both like an extended metaphor about the hidden joys in family life and a non sequitur gag from Tomcats. Take your pick.
Million Dollar Arm's charming points are strong enough to distract at times from its boisterous misgivings, but they peer through in the end. Not every baseball movie needs hair-tustling and eye-welling. Not every baseball movie warrants a Pride of the Yankees elegy about the glories of the diamond. But Million Dollar Arm wishes it was one of these movies (so much so that it actually rips the Lou Gehrig speech right out of Gary Cooper's mouth). Still, instead of building a story about the love of baseball or even about the magic of this story, Million Dollar Arm keeps all its genuine energy on a bunt: the story of some jackass who warms up to a couple of kids after a while. Not a bad play, but hardly the grand slam it was going for.
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British musicians Miles Kane, David Mccabe and James Skelly have paid tribute to record label founder Alan Wills, who died on Sunday night (11May14). The Deltasonic Records creator was left critically ill after suffering serious head injuries in a cycling accident last week (ends09May14), and he died of his injuries in hospital. He was 52.
Now musicians who have worked with Wills paid their respects to the man who helped kickstart their career.
Kane, whose band The Rascals was first signed to Deltasonic, has tweeted: "RIP Alan Wills such sad news he made me believe in my dreams and gave me my first break and that I'll never forget big love to the family!"
The Zutons frontman McCabe adds, "You gave me my first and only record deal and you where (sic) the best person to have around to learn from RIP ALAN (willsy) WILLS all my love."
The Coral's Skelly adds, "Alan was a true and loyal friend. I am gutted."
Wills performed as a drummer for Liverpool, England bands Shack and Top before focusing on finding new talent as a record company boss.
Rocker Courtney Love once considered a career as a dominatrix but changed her mind when a man demanded to spank her. The Hole frontwoman discusses her friendship with a dominatrix in her web series #CourtneyOn, and was asked by U.K. talk show host Alan Carr if she ever considered the profession for herself.
Love admits she tried it once but quickly realised it was not for her when a client asked to spank her.
She says, "I tried (becoming a dominatrix) because in L.A. (Los Angeles) there's no sex involved, it's just learning how to tie knots. And I went in there and... the first client picked me as a submissive and wanted to spank me and I was just out of there. I mean to spank a guy for money, I would have done back then, but to get spanked - I just couldn't do it."
Rock hellraiser Courtney Love has a secret addiction - she's hooked on trashy U.K. reality shows. The Hole frontman admits she loves visiting the U.K. so she can catch up on shows such as The Only Way Is Essex and Made in Chelsea, which both focus on the antics on young, glamorous Brits.
Speaking about her obsession to TV chat show host Alan Carr, she admits, "I’m a big trashy British TV fan. I love c**p British TV
"I love Towie (The Only Way Is Essex), Made in Chelsea, stuff like that. I don’t like c**p American TV but I love c**p British TV. I live for it."
But Love cannot stand U.S. reality shows about "real housewives", adding, "The shows really drive me nuts. I’d love to see the Housewives of Birmingham or something. That would be great. Or the housewives of Liverpool."
Rocker Courtney Love turned down a night of passion with funnyman Russell Brand because he smells strange.
The Hole frontwoman was linked to the famed Lothario in 2006 when they were said to have spent a night together at a top hotel. Now Kurt Cobain's widow has revealed Brand propositioned her and tried to get her into bed, but she turned him down because she didn't like his "musky" aroma.
She tells U.K. chat show host Alan Carr, "My favourite Russell Brand line (was) when we first were friends and he tried to hit on me, and nothing ever happened. "You know, I'm female. He goes, 'I've had a lot of grand conservations darling but none of them have ever ended in an orgasm. Can we go in your room?'... He's got some good lines. And I said to Russell, 'You're too musky for me, man.'"
Paramount via Everett Collection
There's nothing better than an instantly quotable movie line. Some of the funniest movies in cinema history have been released since 2000, and they have given us iconic phrases that we continue to quote with our friends and family. To pay tribute to the ones that make us laugh the loudest, below are 21 of the funniest movie quotes of the 21st century.
Derek Zoolander: “If there is anything that this horrible tragedy can teach us, it's that a male model's life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.”
Damian: “Glenn Coco? FOUR for you, Glenn Coco! You go, Glenn Coco.”
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Ron Burgundy: “This is your doctor. I have your pregnancy report here, and guess what? You got knocked up.”
Seth: “I'm over here in my unit, isolated and alone, eating my terrible tasting food, and I have to look over at that. That looks like the most fun I've ever seen in my entire life, and it's B.S. — excuse my language. I'm just saying that I wash and dry; I'm like a single mother. Look, we all know home-ec is a joke — no offense — it's just that everyone takes this class to get an A, and it's bulls**t — and I'm sorry. I'm not putting down your profession, but it's just the way I feel. I don't want to sit here, all by myself, cooking this s**tty food — no offense — and I just think that I don't need to cook tiramisu. Am I going to be a chef? No. There's three weeks left of school, give me a f**king break! I'm sorry for cursing.”
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Edith: “What about my dreams?”Dewey Cox: “Edith I told you I can't build your candy house! It will fall apart, the sun will melt the candy, it won't work!”
Hal: "Does she take the cake, or what?"Mauricio: "She takes the whole bakery, Hal."
To Rome with Love
Jerry: “Don't analyze me, Phyllis, okay? You know, many have tried and all have failed. My brain doesn't fit the usual id-ego-superego model!”Phyllis: “No, you have the only brain with three ids.”
Dory: “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy. Come on, Squishy Come on, little Squishy.”
Lost in Translation
Bob: “Is that everything? It seemed like he said quite a bit more than that.”
Doorman: “You old, she pregnant. Can't have a bunch of old pregnant b**ches running around. That's crazy, I'm only allowed to let in five percent black people. He said that, that means if there's 25 people here I get to let in one and a quarter black people. So I gotta hope there's a black midget in the crowd.”
Alan: “You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack. But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack... it grew by one. So there... there were two of us in the wolf pack... I was alone first in the pack, and then Doug joined in later. And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought, 'Wait a second, could it be?' And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack. Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast!”
Mrs. Kroeger: “You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me!”
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
White Goodman: “There's no reason we need to be shackled by the strictures of the employee-employer relationship. Unless you're into that sort of thing. In which case, I got some shackles in the back. I'm just kidding. But seriously, I've got 'em.”
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Borat: “Very nice, very nice! How much?”
Megan: “I'm glad he's single because I'm going to climb that like a tree."
Matt: “Mavis, I would keep all of this to yourself. I would find a therapist.”
Vanessa: “Your parents are probably wondering where you are.”Juno: “Nah... I mean, I'm already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?”
Olive: "I want a one hundred dollar gift card deposited into my locker by noon tomorrow. Preferably to The Gap, but I'd also take Amazon.com, or Office Max. Actually make it Office Max — I have my eye on a label maker. We did not have sex. I let you fondle my chest, and it was a glorious moment for you. Unmatched by anything you have heretofore experienced... including cake."
21 Jump Street
Jenko: “Look, it obviously starts with... you have the right to remain silent...”Schmidt: [Whispering] “You have the right to an attorney."Jenko: “You have the right to remain... an attorney."Deputy Chief Hardy: “Did you just say you have the right to be an attorney?”Schmidt: “You do have the right to be an attorney if you want to.”
Best in Show
Harlan Pepper: “I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, ‘Harlan Pepper, if you don't stop naming nuts...’ And the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think that's what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room, and she'd just start yelling. I'd say, ‘Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut.’ That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She'd say, ‘Would you stop naming nuts!’ And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn't talk, but he'd go ‘rrrawr rrawr’ and that sounded like 'macadamia nut.' Pine nut, which is a nut, but it's also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut.”
The Devil Wears Prada
Miranda Priestly: "Is it impossible to find a lovely, slender, female paratrooper? Am I reaching for the stars here? Not really."
British singer Adele once fell sick with food poisoning from lamb kebabs cooked by Paloma Faith. The Rolling in the Deep hitmaker and singer Faith went to a dinner party hosted by U.K. chat show presenter Alan Carr, and Faith brought along a dodgy batch of meaty treats which left her friends feeling ill.
Speaking on Carr's show Alan Carr: Chatty Man, Faith says, "I gave them all food poisoning. I really like Alan and Adele and I did not mean to do that - I have not spoken to Alan until now. I did buy the meat from a really good supermarket, which I won't name but I'd love to sue."
The human guests at the party were not the only ones to suffer from the foul food - Adele also gave a bite to her dog Louie, who spat it out all over Carr's carpet.
Faith jokes, "She should not be giving lamb kebabs to her dog anyway... I'm sorry." The interview is due to air in the U.K. on Friday (02May14).
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection
There are some actors that we love to hear sing. In fact, we've compiled a list of a few performers' voices that we can't get enough of. Then there are others that really just shouldn't be given the opportunity to sing on screen. Some of them are truly terrible and some others are just misguided, but here's our look at the worst singing performances in movies.
Pierce Brosnan, Mamma Mia!
There's a reason that they used to dub actors' singing voices in musicals (Hello, Marnie Nixon!), and Brosnan is the poster child for revisiting the practice. He looks terrific in the Mediterranean locales and linen suits of Mamma Mia!, but his singing is bad enough that it almost deserves its own separate category.
Russell Crowe, Les Miserables
It's hard to know exactly what the producers were thinking when they cast Crowe in Les Miz, beyond just that he sort of looks right for the role of Inspector Javert. He certainly doesn’t sound right. Most of the rest of the cast can legitimately sing, so tossing the Gladiator star into the mix was all the more jarring.
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
There are actually worse vocal performances in Tim Burton's film about the "Demon Barber of Fleet Street"… Alan Rickman and Helena Bonham Carter to name two. The issue with Depp's singing is that he can't seem to figure out what to do with his accent. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not, and sometimes it morphs into a little bit of Keith Richards/Jack Sparrow.
Alec Baldwin, Rock of Ages, or...
...Tom Cruise, Rock of Ages
We tried to pick which was worse… Baldwin singing "I Can't Fight This Feeling" with Russell Brand or Cruise singing "I Want to Know What Love Is" with Malin Akerman. There was no consensus since they're both about as bad as anything you'll ever see in a movie musical. Feel free to watch them and see if you can decide... if you can make it all the way through either one.
Drew Barrymore, Music and Lyrics
We love Barrymore, really we do. She's adorable and sweet and we like having her around. It's just that her voice is a little too thin for her to be singing on camera. We thought so in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You and we thought the same thing in her rom-com with Hugh Grant.
Michael Caine, The Muppet Christmas Carol
Okay, so it's a Muppets movie, we get it. Kermit and Miss Piggy aren't the best singers either. But both Tina Fey and Amy Adams have proven that just because you're surrounded by felt doesn't mean that you have to sing poorly. In the grand tradition of British stage actors, Caine just kind of talks his way through his singing parts. Not all traditions are good.
Cameron Diaz, My Best Friend's Wedding
Yes, the script called for her to be intentionally bad… and, by that standard, this is a dynamite performance. You know that you're in a rom-com when the crowd at a karaoke place starts going nuts for someone butchering a Dusty Springfield song.
Edward Norton, Everyone Says I Love You
This is kind of a shame, because it's clear that Norton really enjoys singing. He tosses himself into the musical performance with gusto, treating it like it's the prison cell scene from Primal Fear… which is what makes him such a good actor. It just doesn't make him a good singer. Based on Keeping the Faith and his Motorola commercial, however, it does seem like he'd be more fun at a karaoke bar than Diaz.
Adam Sandler, The Wedding Singer
Here's the mistake that a lot of people make… just because Sandler sings a lot doesn't mean that he's a good singer. We admire the fact that he likes to do it and we laughed at "The Turkey Song" and "The Hanukkah Song" on Saturday Night Live, same as everyone else… but there are limits to how much of Sandler's man-child voice that we can take. He is, however, welcome to continue serenading Barrymore once every 10 years as he did recently on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Sometimes even bad singing is sweet.
Actor Alan Cumming shocked a fan when he invited her on stage during a performance of his Broadway show Cabaret on Sunday (27Apr14). The X-Men 2 star picked the woman to be his dancing partner at the top of Act II.
A source tells the New York Daily News, "She was so excited to be with him, she said, 'I love you. I love (your TV series) The Good Wife.'
"He replied, 'What do you mean? This is Berlin in the 1920s (referring to the setting of the play). You can still love me, just don't be specific'."
Cumming is currently starring as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub opposite Michelle Williams in the Broadway revival of the musical.
"Luckily, I dated all of the losers ages ago. My love life has been stable for a while. It's a f**ked up thing - without conflict it's a lot harder to write interesting songs." Singer/songwriter Solange Knowles on the positives and negatives of finding love with her longterm boyfriend, video director Alan Ferguson. Beyonce's younger sister was previously married to her high school sweetheart Daniel Julez Smith, the father of her nine-year-old son, Daniel Julez J. Smith, Jr.