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Baseball by the numbers
moviemanMA24 September 2011
Moneyball tells the story of the 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics, a team that rose to notoriety because of its low payroll and unorthodox player selection. Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), a former player turned general manage, grows tired with the ancient, inefficient ways of the game he has committed his entire life to. When a transaction goes awry he stumbles across Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a Yale, economics graduate who believes he has a system to rating players based on numbers.

Billy and Peter begin trading, signing, and grooming the team based on data, not scouting, something that other members of the team are not fond of, including Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the team's manager. Billy and Peter's system defies current baseball logic, but when the club starts to win games with players like Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt), David Justice (Stephen Bishop), and Chad Bradford (Casey Bond), the eyes of the country turn to Oakland, where only seeing is believing.

What happened in Oakland back in '02 was incredible. It shouldn't have happened if you ask the right people, and other people will tell you it means nothing. Well, it did mean something it has changed the way people think about the game for good. You couldn't just go out and look at a kid to see if he would be a star or not. There were more stats to consider than home runs, strikeouts, and batting average. The game was expanding and becoming more and more a battle of logic.

The film's structure is centered mostly on Billy Beane, but the most exciting parts for me were about the system. Writer Aaron Sorkin, who a few months back accepted a slew of awards for his screenplay The Social Network, tosses out jargon that baseball fanatics go crazy for. For the general audience, that's where Billy helps out. Peter explains the system and has to break it down more for Beane (i.e. the audience) so everybody on screen and in the seats is on the same page.

Pitt's portrayal of Beane won me over. He completely caught me off guard. I know Pitt can act but I remember him for performances that were very complex on the outside. Aldo Raine (Inglourious Basterds) with his pronounces chin, squinty eyes, and thick accent. Benjamin Button (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) who grew younger as he got older. Jeffrey Goines (12 Monkeys) who couldn't sit still let alone focus on one subject in a conversation. Yes, he was nominated for all these performances, but in a performance like this there is something bubbling under the surface. All of his characters to an extent have something going on underneath, only this character, Billy Beane, is so normal and calm on the outside, yet when he is alone we can see pain and frustration.

His supporting cast of Hill, Hoffman, and the slew of ball players and colleagues, help turn this baseball team into the world of Oakland Athletics. Hill and Hoffman especially play perfect compliments to Pitt's sunny exterior. Hill is quiet, timid, and very smart. Hoffman is cold, weathered, and stubborn. Pitt is able to play off of both temperaments and make their scenes together pop off the screen.

The one thing that this movie has going for it is the lack of actual action on the diamond. There are some great scenes of actual baseball, one at bat by Hatteberg in particular struck a chord with me, but for the most part the action is behind the scenes. There is enough for a sports junkie to get their fix and enough drama and with Beane and his family to entice any average viewer into the theater. I can't think of many target groups that wouldn't find it interesting, except for children, due to language and complexity of some of the dialogue. All in all this is one movie that will please a lot of people, and more importantly a lot of different people, sort of like The Blind Side, only the movie is actually really good.
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Worth admission even if you care squat about baseball
allmyrebs-td11 September 2011
Just caught this at the Toronto Film festival. It is undoubtedly one of the higher quality dramas in 2011. At its heart is a baseball-centric docu-drama, but even folks with zero baseball knowledge/interest can enjoy and be moved by this movie.

Jonah Hill's performance in the film is phenomenal, and this may be the break that that young actor has been joshing for. His portrayal Peter Brand, a Yale Economics major and full time computer nerd is beyond believable, you practically swear that you know him personally a few days after the movie.

The role of Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, is an incredibly demanding one. While there are tons of dialog, hack arguments, display of physical rage, etc; it is the silent story telling, emotional turmoil, change-of-heart reflections, pupils-triggered catharsis, and so on that are the toughest to convey and requires a well-seasoned character actor. This is easily Brad at his widest acting range - and you see all of it in a little over two hours.

To be totally honest, I have not been tracking Philip Seymour Hoffman's acting career until this film. His portrayal of the ready-to-exit Oakland A's coach Art Howe, caught between "the for-sure old money" and the "crazy senseless new reality", convinced me that they couldn't have casted this part any better. Hoffman delivers on every single scene and you literally sweat his frustration along with him. This foil to Brad Pitt's character is actually effective enough to save several heavy- drama exchange where Brad's delivery falls slightly short of the mark.

This is an "onion" movie, constructed purposely to be entertaining on many levels. It can be watched purely as an entertaining account of modern baseball history - how player statistics became one of the most important factors determining financial success in modern baseball.

For more sentimental audience it tracks the journey of a man, forced to embrace change and disappointment as he fumble aimlessly through life etching out an unremarkable career first as a failing professional player, then small-time scout, and washed-out General Manager; only to finally wake up - and find himself becoming one of the greatest living innovator of the modern game.

Finally, for the abstract-at-heart, and those who knows or cares little about the game of baseball (like yours truly), this is a tale of an industry under irreversible change; a documentary of the conflict between innovators who brave the slings-and-arrows to map out the new ways, and the old stalwarts who goes all out to protect their crumbling turf.

At this historic moment in time, the message really hits a home-run! Other than baseball, we've recently witness similar changes and conflicts played out in public across the automobile, music distribution, movie distribution, book distribution, home computer, banking , and many other industries. Every unemployed in a vanishing industry can easily identify with the old Billy Beane, it is how Billy leverage his disappointment and experience, to turn his life around that we can all aspire to.

A worthy note is the soundtrack for the movie, grass-root simple and heartfelt, it sent me looking for the album on itunes - only to realize that the movie has not been officially released yet.
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More than a game of numbers
napierslogs1 October 2011
It has long been said that professional sports are more a game of politics than an actual game. Major League Baseball is not just a game of money, but in "Moneyball" it's a game of numbers versus a game of people. It's callousness at its highest when general managers trade away people as if they're objects with little regard for them or their family. Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland As, seems to take that even further, treating people as if they are only numbers, and yet there was something refreshing and humanistic about the whole thing.

It's 2001 and Oakland has just lost to the New York Yankees in the playoffs, not surprising, seeing as their payroll was 76 Million dollars less. The humour of "Moneyball" starts in the off-season when the team can't afford to keep their top players and Beane and his experienced scouts start tossing around some free agent ideas. One guy is no good because he frequents strip clubs too often, another guy is no good because his girlfriend is ugly, and on down the list they go. But then Beane meets Yale-educated, economics-, mathematics-, and computer-whiz, baseball fan, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). He has no experience and he doesn't know these players. He doesn't know if they stand funny or if they swing ugly. He only knows their stats and their salary.

A lot of people took offense to Beane's approach of degrading players down to the sum total of their on-base percentage and runs-in potential. But I liked it. Since the game of baseball isn't changing any time soon and players will always just be elements that can help win games and make more money, why not view them as numbers rather than as people with ugly girlfriends? Like Peter Brand, I like numbers.

It's a movie about doing more with less, so I think we're just supposed to ignore the irony that they needed an excessively high budget to make it. In fact, it cost Sony Pictures more money to make this movie than it cost the Oakland A's to field their entire team for a season. Oh well, only one lesson for Hollywood at a time, and I still liked the movie.

For a movie about people trying to change the game of baseball, it's only fitting that they are changing the sports genre. This isn't about the team and how many games they're going to win. As in all cases, they win some and they lose some. And we really only meet one player, the rest are just names thrown in the air. The movie is about Billy Beane, a real person, and a multi-dimensional character. At first he realizes that he is going to have to play the game with more than just money, and then after he makes it about numbers too, he finds a balanced statistical and personal concept.

"Moneyball" says that the game is about money, but the movie is about people. Writer Aaron Sorkin knows how to write people, and as evidenced by "The Social Network" (2010), he also knows how to turn computer-programming into riveting cinema. We find humour in the least-expected of places, we find heart in the least-expected of people, and 'Moneyball" gives us a completely enjoyable movie that becomes so much more than numbers.
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Pitt is at the top of his game
Legendary_Badass21 September 2011
I have another rare chance to catch a film more than a day before its national release. Usually when this happens there's a horde of folks queued up. When the doors to the theatre open, phones are sequestered, and a rush is put on to find prime seating. Those were movies starring a bunch of… well less than household names. Surely a sneak to see a Brad Pitt movie would be even more chaotic. Unfortunately the waning popularity of America's pastime is as much of a deterrent as a movie star and free entertainment are agents of attraction.

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is a former major leaguer turned general manager of the Oakland A's. After losing in the playoffs to the Yankees, the A's lose their stars to free agency. Billy is tasked with rebuilding despite a payroll that leaves the A's trailing the competition.

While going through the usual motions, Billy happens by Pete Brand (Jonah Hill), an economist who may have found a way to scout baseball with the efficiency the A's need. The two delve in head first, and despite some tough outings they never back down.

Pitt is at the top of his game. As an everyman—or at least one that isn't played up as wealthy, a man struggling to keep his job—frustration is clearly seen in Pitt's face. Pitt brings humanity to the ominous job of a general manager. Flashbacks of his stint in "the show" surmise his entire life, be it his divorce or relationship with his daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey).

Moneyball is not the action-packed sports outing one may be expecting. Director Bennett Miller spends very little time focusing on the game of baseball, or even the personalities of the players. Moneyball is a movie about management. Its deadpan, forthright approach is fresh compared to the typical underdog story filled with home runs and stolen bases. There's no electrifying music or thrilling speeches, but the excitement found in a phone call is realized as well as one could imagine. I don't think any actor other than Hill could pull of his slowly clinched fist.

Like the good sports films, Moneyball shares a deeper meaning than simply winning. Immediately the value of loyalty comes to mind. The sports genre is changing, much like how the crew of this story changed talent scouting. Just last year a movie rose up about the struggle to manage a boxer, and now here's the struggle to manage a team.
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A high quality crowd pleaser
KnightsofNi112 October 2011
America's pastime has returned to the big screen and it is more witty and elegant than ever. Moneyball is the inspiring story of the Oakland A's, a team that was all but bankrupt but managed to beat the odds through intelligence and perseverance. Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, the team's general manager who has run out of ideas on how to make his strapped for cash team successful. This is until he meets Pete Brand, played by Jonah Hill, an economic major from Yale. Brand devises a formula that analyzes players in a way nobody else does, thus revealing statistics about players that no one else can see. Beane and Brand use this formula to build up their unlikely roster of misfits. The themes of this film run deep through our aspiring minds. It's a film about beating the odds, going against the current, and standing up for what you believe is right. It is a moving and inspiring film that really only uses baseball as a backdrop for its deeper and more universal themes. It's a moving film and you don't have to be a baseball fan to love it.

The strongest element of Moneyball is easily Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian's incredibly sharp script. Moneyball brings up fond memories of 2010's The Social Network in which Sorkin pulled out all the stops in his intellectual screen writing ability. The dialogue in Moneyball moves at the same pace as any Sorkin or Zaillian script does. It has a driving cadence to it that keeps a film entirely dominated by dialogue very exciting and entertaining. Their script is lively, energetic, and diverse. Moneyball has intensely emotional scenes that compel and inspire, but then it has its lighthearted and much funnier moments that have the exact same affect. There's a lot to be said for any film that has the capability to make its audience laugh and cry in the same two hour span. Moneyball is a film like that and it all begins at Sorkin's fantastic script.

However, it is helped by the film's superb cast. Brad Pitt leads the film perfectly, creating a very interesting protagonist and driving the film in a way few leads can. He attacks his role as Billy Beane with the utmost care, respect, and sincerity. Despite all of Pitt's good looks and always recognizable celebrity face, you will have a hard time remembering that Pitt is the one acting, not Billy Beane. But, as always, where would such a strong lead be without his supporting cast? Moneyball has that supporting cast, and it finds its immeasurable talent in the most unlikely of places. I'm talking, of course, about Jonah Hill. Hill has built his career on being a comedy caricature with over the top flicks such as Superbad and Get Him to the Greek. But all that changes when Hill takes on the role of Pete Brand. His performance is stellar. He proves himself to be a true up and comer who won't find himself restricted within the confines of teen comedy.

Overall, Moneyball is your typical crowd pleaser, but it is incredibly high quality. It is so well directed, so superbly acted, and Sorkin and Zaillian's script is practically flawless. Personally this isn't the film I will go crazy about. Rather, it is a film that I will enjoy so sincerely and with all my heart. I really did love this film and my respect for it is eternal. It may be typical and straightforward in its overall themes, but the quality of the film outshines this. Moneyball is just an excellent film.
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Intriguing, investing, with a great screenplay and a fantastic performance at its core
Red_Identity15 November 2011
Sports films... Not a huge fan of them, and don't see them much because of the predictability of them. However, one cannot deny the impact that some have, like for example in recent years The Fighter and Aronofsky's The Wrestler. Moneyball can now join them and is among the best films of the year.

The film is always intriguing, and Aaron Sorkin (whose screenplay for The Social Network was last year's best) is to be congratulated for this. It's his wonderful script that gives the film the energy. What also helps is the lack of predictability. Sure, one can't seem to hope for an 'experimental' sports film, since this is based on a true story. However, Sorkin, as well as the director, always keeps things refreshing and interesting without becoming repetitive and stale. The dialogue is brilliant of course, and the lack of 'field' action makes it even more involving so when the important ball scene comes along it makes an impact. The other big driving factor is Brad Pitt, who has had an incredible year. His performance in The Tree of Life is already among his finest work, and now this joins it as well. He portrays all of the character traits with such versatility and charisma. A great and satisfying protagonist.

Overall, I was incredibly pleased with this. It is to this day the best adapted screenplay of the year, and not surprisingly Pitt is my win in both categories for both of his films.
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Wonderful movie
adrian-meli4 October 2011
On recommendation from a friend, I recently saw Moneyball and thought the movie was quite great. The storyline is intriguing to say the least and though a lot of people already know the plot the movie made it come to life. The cast was great and specifically Jonah Hill, who usually does a great job in comedies, should get nominated for best supporting actor in it. It is nice to see him make a switch to a non-comedic role and I am sure this will greatly help his acting career.

This is one of those rare movies that everyone should like, whether they are sports fans or not. The story is so interesting that it could not have been made up and the original author of the book was well represented in the screenplay. I read some commentary that this might not be as big as The Blind Side overseas because a lot of people aren't in love with baseball, but I think this appeals to all people even if they are not a fan.

Overall, I think Sorkin did a wonderful job with the movie and picked a perfect cast-he has definitely been on a roll lately. Although I saw a matinée, I would have even liked it had I paid full price for my tickets. So, enjoy... :-)
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A Home Run
bjones1 October 2011
Well, when purchasing my ticket I expected to see a good movie about baseball. I was rewarded with just that. Overall I thought the film excellent, both as a finely crafted film and as a representative of baseball. To demonstrate that I had no preconceived prejudices, I can say that I'm not really a fan of professional sports any longer. My fond memories of baseball are mostly from playing the game when I was a kid. We lived in a neighborhood with a lot of boys, all of whom were involved in sports and we played baseball a lot. But, that was the 1950's and times have changed. No one now days can hold a candle to The Mick. The film centers around the Oakland A's in the early 2000's and it's controversial General Manager, Billy Beane, skillfully played by Brad Pitt. The premise is the real story of how, with an extremely small budget for a professional sports team, he managed to win a surprising number of games, including setting an all-time major league record of 20 consecutive wins. The method used by Beane was not of his invention, having already been around in theory and known as "sabermetrics". The crafting of the team into that form is credited to have been begun by Beane's predecessor, Sandy Alderson. Beane himself was thrust to the forefront as the focus of a successful 2003 best-selling book "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game"; which ultimately led to this film. The film was very well done, really succeeding in sucking in the audience to it's ebb and flow. The audience I was in clearly enjoyed the film, there was a lot of laughter in the right places and applause at the end, which is rare enough. The setting had the look and feel of realism and the same with regard to the actors portraying the players. There was a fairly long list of good character actors peppered throughout the film, all of whom added considerably to the film's realism. But the lion's share of the film, and the credit for it's quality, goes primarily to it's major stars, Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Team Manger Art Howe, and Jonah Hill, as the fictional character Peter Brand who is said to have been based on Paul DePodesta who was Beane's assistant during the period covered by the film. Hoffman is great as usual but played his character a bit understated. Jonah Hill nearly ran off with the attention altogether while he was on screen. But Pitt clearly controlled the central attention and did so with ease and excellence. He managed to make the character look smart, fair and quite human. Pitt's humanity was helped by the presence of tidbits of his family life, mainly focused on his relationship with his 12 year old daughter, well represented on screen by the young Kerris Dorsey as Casey Beane. The interplay between them added a lot of humanity to the film that would have otherwise been lacking. There was a small part played by Robin Wright as Beane's ex-wife Sharon. It was the closest anything in the film came to a romantic involvement. Many of the character actors made important contributions, such as Stephen Bishop as David Justice, Chris Pratt as Scott Hatteberg and Brent Jennings as Ron Washington. There was even a cameo by Joe Satriani playing his guitar as superbly as usual. Leaving the theater I thought that one would have to have at least a working knowledge of the game of baseball to get the most out of the film. I wondered how it would play to someone without that knowledge and I think a lot would be lost, but it would still be enjoyable for it's basic story of struggling to overcome long odds to achieve something good and the exploration of the people and personalities involved. That's a pretty good accomplishment for any film to make and this one does it with a lot of fun and class.
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Art vs science
dfle314 November 2011
As an Australian, the thought of seeing a movie like this a few years ago would have been inconceivable...watching a movie about baseball would be on my "things not to do" list...but watching a movie about statistics and baseball? Even more inconceivable! What changed? In the wake of Sri Lanka beating Australia (I think) in the one day cricket World Cup final many years ago (a form of the game that cricket 'purists' would no doubt deride as 'baseball' and not the 'real form' of the game...heaven knows what they now make of of the Twenty20 form of the game!), I did happen upon an article which argued that Sri Lanka had revolutionised this shortened form of the game with their batting tactics. That story intrigued me...I doubt if Sri Lanka's batting strategy was created from statistics or maths, but it was persuasively argued in the article that it had mathematical or statistical logic to it (no doubt with a big helping of common sense too).

Furthermore, I had dabbled with free, customisable N.B.A. fantasy basketball leagues, where I had created two leagues with opposing one league, unsporting conduct was astronomically punished, whilst in the other league it was nicely rewarded. This created drafting conundrums...someone like Kobe Bryant could be a star in the fair play league...but would be a star in the foul play league. He was definitely a gamble in the fair play league one year he could crush the coach's hopes, and in another year he would be a surprising star. I did get the distinct impression that coaches' who did well did so with the help of crunch the statistics...which is what this movie is all about. Before I start the review proper, I'll just mention that I may have been roped into joining someone's fantasy baseball league as a quid pro quo for them joining my league...just found the whole language of baseball gobbledygook...and never really hung around that sport for long. It's a good thing that this movie was not geared to those fans who love the gobbledygook (be it something called ERAs or whatever it's called).

Based on a true story, this movie outlines the revolutionary approach to selecting a baseball team for the major league in the wake of having your star players bought for large sums of money by cashed up teams. That's a major theme of the movie...the underdog against an unfair system. The approach taken contrasts that taken in Australia for the game of Australian rules football (AFL), where a form of 'socialism' was instituted over a decade ago, I think, with 'equalised' drafting, priority picks and salary caps. This 'socialism' has seen a diversity of teams win the sport's major trophy. Perhaps the main character in this movie, Billy Beane, might have been content with such a system.

Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, and it is striking how much Brad seems to be growing into Robert Redford's face as he ages. Billy is the general manager of an underfunded (by cashed up teams' standards) baseball team, the Oakland Athletics. As in many sports where distorted markets rule (e.g. European soccer, where American multi-billionaires borrow huge sums of money and buy famous teams and load them up with debt...which is fine...until the bubble burst and the teams might face bankruptcy...or, where Russian oil billionaires buy teams and eat into their own cash reserves, paying insane salaries for stars. In both cases, there really is no business model, apart from paying crazy money which you either do or do not have for purpose of winning trophies), Oakland has developed some players into stars...only to see them picked off by cashed up teams.

Pitt plays Beane in the charismatic/brash way that Orson Welles played the youthful and exuberant 'Citizen' Kane, and he does a nice line in sizing people up and yet biting his tongue or taking sly amusement from their ways. This is interesting due to the history of Beane...he was seen as a potential star of the game and he does carry around some of that baggage with him at times. His experience illustrates the art vs science approach to baseball...he was drafted due to the former and he has to butt heads with his recruitment department in his new role as the team's general manager in order to bring a more scientific approach to recruiting.

Peter Brand plays Jonah Hill, a smart draft by Beane, who recognises in this geek a man capable of revolutionising the thinking of his recruitment department. Peter/Jonah is the most unathletic man you could imagine...short of someone who would require a crane to take them out of their bedroom by a hole in the roof in order to be taken to a hospital. He's like me playing fantasy N.B.A...or that man in the Matrix who sees everything in terms of binary digits...even that beautiful woman in a red dress.

For people who enjoy watching the game of baseball on the big screen, the last half hour has some nice moments for them. What makes this film more interesting for a general audience though is the intriguing insight into the backroom discussions of an elite sporting team. How players are valued and reasons why they may not be valued more highly are discussed.

In some ways this story is like those horse racing stories where someone buys a horse for under a $1,000 which was destined for the knacker's yard, but it goes on to win a fortune. You do get the equivalent of horses bound for the knacker's yard in this movie, as far as the baseball players who are recruited by Beane.

There was a scene I liked in this movie, where reporters discussed who was responsible for the team's was all attributed to the coach...which was in contrast to the tale that the movie tells.

A well told story which did make me laugh on occasion.
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Possibly the best baseball movie I have I ever seen.
daveygandthekeyboard16 September 2011
In a league where the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox regularly field teams with $100 million-plus payrolls, how do you field a competitive team with a payroll that is a mere fraction of that, at $37 million? This question could have been the basis for a dry documentary, only appealing to a legion of die hard statistical analysis baseball geeks, but instead, it forms the basis of a film that shows a great deal of heart and spirit which moves it into a statement I never thought I would be making, but here goes: Moneyball is possibly the best baseball movie I have I ever seen.

Granted, I've never seen Bull Durham or Major League, but even with that deficiency in my sports film-viewing I can say with some confidence that this is at least as good or better than Field of Dreams and at least as good or better than The Bad News Bears.

The answer to the conundrum of fielding a competitive team with a limited budget is in fact the one sought by Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. In 2001, after sending a team to the divisional playoffs only to lose in a heartbreaking game 5 to the big market big money New York Yankees (who went on to lose the World Series to Arizona), he was losing three of his star players and he simply could not afford to replace them. He hit the realization that in order to compete, he had to re-think the way that baseball business is done. No longer could he think in terms of buying his way into the playoffs (as the Yankees seem to do every year), but instead he would devise a system that would revolutionize the way that baseball is played…or at least they way a team is constructed. To this end, he constructed an unorthodox and unconventional system which at the time was completely unheard-of. Suddenly, players were valued not for home runs or batting average, but for walks and runs scored. Under this system, 3 players making 250,000 each were worth the same as one player making 7 million. And in doing so, Beane managed to field a winning team who set an American League record for consecutive wins. Critics may point out that as yet, under this system, the A's still haven't won a championship. But they were always competitive, which is more than we can say for the majority of the teams in the league who also are not winning championships and are in fact spending a lot more money.

These ideas have been around for about ten years now and are now pretty much commonplace in baseball, but at the time Beane was ridiculed for trying them. The writing is excellent (Aaron Sorkin has a screenplay credit) and draws you in even without a lot of "action." We know that Oakland will not win that final game of the series, we know that Beane will continue to strive for that elusive championship, but we still have a lot to root for and cheer for. Even my personal feelings about my own team (sigh--long-suffering Orioles fan) did not in anyway prevent me from cheering the A's improbable drive toward history. The relationship between Beane and his daughter is a nice, and helps to drive in the fact that to some, baseball is more than a game. You might even argue that this film is not so much about baseball but about the effect our choices have on our lives and the lives around us--the supposed threat that unconventional thinking presents to the status quo.

Ultimately this film is the Bad News Bears of the new millennium--a ragtag group of veterans and rookies and cast-offs come together under the visionary leadership of a general manager who dared to think outside the box. It is possible that if you have absolutely no interest in baseball, you would still like this movie for its message about resisting the urge to do what is safe and easy in favor of what is odd and maybe even crazy...and works.
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Who thought Baseball and Economics would make an interesting movie?
estebangonzalez109 January 2012
¨There are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there's fifty-feet of crap, and then there's us. ¨ Moneyball was among the best films I've seen this year. It really caught me by surprise since I'm not a big baseball fan and wasn't expecting much considering the subject matter. Baseball and economics seemed like a bad combination for me, but since Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were all starring in this film I had to see it. It's impossible not to fall in love with the Billy Beane character and the relationship he had with his young assistant Peter Brand. They are really the center of this movie so if you're doubting wither or not you should see this worrying about the subject matter all I can say is go see it anyways because it is much more than simply another baseball movie. There are some very strong and emotional scenes where I couldn't help but get goose bumps over a team and a sport I really didn't care for. That is how good this film is. Moneyball is directed by Bennett Miller, who also directed Capote in which Seymour Hoffman won an Oscar for his lead performance as Truman Capote. Miller has proved he can make some great films. The movie was adapted from the book written by Michael Lewis (Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game) which focuses on the true story of the Oakland A's General Manager, Billy Beane, who managed to put together the 2002 team on a very low budget by using computer-generated analysis to draft his players based on a formula which was perfected by his young assistant. This would change the game forever. Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network and Charlie Wilson's War) did a great job at adapting the screenplay for the big screen.

The movie begins with real footage from the last 2001 divisional series game between the Yankees and the A's. The A's were winning the series two games to nothing, but the Yankees came back to win the final three games and leave the A's out of the Championship Divisional game for a second year in a row. The bad news for General Manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), is that he's going to lose his three star players for the next season. The A's don't have the kind of budget that other rich teams like the Red Sox or the Yankees have. It's just impossible to compete against those teams, so it's time to think outside the box. Billy meets with his talent scouts to see how they can replace these key players without any money, but finds no solution. He decides to hire a young Yale Economic graduate who was working as an adviser for the Cleveland Indians. His name is Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) and he uses statistical data to analyze each player and decide which one has a better value based on their batting average and price. Beane and Brand go against all odds and decide to build their team entirely on these computer statistics. The scouts are outraged by the decision, but Beane believes this is the only way he can compete with the big budget teams. Beane also has some arguments with manager Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) over whom he should start, but the main focus of the film relies on the relationship between Beane and Brand. There are also a few scenes dealing with Beane and his relationship with his young daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey) who lives with her mom Sharon (Robin Wright) in California as well.

Moneyball works as both a sports film and a biographical movie, but it is really much more than that. It works thanks to a very strong performance from both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill who shine in every scene they are together in. Since Beane doesn't like to watch the games for fear of jinxing the team we don't really get to see a lot of baseball. There are several conversations revolving around baseball, but it really isn't that central to the film. The true heart of the film is Beane who we all want to see succeed and silence the critics. We want his system to work because he is such a charismatic character and he believes in what he is doing. The scene where the streak begins is very inspiring and one of the best moments in sports film in my opinion. I really got a lot of goose bumps during that twentieth game winning streak. I also enjoyed the side story revolving around Billy and his daughter Casey. Kerris Dorsey has little screen time, but she is great opposite Brad Pitt. As for Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright they really don't have much to work with and don't bring anything to the story really. It's a shame because Hoffman is a great actor and he could've had a better role in this film. In my opinion the ending is perfect as well and the soundtrack was also great. Moneyball was one of the most emotional experiences I've had with a movie all year and I really recommend this inspiring film.
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keeping the faith
magnuslhad14 June 2015
Baseball and submarines: American cinema seems to thrive in these two arenas. Baseball may be a minor sport globally, its rules lost on the vast majority of Europeans, Africans and Asians, but in cinema it lends itself perfectly to myth and grand narrative. Pragmatic GM Billy Beane comes across a nerdy Peter Brand who seems to have worked out an algorithm to get the most effective baseball squad for the lowest cost. This is just what the cash-strapped Oakland franchise needs, decides Beane. Philosophy meets strategy in a perfect pairing, as Billy and Peter go to work implementing 'moneyball' with an almost religious zeal. Pitt brings his now taken-for-granted charisma and complexity to Beane. The casting of Jonah Hill is a gamble that pays off as he manages to give Peter a backbone, when it would be all too easy to lampoon this character. And when you have Philip Seymour Hoffman stepping up to play a small but crucial part, then you have a movie that is intriguing and compelling in equal measure. Very few people have the courage to choose a transgressive path, and of those that do, fewer still will stick with it in the face of adversity. A film of quiet determination, with occasionally explosive conflict, it is at all times humane and authentic. One to watch again and again.
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Much more than just a baseball film
TheLittleSongbird30 November 2016
Despite being a non-sports fan, let alone a non-baseball fan, there are still a lot of great sports films out there...of which 'Moneyball' is an example of one.

It is not going to be for all tastes. It is wordy with a lot of talk and not a whole lot of baseball, which may be a disappointment for fans, but to me that was not a bad thing at all. It saw a different side to the sport and how sports films are approached and portrayed, and it was done wonderfully, apart from a couple of scenes that were a touch too talky.

'Moneyball' is a very well made film, not one of the most visually beautiful films of the year but still beautifully shot and the scenery is very handsome. Bennett Miller does a fine job directing, keeping the film engrossing and the drama alert and easy to follow. The music complements very nicely, never over-bearing or too low-key.

Aaron Sorkin's script is smart and intelligent, filled with humour and heart, while the storytelling is well paced and enthralling, managing to make something exciting out of a potentially dry subject matter or a film that could have suffered from sluggish execution in lesser hands.

Brad Pitt's lead performance is full of daring enthusiasm and he wins one over with his charisma. In contrast, Jonah Hill is superbly understated and Philip Seymour Hoffmann steals every scene he's in.

Overall, a great film that is more than just a film about baseball. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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Baseball is a boring sport
alrodbel6 March 2012
I used to be a fan, about sixty years ago when I would take the trolley to Griffith Stadium to watch the Washington Senators lose again. But there were some great players that beat them, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, who I discovered that in spite of my running as fast as I could to catch him for an autograph, could outpace me by his graceful effortless loping to the bullpen.

But the game lost its charm over the years, and with expansion I didn't even know the names of the teams, who had had that old Senators franchise that bounced around the country. So, when a friend offered me his copy of this DVD, saying it was something special, I figured I would watch it and politely fib that I enjoyed it.

Well, I shouldn't have worried. This was one of the finest films I've seen on so many levels. How they captured interactions from the G.M.'s relationship to his daughter, and his young adviser along with every one of his professional colleagues with such utter truth is amazing. Not a single false note. I compare it with the work of David Mamet, an esteemed film writer whose dialogue is his image of how men talk, with every other word four letters beginning with F. I've worked in setting such as the sales rooms of his film Glen Berrny-Glen Ross, and can attest that he was portraying caricatures rather than real people, unlike those dramatized by every single character in this film.

From the original book, to the screen adaptation, to the acting, directing and editing---this was a gem, but beyond technical excellence it was inspired-as reflected by the fat player who tried to get back to first, not realizing that he had hit a home run. I don't know whether this really happened or not, and I don't care.

It was a metaphor. Not just for this film, but for life.
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Moving, beyond numbers
achyutaghosh29 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"It's hard not to be romantic about baseball. This kind of thing, it's fun for the fans. It sells tickets and hot dogs"

Moneyball is a sports movie what makes it stand apart from the crowd is that it takes all the clichés that are associated with sports movies such as heroic games, emotional moments and motivational speeches and turns them down on their head to deliver a movie that delves in the cold and calculative science behind sports- in this case being sabermetrics. Sabermetrics is the specialized analysis of baseball through objective, empirical evidence, specifically baseball statistics that measure in- game activity. Thus it is all about objective knowledge related to baseball, It points out facts such as which player has the highest onbase percentages rather than subjective arguments such as who is the best player in the game.

Picture this- in a conference room at the Oakland athletics headquarters, baseball scouts and team management are squabbling to pick stars for their team. And while evaluating prospective players, phrases that go around are-"clean cut, good face, good jaw", "he is a good looking ball player", and my favourite "when he hits the ball, it pops off his bat. You can hear it all over the ballpark. There is a lot of pop". It is then that a manifestation dawns upon Billy Beane - that the current technique of player selection is flawed and unsuitable for teams with smaller budgets. When he stumbles across Peter Brand, a fresh out of Yale statistician, he realizes that he may have found a more cost effective way to get the right players in the team and do battle with the 800 pound gorillas in the league. Using statistics he finds value in players that no one else seem to do. People are overlooked for a variety of biased reasons and perceived flaws- Age, appearance, personality. Mathematics cut straight through that, and Billy, is able to create a championship team that they can afford, because everyone else in baseball undervalues them. After initial setbacks, he manages to effect a dramatic turnaround from a written off team to claim, at 20 games in a row, the longest winning streak in the history of the game.

"I hate losing more than I even wanna win" says Brad Pitt as he plays a career defining role as Billy Beane, a reclusive general manager for the Oakland A's who when young promised much as a player, but turned out mediocre. Having taken up scouting, and later a managerial role in a team riddled with middling performers and a tight budget, he is so intense that he does not go to watch his team play, yet he is able to make himself look indifferent as he says that making relations with players will soften him up when he has to make tough decisions about who to keep on the roster and who not to. He finds losing repulsive, yet that seems to be his fate unless he is able to embrace the principles advocated by Peter, played by the usually fat king of vulgarity- Jonah Hill. And what a revelation Hill is in this movie- he is precocious, understated and nerdy to Pitt's charismatic, yet in his quietly confident and softspoken way, he matches him in every scene, proves that there is life for him after he "outgrows" (pardon the pun), teen comedy. Being riled by scouts yet having analyzed tons of players in the league, he is able to influence Beane to try out his theories which he believes will bring the team out from the rut that it currently is in. Juxtaposed between them and not quite seeing things the same way, is the bull headed coach of the team, played excellently again by Philip Seymour Hoffman- so much so that he continues to frustrate not only the lead characters, but also the viewer in his obstinacy- you so want to get inside the screen and sock him. Some of the movie's best scenes involve intense discussions, and standoffs between these three characters.

The movie is based upon 2003 best-selling book by Michael Lewis, "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game"- and while baseball continues to remain the backdrop, the movie touches upon how difficult organizations find it is to change, flattening of hierarchies by the availability of information, and the need for efficiency that capitalism demands. While the strongest element of Moneyball is its script by Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian reminiscent of their work in The Social Network. Its lively, intense and emotional, and yet it has its lighthearted moments.

While it is gloomy to know that a computer can do a better job at assembling a successful team than years of collective human experience and emotions, at the end of it, this is a movie in which brain triumphs brawn. It is intelligent, the script witty, fast paced, and with strong elements of drama. Each frame is a work of art and is lovingly shot- whether the action in the games, or the real action, which in this case, is behind the scenes. The end results don't matter, nor does is matter that Billy Beane is still looking for his first league win, what matters is the change that his thoughts managed to bring to a sport riddled with tradition.

The movie has already garnered 7 Academy Award nominations including ones for Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill and best movie and script also. It has already won the American Film Institute's movie of the year, and it will win many more for though Moneyball says the game is about money, but the movie is about real people, and this makes for riveting cinema. PLEASE WATCH THIS – 10/10
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Sabermetrics in the Grand Ole Game
ferguson-614 September 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. While reading "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game" by Michael Lewis, I never once considered what it might look like as a movie. And I am the kind of guy who looks at a mailbox and wonders if a movie about a mailman might be interesting (Costner proved me wrong). If you are a baseball fan, you should see this movie. If you are not a baseball fan, the movie works very well as a metaphor for any business maverick who takes a risk and analyzes their company or industry from an entirely new perspective. The game of baseball was over a hundred years old when Oakland A's GM Billy Beane turned the institution on its ear.

Mr. Lewis spent most of the 2002 season with the Oakland team and had full access to GM Billy Beane, Asst GM Paul DePodesta, and their process in putting together a team that would contend for the American League title ... all under the severe handicap of ridiculous salary constraints placed by team owners.

In this movie, Brad Pitt is spot on as Billy Beane - the cocky, tobacco spitting former jock trying desperately to put his stamp on the institution of baseball. Due to some lawsuit of which I know nothing, the DePodesta role is renamed Peter Brand and is played by Jonah Hill, who looks absolutely nothing like Mr. DePodesta (who played baseball at Harvard). Despite this, Mr. Hill does an terrific job of becoming the statistical whiz who can analyze data and place value on players ... a skill he is obsessed with even 10 years later.

Watching Beane trying to communicate the point of change to the old school scouts is simply priceless and painful. Years of scouting based on body type and girlfriend ranking is replaced by statistical data spit out by Brand's computer. The real fun comes when the team's field Manager, Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), flashes his bah-humbug attitude, bucks Beane's system and continues coaching old school ... from the gut. It's not until Beane takes away all other options that Howe is forced to follow the new plan.

Baseball fans know that Bill James is the godfather of sabermetrics in baseball. For years his formulas and calculations were ignored by owners, managers and scouts. Thanks to the A's success, ALL teams now utilize some form of sabermetrics combined with old fashioned scouting. Every measurable event in a game is tracked and results are analyzed. Many fans say it has sucked the joy out of the game. Others say it has provided opportunities for players previously ignored. I prefer to look at it as the same in any industry ... everyone looks for a competitive advantage. Never ignore a tool or approach that can make your company more profitable or your team more competitive.

Being a long time Texas Ranger fan, I must mention some of the ties to this story. The Rangers current manager, Ron Washington (portrayed by Brent Jennings), was an infield coach on those Oakland A's and gets a few scenes. Grady Fuson was the Head Scout for the A's and later came to the Rangers as co-GM or Asst GM (depending who you ask) but had a very limited stay. Mike Venafro was a relief pitcher for the A's who gets traded in 2002 so they can pick up a more valued reliever to take his spot. It should also be noted that current Rangers GM Jon Daniels and his talented staff have a place for sabermetrics and their formula has worked.

The director of the movie is Bennett Miller, who was responsible for the excellent "Capote", which also starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Bennett's DP here is Wally Pfister, who works frequently with the great Christopher Nolan. Pfister's camera work here is superb. The amazing writing team of Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin provide a script with sharp dialogue and just enough baseball lingo so that everyone can follow. Supporting actors include Chris Pratt (Parks & Recreation) as Scott Hatteberg, poster child for sabermetrics, Robin Wright as Beane's ex-wife, and fantastic writer/director Spike Jonze as Wright's zenned-out new husband and the polar opposite of Beane.

I need to make a point about the performance of Jonah Hill. His movies "Superbad" and "Get Him to the Greek" are not my type of movies so I was never a big fan. That changed when I saw "Cyrus" last year. During the Q&A after this screening, Mr. Hill pointed out that "Cyrus" was the bridge that allowed him to be cast in this movie ... his bridge to drama. He went on to state that his acting heroes are Dustin Hoffman and Bill Murray because they have had successful careers in both comedy and drama. I can honestly say that it is easy to see Jonah Hill having a Bill Murray type career, especially since he has now lost so much weight - a significant weight loss after the filming of Moneyball. He is no longer the funny fat guy. He is a talented actor.
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Fantastic Data Analysis Used
ezzeddinabdullah23 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I'm interested in the stories that use science for success. This movie shows that in a unique way of using data analysis and statistics to predict sports.
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Moneyball isn't focussed on just playing Baseball but instead the inner workings of building the greatest team.
TheMovieDiorama28 February 2018
Hundreds of sports films, hundreds of them. Pretty sure Hollywood has tackled every type of sport, including Baseball several times over. Why should this one be any different? Well, this is the true story of the Oakland Athletics to which their General Manager at the time used a new technique of deciding a team: the Moneyball model. Using statistics and logic to pick the most effective players at the cheapest price, therefore building the ultimate economical team. Such a model could change the Baseball industry and negate years of traditional intuition. This is not so much about changing Baseball, but a personal journey for Billy Beane. He himself was chosen to play professionally, ditching his chances of further education. It didn't work out, and so he desired to change the system and defy the industry as a personal vendetta against them. Completely unconventional, having a computer system pick the most suitable players as opposed to listening to veterans who have something that algorithms do not: experience. Thoroughly enjoyed this film, and I can say I have no interest in Baseball (not particularly huge in the UK). A screenplay by Aaron Sorkin was destined to keep me captivated. Every script he writes is filled with sharp, concise dialogue that keeps you hooked on the characters. Brad Pitt looked effortlessly natural, owned every scene he was in. Jonah Hill...get ready guys...I actually liked. Finally!? A film I like him in. Cool, calm and calculated, was perfect at playing a graduate economist. Bennett Miller's direction was clean with a great mixture of old footage of Baseball games with the reconstructed acting. There's a scene towards the end where the result of a game relies on Chris Pratt hitting the ball. When he does...silence. I felt the tingles, was beautifully executed. Whilst the sport of Baseball does not interest me in the slightest, I loved the focus on the team building and thought it was brilliantly acted by everyone.
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Good, But I Would Not Friend It.
terminatorjenkins25 October 2011
"Moneyball" got the paddles of life taken to it by the same screenwriter that worked the Facebook movie, and it shows in the quick quip dialog. This is a good thing and the movie is cute and entertaining a chuckle at a time. It does not really give the actors anything Oscar worthy to deal with though, so nothing bad to say about the acting, but no hip-hip-hooray either.

As a baseball fan I found some of the movie interesting, but overall I felt like the insider access was not as interesting as just watching MLBtv and long periods of time were passed over without me really getting invested into the drama of it all.

This is a good, entertaining movie, and worth a rent, but it's not a "time and time again" sort of flick to me and seems like a strong contender for A title at an amazing $5 price at a retail store less than a year after release to home video. I saw it at the movie theater and it wasn't really a sit and see it n the big screen type of flick.
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This movie is a disgrace to baseball
bigfoot95115 January 2012
If you know anything about baseball or care anything about baseball then this movie is a huge disgrace.

Brad Pitt did a good job in this movie as well as Johah Hill and others. I don't mean to say that the acting was bad in this movie because it wasn't, but the story told was insanely inaccurate to the point of being complete fiction.

They intentionally left out the fact that this A's team had one of the best pitching staffs in the big leagues(Zito, Mulder, Hudson, and Koch). They had two perennial all stars on the left side of the infield and hitting in the middle of the line up(Tejada and Chavez).

This A's team had a great team that had nothing to do with the philosophy presented in this movie. These great players are why this A's team had so much success yet they did everything they could to keep them out of the movie.

This whole movie was made about a philosophy that flat out did not work, yet people are praising Billy Beane for this great season. It is not only a joke, but a disgrace to the integrity of baseball.
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There may be no crying in baseball, but there sure is a lot of talking
Smells_Like_Cheese16 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
So last year it seemed like one of the most talked about movies was Moneyball, everyone has been screaming about Brad Pitt's performance, so I was more than enthused to rent this film. I'm also a baseball fan, it's my favorite sport, so I thought I would naturally connect to this film as well as my fiancé who just a sports fanatic in general. Baseball is a tricky sport though, some consider it very boring and some consider it thrilling. So I was thinking that people would hated baseball would not get into this film, but over all the reviews have been more than positive. I actually think this was a good film, however for the first time in my baseball life, I found it kind of dull. Don't get me wrong, this is a really good movie, but I don't find the story that fascinating. I know that it's a story that was about the way we changed how we look at athletes when recruiting for teams, however the film can drag out a bit and doesn't get really good until the ending.

Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane is upset by his team's loss to the New York Yankees in the 2001 post season. Beane attempts to devise a strategy for assembling a competitive team for 2002 but struggles to overcome Oakland's limited player payroll. During a visit to the Cleveland Indians, Beane meets Peter, a young Yale economics graduate with radical ideas about how to assess players' value. Beane tests Brand's theory by asking whether he would have drafted him, Beane having been a Major League player before becoming general manager. Sensing opportunity, Beane hires Brand as the Athletics' assistant general manager changing the way that baseball looks at athletes forever.

I liked the exploration with Billy Beane, showing him not just as a man who is trying to pull his team back up but also a struggling father. He's human, he makes mistakes and has fears like any other man. I loved Brad's chemistry with Jonah, who I must say has come a long way in acting, I thought this guy to be nothing more but a man child who annoyed me in every role he ever took. I really liked Jonah Hill in this movie, he plays off the big boy actors very well just like his character in the film sort of speak. I loved seeing the rise of the Oakland A's, almost rooting for them as they are actually winning the games and becoming a real team(even though I'm a devote Cubs fan lol). Like I said before, despite all the good, I think the film is a bit too long and talky at times. I'm not sure if this was a good way to convert those who are not into baseball onto the sport. I know that's not the film's intention, but I like to see people get excited about baseball as it is an exciting sport. Brad does a great job, I'm not sure if this is my favorite role with him, but if he gets an Oscar nomination for it, good for him! I would just recommend this movie as a rental though if you really do want to see it, but it's one of those movies I saw once and more than happy with that.

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Baseball's best book yields terrible movie
smpv454 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Michael Lewis' book, Moneyball, ranks among the best sports book of all time. After the success of The Blindside, this superior Lewis book seemed prime for a film as fantastic as the Sandra Bullock driven movie. Unfortunately, the film adaptation is the worst baseball movie since Major League and The Sandlot spawned sequels.

Moneyball first told the story of the Oakland A's competing with an inferior budget at the early part of the decade in 2003. Years later, the Michael Lewis masterpiece fell into Bennett Miller's hands. Screenplay superstars, Steven Zaillian, and Aaron Sorkin, butchered the baseball elements of the film to focus on the character elements. This would have been fine had they actually written in any personalities for the characters.

Like the 2011 Oakland A's, Miller struggled to recapture the magic of the 2002 team, misdirecting Moneyball into a snooze fest. The film featured more shots of Brad Pitt thinking to himself than actual baseball.

The casting of Pitt as A's General manager Billy Beane seemed superb. However, if the character does nothing but sit there and silently reflect , than the best actors like Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman lose their advantage over the actors like Keanu Reeves and Jean Claude Van Damme.

The excitement that Lewis infused into a story about revolutionizing baseball strategy takes a backseat to a half-hearted attempt to spotlight Beane's personal relationships. His bond with his daughter seemed like an artificial addition to the film. While this should make the character more human, he still lacks the personality that enlivened the book version of Beane.

To his credit when Pitt speaks, the character's charisma comes through. However too many scenes feature him silent or engaging in a conversation that does not affect the plot of the film.

This especially rings true in the chat between Beane and his assistant GM, Peter Brand, about cutting players. The drama, in three later scenes that demonstrate this act, fails miserably. Only one of the players seems to care, and the other two are so nonchalant that the scenes become meaningless additions to the film.

Jonah Hill's portrayal of Peter Brand makes Paul DePodesta, the real life character, glad he refused the rights to use his name in the movie. The character has no personality, no passion, and no inflection on any word he says.

Like the book, the film flashes back to Beane's scouting and struggles in the Big Leagues. However, Miller and company once again dropped the ball. These reflections are disjointed and unorganized. They fail to illustrate Beane's inability to separate emotion from the game.

They show that his time in the big leagues let down everyone including himself. However, in a statistics based movie, filled with titles on the screen, a showing of Beane's career stats would have helped audiences better understand his hatred for conventional scouting.

A movie based on a book about baseball should have filmed more than just one baseball game. This game, the finale of the streak segment, stands out as the best part of the movie. The sequence is well filmed and captures the emotion of this pivotal game for the Oakland A's.

Unfortunately, the movie jumps immediately from this streak into the ending of the season. They show just one out of the A's final game, a decision that once again shows a flaw in either writing or directing.

After this final game, the movie continues to drag on with more Beane self reflection and his forced relationship with Jonah Hill's character. I have never seen two actors with less chemistry than Pitt and Hill together.

Another horrible flaw that usually helps other baseball movies succeed are the players in the film. They, like the rest of the characters, never showcase any personality or charisma. In fact, they might as well have been posters on the dugout wall.

The characters in the film never have any growth. The movie included an awkward conversation between Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt) and David Justice (Stephen Bishop).

Justice attempts to comfort Hatteberg on his fielding concerns, but never reassures him. This scene would have worked in the film had they later shown Justice offering better advice to other players, or had they shown the real life fielding improvement of Hatteberg at first base.

Like every other relationship in this film, this connection never developed. The interaction between Beane and his ex-wife (Robin Wright-Penn) also never goes anywhere, or has any impact on the story being told. It is a forced awkward scene that should decorate the cutting room floor.

Great baseball films showcase players with charisma. The Sandlot, Major League, Little Big League, and the host of other great offerings in the genre, be they kids movies or biographies, have players with personalities. They also have more than one baseball sequence.

Fans of the sport of baseball, and the Michael Lewis masterpiece, should avoid this film at all costs. It is not a baseball movie. It is Brad Pitt thinking time. Terrible directing, screen writing and mediocre acting efforts earn Moneyball a D- for ruining a great book that should have been a great movie.

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Two hours of dry shoptalk with Pitt on auto-pilot
Gloede_The_Saint3 January 2012
Moneyball is a slow moving chamber room film about the administrative and strategic aspects of baseball. Does it sound dry to you? Then you'll probably think it is. It's very down to earth, almost minimalistic in a sense, just lacking the emotional strength. Nothing is exaggerated, all the scenes are like normal everyday conversations.

The acting style, particularly from the bit players is a mix between aping after documentaries/filmed real life conversations and the some poor TV networks drama of the week. The acting isn't exactly bad, it's just unmemorable and lacking strength. Jonah Hill is the only one here who gives a relatively good performance. Brad Pitt just seems like he's on auto-pilot and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who's barely even in the film, just blends into the background.

The structure is fairly simple, it's basically all shoptalk, and relatively uninspired shoptalk at that, as Brad Pitt move from meeting to meeting. I think it's biggest weakness is the rather emotional score, which seems a tad sappy and banal. It seems to want to make up for the otherwise dry and unemotional business aspects, and takes every tiny opportunity to insert a tear in someones eyes.

In a way I respect it, because it must have been really hard to get this movie made, but it just doesn't manage to be as good as it potentially could have been. It far from bad mind it. It's more than competently directed, it's Capote helmer Bennett Miller after all, and all the aspects are more or less decent. It even contains a few rather good scenes, which shows that they could have gotten it on the right track. So yes, I'm slightly disappointed. At high hopes for this. Won't write off Bennett Miller yet though. He could still have a great career in front of him. And it was nice to see Jonah Hill do well in a nice, toned down and quiet role. 5/10.
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A great movie to fall asleep to!
disconixx19 November 2011
There was nothing engaging about this movie. The characters were bland. The cinematography was nothing to marvel over. I understand that real life isn't always as engaging as we'd like it to be, but it worked for the Blind Side. I fail to understand why these directors couldn't make it work.

For some reason, the actors seem to have been directed to be silent for 3 seconds after anyone talks. Why? There was so much awkward silence in this movie! It left the audience giggling nervously. It added nothing to the plot or character development. If the silences were taken out, I guarantee it would be an hour shorter (and a lot less painful to watch). The film also seemed to lack a sufficient musical score. Scenes that would usually have been made more exciting by background music were played out in complete silence. It's very difficult to be excited about a plot development when the makers of the movie don't seem to be either.

The characters spoke in monotone. None of them struck me as likable, perhaps bar Billy Beane's daughter. Billy frequently becomes unjustifiably angry, throwing sports equipment at walls for dramatic effect. It all seems very fake and scripted. There's so little dialogue in this movie, I barely feel like I know any of the characters. If we're meant to rely on Billy Beane's facial expressions to get a sense of what he's feeling, then Brad Pitt doesn't do a good enough job.

Overall, it was a snooze fest. I kept looking at my watch, hoping it would soon be over. Don't see this movie. Wait for it to be shown on TV. You can watch it while reading a book, or doing the laundry. Trust me, you'll still get the general gist of it.
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More a movie about Billy Beane then Moneyball
Philley1123 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Moneyball is about finding and then exploiting market deficiencies and it is applicable to any business not just baseball. This book was key to changing the way a walk was valued and it started a new era of baseball thinking which eventually evolved into a hybrid of numbers and scouting. They choose not to focus on this and instead made a super melodramatic story on what Billy Beane went through. Am I suppose to think that a guy who outperformed his expectancy the past few years is now in trouble of getting fired because of one bad start to a season? This is just a example of the over-dramatic feel that this movie has created for itself. A twelve year old daughter overly concerned about her fathers job security when she herself is singing songs about being so alone in the world is another example.

Michael Lewis and Billy Beane had a great chance to show the non-baseball following world a little bit about how the sport has and is currently evolving. Instead they opted for the Hollywood angle. I think with better screenplay and with better direction this movie could have been one of the best baseball movie of all time much like the book. I mean they didn't show any of the 2002 draft preparation which was the best part of the book. Weak sauce.
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