I Saw A Film Today… Moneyball

Baseball is a sport filled with heartbreak like no other. Sure there are plenty of great moments but at the end of those great moments is someone else with a broken heart. Just ask any Red Sox fans. Especially during this time of the year when playoffs are right around the corner. While seeing Moneyball, I was receiving disappointing text message updates about how my team the Atlanta Braves were throwing away any chance of clinching the wild card (And as we know now, this is reality). But I’m not here to reflect on the Braves but on the story of Billy Beane and his underdog Athletics and how they changed the game of baseball.

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Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics and his team just lost to the New York Yankee’s in the postseason. Now Billy is tasked with trying to replace three key players on his team with a third of the budget of a big team, such as the Yankees.

While on a recruiting trip in Cleveland, Billy meets Peter Brand (the now extinct chubby Jonah Hill). Peter has radical ideas about how to change the game of baseball is soon hired by Beane. Together the two start recruiting new players based on certain statistics instead of other more uncertain aspects.

But with anything new, Beane’s new theory is not met with open arms. Many in his own organization think he is putting their jobs in jeopardy, especially the team’s manager, Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). With Beane’s job on the line, is the risk worth it?

Most sports film are meant for some form of inspiration. From Rocky to Rudy, the main thesis of these films is to show the underdog become the man on top. Moneyball does this as well, in a sense. Billy Beane goes from a man looked down upon in his own clubhouse to a man being offered $12.5 million by the Boston Red Sox. No doubt, Beane changed how baseball players are drafted now, but is it a good thing? On the one hand yes, but on the other not really.

Moneyball is a really engaging film, even though the opening 20 minutes or so are just a bit dull. It doesn’t have to completely do with the story, it’s just shot in such a mundane way. But it is an engaging film none-the-less for those who enjoy the inner working of the sport, just as The Social Network was for people who wanted to know the behind the scenes workings of Facebook. And using actual footage from the season instead of reenacting most of  it was a nice touch. But would someone who doesn’t follow baseball really be interested in this film? I’m guessing not.

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill put in great performances here and really are the heart and soul of the film. To my surprise they both work together really well. Pitt has one of the best performances in his career because of how naturally he portrayed the role. I’ve always found Jonah Hill to be a talented actor but one who has never taken a good role. I’m glad the people behind this film took a chance on him. As for the rest of the cast, they are fine but nothing memorable. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is good but under-utilized.

I liked Moneyball, but there were many things stopping me from really liking it. The whole film could have been trimmed down by 15 to 30 minutes. But if you are a fan of baseball and interested in how we play baseball today, you will enjoy this film.

Verdict: SEE IT!

*Poster by Hunter Langston

Comments? Opinions? Leave them below.

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2 Responses to “I Saw A Film Today… Moneyball”

  1. It may not feel quite like the classic baseball movie others have achieved, but it’s certainly pleasant enough to be enjoyable even by non-sports fan, and features great performances from Hill and Pitt. Good review Kev.

  2. Like you, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I thought I would. As a non-baseball fan, there were enough distractions to keep me from getting into it. Good review!

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