Moneyball Review: Not so much a homerun, more of a pitchers duel.

Moneyball is a film by Bennett Miller (Capote) starring Brad Pitt as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane who attempts to change the game of Baseball by implementing a new system of scouting and assembling a team in baseball’s unfair economic market. This movie is also adapted from a book written by Michael Lewis and the screenplay was co-writen by Arron Sorkin (The Social Network)

For those not familiar with Baseball’s economics or for those of you who don’t care (Yankee and Red Sox fans) it is a very unfair sport in the sense that there is no cap on how much money you can spend to build a team so poor teams are buried with bad teams and stay poor and rich teams thrives.  Billy Beane tried to break out of that mold by implementing a new way of thinking and trying to revolutionizing the sport..  This is the movie’s strength as it shows Beane fight the system of the old guard of baseball purists implement the “Moneyball” System with the help of another proponent of this idea his friend Peter Brand played by Jonah Hill.  The film works not as the plucky underdog movie but a character examination and how this man stepped up and tried to fix a broken system. Another working element in a story about baseball nerdiest aspects is Pitt who commands this film like the cool kid in charge.  His take as Billy Beane is sometimes quiet, sometimes bombastic but always cool which is to the films benefit.

Jonah Hill is pretty engaging and funny as Peter Brand but the movie gives you very little insight or history of his character, besides his introduction the film the director seemed a bit uninterested in him but he makes the most with what he’s given.  Other characters in this film include Philip Seymour Hoffman as manager Art Howe but really has little to do with this part.  Robin Wright Penn also got a top billing playing Beane’s ex-wife but she might have five lines at most and is pretty forgettable.  However good are Chris Pratt as struggling major leaguer Scott Hatteberg and an uncredited appearance by Spike Jones who was great for the two minutes he was on screen.

This movie fails where The Social Network thrives and it’s a strange complaint but because a good portion of The Social Network was fabricated and that made the drama it depicts very exciting where Moneyball can’t do that.  Unlike Baseball statistics and what really happend can’t be changed, no one chronicled Mark Zuckerberg’s life during his time before and during the inception of facebook.  Except for the use of the song Lenka’s “The Show” which was released in 2008, but I forgive. Making up for this is a realistic depiction of an MLB general manager wheel and deal trades which was one of the strongest scenes in the film.  Contrast to this were some subdued moments of silence and reflection that might have seemed dramatic but I thought slowed the movie down some. Another misstep is showing Beane as a young ball player and what happened on his journey in the majors left something to be desired and was much more effective in the book.

As a life long baseball fan I could nit pick this film to death because I thought parallels could be made to Beane being offered the Red Sox job, a team that epitomizes the rich teams prevail mantra and the fact that Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s face them the year after this movie takes place (2002)  It enters that territory, maybe cause the book doesn’t but I felt something could have been made of that.  Also I really just wanted to see more A’s players on the big screen and they dropped the ball not making the charismatic Eric Bynres an on screen character, but they did a good job of showing what a douche Jeremy Giambi was.

Seeing this movie the day after watching the Red Sox complete a September meltdown of epic proportions, it was nice to root for Baseball again.  When Scott Hatteberg steps up to the plate with the a dramatic winning streak on the line I found myself digging into my seat to find out what happens.  Much like Billy’s journey to reconnect with Baseball I sorta did the same with this movie.  A good film but don’t expect to jump out of your seat. Moneyball isn’t so much a homerun but a 162 game grind that makes it’s way into the playoffs.

B (solid flick but slow at times. It’s baseball from a whole new perspective with Brad Pitt keeping you interested through out.)



~ by ATOM on September 29, 2011.

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