Friday, September 23, 2011

Moneyball - Movie Review


Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright and Chris Pratt.
Directed by Bennett Miller.

First we got a very long Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trailer. There's a 3 min-45 second one floating around the internet now, but the one we had was at least 5 minutes long. Looks very well done, more alive and expensive than the original.

But then we get the movie. It's an interesting twist on the sports film, in that it's not about the usual lessons that need to be learned. It's doesn't end in the ninth ending of the Big Game. It's about Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), a former baseball prodigy who never lived up to his potential and went into management. He's GM for the cheapest team in MLB, the Oakland Athletics. In 2001 they came close to toppling the mighty rich New York Yankees, and that off-season they lost their three best players. They can't afford to keep them. What is a team to do?

They're to try something different. Enter Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), an economics major who's developed a system of calculating the worth of a player. They find those players they believe are undervalued and affordable, and so, statistically speaking, this hodge-podge of misfits should make a winning team.

Billy is a driven man. He's kind of a jerk, but still one where we want him to succeed. I can see why Pitt fought so hard to get this movie made. It's a great script from Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, and I really enjoyed many of the decisions director Bennet Miller (Capote) made.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is an effective grump as Art Howe, the manager who completely disagrees with Billy's approach. Robin Wright has one good scene as Billy's ex-wife.

Billy's A's may not have won the World Series, but his approach changed baseball forever.

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