Movie Review: Moneyball (2011)
“How can you not be romantic about baseball?” The based on true events movie about the General Manager for the Oakland Athletics who takes a losing team and turns them around using a “numbers based” player analysis system assigning a value to each player instead of the old school, “what do you think about him?”, approach to scouting new players. Billy Beane is a “high hope” high school draft pick that finds out he just can’t make it as a Major League ball player. After giving up his Stanford scholarship to play ball, he can’t quite make the adjustment to the Major Leagues and decides to try his luck as an advance scout for the Oakland A’s. He then progresses to the teams General Manager. With a 39 million dollar budget, he is unable to compete with the 112 million dollar budgets of the winning teams and decides to change that. With the assistance of Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, he uses a new system to pick players based on a mathematical formula to assign each player a value. Brand is a recent Yale economics major with no experience in baseball that has been developing this system but still has not found anyone that will listen to him and take him seriously, but Beane does. Beane takes Brand under his wing and with Brands mathematical genius and Beanes’ real world baseball smarts, they take a losing team and turn them around and make them winners. Changing baseball forever!
Pitt and Hill steal the show! Pitt is outstanding in his portrayal of Beane, you feel his pain and frustration as he goes head to head with players, team owners, senior draft scouts and Art Howe, the Oakland A’s Manager, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Johan Hill is brilliant as the college grad and computer geek with his “first job” in baseball. ‘Money Ball’ shines when Pitt and Hill are together on-screen! This is a performance that will put Hill in a new category as it portrays his ability to play a serious character while he still maintains that “funny guy” charisma he is known for. Pitts range of acting in this film is incredible. He goes from one end of the spectrum straight through to the other all in one movie. He does this at times without saying a word. Pitts proved himself as a “seasoned actor” in this role.
This movie is not your normal “root for the team” sports movie but instead has you rooting for the individual characters in their quest to change baseball forever. This movie will appeal to anyone and not just baseball fans. It’s a home run in my book!