Movie Review: ‘Moneyball’

by on October 19, 2011

in Entertainment, movie reviews

This is a movie review of Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt.  It’s directed by Bennett Miller (Capote) off a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and Steven Zaillian (American Gangster).

MONEYBALL movie poster

Moneyball is

the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft and deploy his players.

Jonah Hill in MONEYBALL

Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane…  Jonah Hill (Get Him to the Greek) plays Beane’s right-hand man, the statistician behind his plan, Peter Brand.  Other cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March, Mission: Impossible III) as Art Howe, Robin Wright (The Conspirator) & Chris Pratt (What’s Your Number?, Take Me Home Tonight).

Philip Seymour Hoffman in MONEYBALL

You don’t need to be a baseball fan to appreciate this wonderfully well written story.  Keep something in mind, that I’m not a baseball fan, at all.  But Moneyball presents its story in such a way that the game makes sense to regular movie-goers.  We get a great feel for what a general manager and on-field coaches do for a baseball team, and in that way, I learned something!

But the story is well done and we get a great, front office look at the sport, starting with Billy Beane and the processes that go on behind the scenes.  Though they didn’t spend a huge amount of time on it, we also got a small piece of Beane’s personal life…  divorced, one daughter whom he visits with often enough.

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in MONEYBALL

If you aren’t a historian of baseball, the story has lots of tension, drama and surprises.  Heck, the story was so riveting that in one scene where the opposing team gets a hit at a severely critical moment, an old lady a few rows behind me in the movie theater hissed out pretty loudly, “S***!”

The audience got a crack out of that moment.

Movie Review Dramatic Score 08Brad Pitt was dang near flawless in this role, as far as I can tell.  It was a perfect role for him. The movie is hanging on in the box office tallies, but it’s between a rock and a hard spot with some of the other movies trouncing on it.  It deserves to do better, but it is up against a few other movies that are outdistancing it.  Regardless, I would definitely give this movie an 8 on Cinema Static’s dramatic movie scale.

It’s a great story that keeps you focused on the events and worried for all the characters, especially Brad Pitt’s.  Baseball fans know what decision he makes at the end of the movie, but for non-fans, it’s a tweak that keeps you guessing until the closing credits.

Here’s an interesting tidbit or two about/from Moneyball

Jonah Hill played Peter Brand.  In the movie, Brand is the statistician that Beane depends on.  Also, Brand is the only fictional character in the fray.  In real life, Brand is actually Paul DePodesta.  He’s a Harvard, not Yale graduate.

DePodesta was the only person who did not allow his name to be used in the movie.  He seems a bit shy.

But if you’re wondering if the technique of Moneyball really does work, head on over to the website, JerryGarrett, and check out where he follows up on DePodesta’s career post-Oakland A’s and some of the players he later recruited for a future team.

I also heard that Art Howe was furious with how he was portrayed in Moneyball.   A few choice quotes by Howe in an article…:

They couldn’t have demeaned me more,”

I wish they’d communicated with me,”

I don’t know how you can get away with saying it’s a true movie,”

You can read the rest of this at SFGate.

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