Golden Arm: Mary Holland Is Having A Year

(L-R) Betsy Sodaro as Danny and Mary Holland as Melanie in the comedy, “GOLDEN ARM,” a Utopia Distribution release. Photo courtesy of Utopia Distribution.

Mary Holland is having quite the year on screen and her performance in the competitive arm wrestling movie, Golden Arm, is no exception.

The film was set to premiere last year at SXSW and well, we all know what happened there. But anyway, it’s finally coming out this week. Honestly, I can see what the festival programmers chose to have the film premiere at the fest. I really do think that Golden Arm is the type that SXSW audiences will enjoy…even if one isn’t in Austin. It’s not hard to imagine watching it at one of the many SXSW film venues. To think what could have been…

Melanie (Mary Holland) is a baker living in small town Kansas. Her life honestly sucks with ending a marriage and closing her bakery among others things. When this happens, Melanie turns to best friend Danny (Betsy Sodaro).  Danny just so happens to also be a local arm wrestling champion. They might be friends but Melanie’s world doesn’t revolve around the world of arm wrestling. Danny seizes on Melanie’s money troubles and recruits her for the Ladies Arm Wrestling Championship. It’s hard to say no to a $15,000 prize…assuming she wins, of course. And then, of course, you have to deal with Brenda “the Bonecrusher” Smith (Sodaro). No easy feat. Will the encouragement from her new friends and Greg (Eugene Cordero) be what she needs? You’ll just have to wait and see.

Mary Holland is everywhere this year. This past March, you could find her in two SXSW shorts, Sisters and The Other Morgan. She crushes it as a baker-turned-competitive arm wrestler. That’s quite the career change if you ask me. In case I wasn’t being specific enough, I’m talking about her character. But seriously though, Holland shows that she’s quite capable when it comes to leading a film. I look forward to seeing what she does with future endeavors.

There are a lot of comedy performers in this film with improv training. Holland and Sodaro have great chemistry when they are on screen together. When performers work together for so long, they have an idea of what to expect from each other. This is why some of the best comedy duos are able to transcend to the next level. Meanwhile, Greener Grass filmmaker/star Dawn Luebbe disappears into the role of Tessie.

This film gets major points for having a conversation about baseball movies. In particular: Major League, Rookie of the Year, and The Natural. Personally, I’m kind of surprised that Little Big League wasn’t name-dropped. The film has kind of developed a cult following! Funny enough, Shout! is putting out a new Blu-ray this summer but I digress. This is what happens when you have me start thinking about baseball movies!

Golden Arm isn’t the typical female-led film and in fact, this film allows women to truly kick some ass.

DIRECTOR: Maureen Bharoocha
SCREENWRITERS: Ann Marie Allison & Jenna Milly
CAST: Mary Holland, Betsy Sodaro, Olivia Stambouliah, Eugene Cordero, Aparna Nancherla, Dawn Luebbe, Ron Funches, Ahmed Bharoocha, with Dot-Marie Jones and Kate Flannery

Utopia releases Golden Arm in theaters and Digital on April 30, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.