This is one of those situations where you hear how good a movie is, notice that it has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and remember somewhere in the back of your head that Aaron Sorkin wrote it. Moneyball had a pretty great pedigree before it even came near theaters so it was sure to be a pleaser right? Yep. It's as good as everyone says. And as critics have been saying, you don’t need to like baseball or Brad Pitt to like this movie. Does it help? Yes, for sure. But it is not a requirement.
Back to Moneyball’s pedigree. As I said, Sorkin co-wrote it with Steve Zaillian who wrote Schindler’s List, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Hannibal, Gangs of New York, American Gangster, and the new (reboot? cover?) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The director, Bennett Miller only has one other non-documentary credit but it’s Capote and it was pretty darn good. Plus the movie stars Pitt, JonahHill and Philip Seymour Hoffman. If they aren’t enough for you, Andy from Parks and Recreation (aka Chris Pratt; aka Bright Abbott from Everwood) is in it too! Also, it’s based on a true story and you know what that means? PARAGRAPHS AT THE END!!!
So the story goes like this, Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane (Pitt) has to put together a team on a very restricted budget. Really, if you’ve seen the trailer, you know what it’s about. If you’re a fan of baseball then you probably know how the season went. Beane, instead of using the standard of picking players (RBI, looks, health) employs a model that basically accounts for every time a guy gets on base. That’s pretty much it. There’s more to it but they just want guys to get on base. Don’t steal, don’t bunt, don’t do anything too risky, just get on base. As one might expect he faces LOTS of resistance to this plan because basically it puts a lot of guys out of jobs in favor of statistical analysis (the worse kind of outsourcing).
This movie works. In fact this movie works on many levels if not all of them. Directing, writing, acting, etc. were all great. Pitt, aside from personal life shenanigans, is an actor in whom I’ve never been disappointed. Plus he’s got a great smile and looks like a ex-baseball player. Speaking of, the guy they hired to play young Beane didn’t really look like Pitt but had his mouth and build which was just enough to squeak by. Hill was great but Hoffman wasn’t given enough to do. Spike Jonze even showed up in an uncredited and thankless role but did a great job with it.
There’s really not much else to say. I could go on and on about how much I love sports movies but I’ve done that before and will probably do it again. Plus I learned some stuff I didn’t know which I always appreciate. Oh, did I get my beloved paragraphs at the end? You betcha!