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Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) challenges the system and defies conventional wisdom when his is forced to rebuild his small-market team on a limited budget. Despite opposition from the old guard, the media, fans and their own field manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beane - with the help of a young, number-crunching, Yale-educated economist (Jonah Hill) - develops a roster of misfits…and along the way, forever changes the way the game is played.
It's amazing that Moneyball makes baseball statistics seem fascinating--but that's because it's not really a movie about numbers, and it's not really a movie about baseball, either. It's about what drives people to take risks--in this instance, Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), general manager of the Oakland A's, who's just had his best players poached by teams that can afford to pay a lot more. Fed up with how money twists the game, he listens to Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), who persuades him that certain players are being undervalued for trivial reasons--that statistics reveal hidden strengths that could, when used in the right combinations, produce a winning season. Beane takes Brand's advice, then has to fight everyone else around him to follow it through. Moneyball skillfully takes the audience into Beane's psyche. Pitt is in excellent form; it's an understated but magnetic performance, the kind that rarely wins awards but should. Pitt has the physical presence of a former athlete and vividly expresses the mind of a man who's never achieved success but isn't ready to give up. Director Bennett Miller (Capote) shapes the supporting cast (Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, and others less recognizable but just as solid) as carefully as Beane shapes his team. Miller has a few flashy (and highly effective) moments of sound manipulation and editing, but Moneyball is carried by its superb performances. --Bret Fetzer
Billy Beane: Re-Inventing the Game
Moneyball: Playing The Game
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But then, I was going to iPic to see a movie, which was sold out, and I don't even remember what it was, and this movie was playing just at that time and frankly, i didn't even bother to see what movie it was, I just heard 'Brad Pitt' and I was like 'Yes, please.' And really, 'Moneyball'? How am I supposed to guess it's a sports movie, right?
So, I was there. I watched it. Hooked from the first few minutes, really. Maybe it's because I like math and it's as much a math movie as it is a baseball movie. Well, it's not, but let's pretend it is. There is a line in the movie about baseball that I wouldn't have gotten before I saw this movie. Billy Beane says, "How can you not get romantic about baseball?" If you had told me that this line was said in a sports movie in a non-self-mocking way, I would have snorted and dismissed the comment. But now, I kinda get it.
Kinda. Frankly, I still go to the games to watch the stretching and to eat garlic fries and Dippin' Dots. Woohoo! But now, I acknowledge the possibility that there might be other reasons why people might go.
As to the "what about the movie?!?" portion of this review -
So, Billy Beane hires Peter, an economics wiz from Yale (and apparent Baseball Fanatic) to help him put together a team that doesn't completely suck on a shoestring budget. And that's what they do. In a tremendous overkill type way.
* I dislike Jonah Hill in virtually all of his movies. When I saw him in this movie, I realized that I had been wrong. It was the characters in his other movies that I hated. Jonah Hill himself is (apparently) a fine actor and was brilliant in this role as a high-functioning geek (FYI: High-functioning geeks are much like high-functioning sociopaths but with fewer manners and with less of the complete lack of morality).
* Brad Pitt was also amazing. He was not in anyway heart-throb-y, which made him all the more heart-throb-y in my book. I mean, how can you not like a guy who turns down a bajillion dollars because he is loyal to his loser-ish team and because he doesn't want to leave the state that houses his daughter? Nice, right? Yah. I thought so as well.
* Amazing acting by supporting roles, not the least of which being the greatly missed Philip Seymour Hoffman.
* Chris Pratt of Guardians of the Galaxy fame also makes an appearance as Scott Hatteberg in one of the more touching scenes in the movies. Here again, was an example where I was surprised by the depth of a performance by an actor I had pretty much written off as a character actor, mainly put in to movies for laughs. My bad on that one, Chris. Oh, and Jonah. You both rocked it in this movie. In serious roles, yet. Kudos.
* The amazingly talented Robin Wright has not had luck in finding movie or roles that best display her talents, and this was another one. Brilliant movie but she was under-used as the ex-wife of Billy Beane.
* Music soundtrack not the best. An amusing song (fictionally authored) by Billy Beane's daughter aside. On the other hand, this wasn't a movie where the soundtrack was pivotal (unlike say, in any superhero movie made, ever), so I give it a pass.
*Not a lot of baseball players stretching on screen, which was kind of a let down for me since this was, in fact, a *baseball* movie. And, as mentioned previously, one of the two reasons I go to games in the first place. Hmmm.....
All-in-all an excellent film. Great for sports-lovers and sports-meh-ers alike. As to the rating (for those who are sensitive to those things), there are some obscenities which is why this is PG13, but it was in keeping with the locker-room setting of the movie and so entirely appropriate. At no point did I roll my eyes and say 'Ah! The f-bomb. That must indicate the character is tough / angry / hungry / under 25, etc.' I have a pet peeve about gratuitous swearing being used in place of actual dialog. That was not the case in this movie.
Brad Pitt is Billy Beane and Jonah Hill does an outstanding job as the geeky Yale Economics major who helps Billy reinvent the A/s. Together they make the movie.
This is so much more than a sports movie. This adaptation of Michael Lewis's book makes the seemingly dry statistics and ins and outs of major league baseball interesting and almost understandable for the average fan / movie viewer. It is also funny and touching. Don't miss the last scene...his daughter sings "The Show" and it will bring you to tears.
i highly recommend this movie to anyone who is fan of baseball.
For fans of underdogs, this movie is everything. This movie is a testament to the achievements of the Oakland Athletics and their minimal income. They changed baseball as we know it and I'll never love a team more than this one. This film is always at the top of my list.