Moneyball is a slam dunk – oh wait, make that a grand slam – for baseball buffs. For those who don’t particularly care for the business of baseball, the movie can feel a bit draggy at times, but it’s generally worth the price of admission. It works for two reasons: Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

Pitt plays Billy Beane, a former player-turned-general manager of the Oakland A’s who must rebuild the team – on a shoestring budget – after its star players are poached by baseball’s wealthier franchises. Forced to think outside the box, Beane recruits a nerdy but numbers-savvy Yale grad, Peter Brand (Hill), to help him fill the roster. Brand makes his picks based on a sophisticated computer-generated analysis of attainable (i.e. cheap) players who know how to get on base. Everything else becomes secondary, or totally inconsequential.

The computer-model approach doesn’t exactly sit well with the team’s old-school scouts or its manager, Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman). But they don’t have much choice but to go along – and bite their tongues when the strategy starts to work. Cue the montage/highlight reel as the A’s embark on an unprecedented 20-game win streak!

The premise would sound like a non-starter if not for the fact that it’s based on a true story, as told in the 2003 book, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis, the same guy who wrote “The Blind Side.”  Moneyball doesn’t have the same emotional pull as The Blind Side, but it does raise some interesting questions about salaries and statistics and what goes into building a championship team in the modern sports world. Who am I kidding? All I really cared about was the chemistry and clever banter between Pitt and Hill. Their relationship makes the movie– especially for the non-baseball aficionado. Pitt is ruggedly handsome (in a Robert “The Natural” Redford sort of way) and Hill is truly endearing as Beane’s unlikely sidekick. Let’s go A’s!

One thought on “Moneyball”
  1. The word I keep using to describe this film is subdued. I felt like I needed to stand up, stretch and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” about half way through to get things pumped up and moving. It just didn’t grab me emotionally the way I like my sports movies to. The thing that did make it work for me — like it did for Mainstream Chick — was the relationship between Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill’s characters. It was nice to see Hill playing a non-comedic role for a change and, well let’s be honest, it’s just always nice to see Brad Pitt. I’ll second the recommendation that for baseball fans it’s a must-see and for everyone else it’s a good option. But don’t worry if you miss it in theaters. It will be an excellent rental in a few months.

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