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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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"How Can You Not Be Romantic About Baseball?"
Instant_Palmer23 July 2021
Moneyball "changed the game forever" (the baseball-movie game). No other baseball film (nor any other sports film) has achieved this level of intimate connection to the front office of a professional sports franchise (and made it this interesting and engaging), nor achieved this level of combined excellence in cinematography, editing, and story-telling.

Moneyball avoids resorting to melodramatic baseball movie cliches - the truth is often more interesting than fiction, and this is truly a fascinating tale based on real events.

Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin share screenwriting credit, and the screenplay deserved its awards and nominations.

Director Bennett Miller did a fabulous job in pulling this winning team together, and the entire cast and crew knocked it out of the proverbial park.

This is one of Brad Pitt's best film performances, and Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman were both on their A-Game. The entire supporting cast was spot-on individually and as an ensemble.

There is simply no weak link in production, and after seeing this film a half dozen times, it earns an 'instant_palmer' 10 - a rating I don't give out capriciously on IMDb.

Moneyball sets a high bar for baseball movies and there is no other film like it.

My choice as best sports movie of all time; on my Top-100 Greatest Films list, and; moving up the rankings every year. 👍👍
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Very good
edvinryback24 September 2020
This is SPOT ON!!!!!

I have nothing bad to say about this one
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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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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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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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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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Shocked it didn't win any of the 6 nominations that year!
UniqueParticle5 June 2021
I'm not much a fan of sports but this is well made especially for the business aspects. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are always amazing I wish I could meet them. I respect the cinematography very much too the lighting, slow motion shots, and scenery are incredible! The ambient music alone is soothing enough to watch although some of the movie can be boring to some it's definitely interesting.
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Must see for every baseball fan
accounts-4892224 March 2021
This movie belongs to the classics of baseball. It shows perfectly that money doesn't always have to speak in sports and that established thinking isn't always right.
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7.5 solid
baywoodarborist15 October 2020
A solid film. There really isn't any negative things that come to mind. Pitt is always good and they told the story well.
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maishaenquee17 September 2020
What an amazing movie....! Brad Pitt steps in as Billy Beane, a failed baseball player who is looking for redemption as the GM of Oakland A's. The sheer honesty with which Brad Pitt plays the character makes it so real.... all the struggles he goes through to put a team on the field with a really low budget, its all just the sheer brilliance of Pitt. You don't need to know baseball to understand the movie. That's the most amazing thing about it. Jonah was on also on point and this could easily be Pitt's best work. It's a masterpiece really!
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Enjoyable even if you don't know baseball
ronakkotian7 July 2020
I've never watched baseball in my life and so I had no prior knowledge about it but this film still managed to be quite enjoyable.

Moneyball follows Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A's, who builds a team on a tight budget by using statistics with the help of Peter Brand.

I've heard how good this film was and the fact that it was written by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian got me excited. Despite my lack of knowledge of baseball, Moneyball was actually pretty good. I like the direction the film took by focusing less on the games themselves and rather on the work that goes on behind the scenes. Having Sorkin and Zaillian writing the script means it has to be good. This film could have easily been very dramatic but both writers manage to keep the story realistic with the right amount of wit infused.

Once again, Brad Pitt does a great job and his chemistry with Jonah Hill was surprisingly good. I love Jonah Hill so it was interesting to see him take on a serious role for once instead of a comedic one. I thought he did well. His character is someone who's very quiet and shy and Hill gave a good portrayal of just that. I wish Philip Seymour Hoffman had more to do since his role is quite minor.

Overall, Moneyball was a good time. I do feel the film is too long. A film like this where dialogue takes center stage, you can become easily bored and there were parts where I started to feel bored due to the slow pacing. I think some scenes could have been cut just to increase the pacing. Apart from that, the performances and writing did keep me engaged for the majority of the film and made it a worthy watch.
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God bless this movie.
matthewssilverhammer29 September 2019
It's as patient as a baseball game, and 100 times more engaging. For a movie so focused on numbers and sports analytics, it's incredibly soulful. Miller takes Sorkin's unsurprisingly clever dialogue and surrounds it with long shots of character's still faces, and beds the whole movie on beautifully atmospheric music. Pitt is equal parts unnervingly stoic and subtly impish, and his sudden outburst of anger are wonderful.
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umarali-6526629 September 2019
Very well made film. Keeps you engaged and has tons of brilliant emotional scenes. Jonah Hill is terrific in a more serious role than I'm accustomed to seeing him in. However, it's a Brad Pitt show all the way. He nails the character and is incredible in the more confrontational scenes. One of my favourite films now
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I've never watched a baseball game but I love this film
elliotjeory2 June 2019
Great film. I've seen it around 5 times and it's still good. A fascinating look on the game of baseball and how statistics influenced the Oakland A's 20 game win streak. Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt are work great together and there are some great supporting cast too. You don't have to like baseball to love this film, any sports fan can relate.
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Amazing movie!!
sriramthestranger21 March 2021
I was hooked on to his movie from scene 1, and actually Googled baseball basics to understand those statistics better. Brad Pitt was simply superb as Billy. This is more of a lesson on hiring and management that every professional should take note of. Must watch if you like sports drama!
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