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Moneyball

A 2011 movie directed by Bennett Miller.

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"I pay you to get on first, not get thrown out at second."

  • Jan 21, 2012
Rating:
+3
Baseball is a game of spitting, crotch scratching and often interminably long innings. Moneyball is a movie that deconstructs the myths of America’s home-style game and shows how it becomes an exemplar of big business. By the time Moneyball is over, baseball’s traditions are as quaint as long underwear, the players have become work units, and computer analysis is still unknown by the fans as they munch their expensive hot dogs, slosh beer on their neighbors and scream joyously for the wrong reasons.
 
This might seem harsh, but the first third of Moneyball, as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, tears down traditions, rips the barnacles off the tradition-bound scouts and coaches, makes decisions that either are misunderstood or threaten the traditionalists, and gets rid of the players who don’t produce just as heartlessly as a surgeon lopping off a useless finger or two, is great fun and great movie construction. The pairing of Brad Pitt (looking his nearly 50 years) as Billy Beane and Jonah Hill as the young, round Peter Brand who doesn’t know much about baseball but does know logic and analysis, is inspired. The two characters make a rich combination. The two actors make a faultless team. As Peter Brand tries to explain to Billy Beane his concept of building a winning team, we begin to understand the movie and Beane.
 
Says Brand, “There is an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening. And this leads people who run Major League Baseball teams to misjudge their players and mismanage their teams. People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn't be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs. …The Boston Red Sox see Johnny Damon and they see a star who's worth seven and half million dollars a year. When I see Johnny Damon, what I see is... is... an imperfect understanding of where runs come from. The guy's got a great glove. He's a decent leadoff hitter. He can steal bases. But is he worth the seven and half million dollars a year that the Boston Red Sox are paying him? No. No. Baseball thinking is medieval. They are asking all the wrong questions.”
 
Then there’s the middle. We learn about Billy’s sadness…his ex-wife, who seems a nice lady; his young daughter, who plays a guitar and sings awful songs of her own, I think, composing. The brightest spot here is a brief scene with his former wife’s new husband, played by Spike Jonz.  All of this is irrelevant, both to the story and to maintaining our interest.
 
Then there’s the last third: Final validation. An offer hard to refuse. A grand gesture. The loneliness of Billy Beane. A lot of driving around. Its all piece parts that writer Aaron Sorkin most probably couldn’t bear to cut or eliminate.
 
We start out with a superbly constructed and acted feel-good movie. The slow letdown into Hollywood predictability, earnestness and personal angst is disappointing. The movie runs 2 hours and 13 minutes. Slogging through the last half makes it seem longer.
 
Phillip Seymore Hoffman is unnecessarily cast as the Athletics’ head coach, an experienced baseball traditionalist who disagrees with Billy Beane. Any competent character actor could have effectively played the role. Casting Hoffman was indulgence on someone’s part, I assume, so that Pitt and Hoffman could have a couple of “acting” moments.
 
The first third of Moneyball was so good I wished the rest of the movie had kept up.

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February 29, 2012
I have been putting off seeing this as I pretty much know the story and remember the big 4 low priced pitchers the A's had in the 2000-2005 time frame. MLB Network also had a documentary of the use of statistics (the beginning of Elias Bureau) throughout the history of baseball and how things evolved and there is a part dedicated to the A's. As this movie got a lot of nominations through the movie awards blitz that just finished, maybe the time is right to see it.
 
January 22, 2012
Enjoyed this movie--Sorkin did a great job with the scipt. Have you seen THE SOCIAL NETWORK?
 
January 22, 2012
I come across Moneyball when I picked up the book Boomerang which is a current book by Michael Lewis. If you like to read, then it's highly recommended. Hence, when I saw the movie Moneyball as one of the available choices on my flight from Hong Kong to Singapore a couple of days ago, I tuned in to it. Well, partly due to Brad Pitt too. Anyhow, I'm not into baseball but even then I can appreciate this movie. Highly entertaining, as with many books by the same author!
 
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More Moneyball reviews
review by . September 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Men Behind The Oakland A's History-Making Season
Oakland A’s fans would be right at home with “Moneyball” as they would be very familiar with the amazing historic run of the team during the 2002 baseball season. Well, I am currently a “retired” baseball fan but even I remember that record-breaking season, when an underdog team actually went on to make history. Non-Athletics fans wouldn’t be lost either since while this is indeed a film about baseball and about the A’s, the film’s focus isn’t …
review by . October 14, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Is it more surprising that a movie was made of Moneyball, Michael Lewis's great account of how Billy Beane made the A's a winning baseball team by finding undervalued players, or that it took so long to do because of Hollywood's sausage-making machinery?  Perhaps what is most surprising is that the result is really, really good.      First, this isn't really a movie about baseball (yes, that's the second time I've used that phrase today--see my review …
review by . September 25, 2011
Billy Beane won, you know. He would hate to hear anyone say that since he never picked up a Pennant, but he won. He changed the way baseball is played. Well, maybe not so much played as constructed, but his method proved to win a ton of games in the end. Most teams are emulating his model now, and as the Boston Red Sox say at the end of the movie Moneyball, those not using it are old dinosaurs. Beane's biggest foe, Joe Morgan, is an old trudging dino these days whom I could probably beat up, and …
review by . September 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
There is a tendency in Hollywood for their movies to have a deeper meaning. If a movie were just about zombies it may be tough to get a broad audience into the theater. So what people tend to do is add a metaphor like zombies that really stand for consumerism or lack of individuality or some B.S. like that. Or they will put in a handsome lead to attract women who may otherwise not want to see a monster movie. Moneyball has every opportunity to do these things as well and while it may touch …
review by . December 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Moneyball was one of my most anticipated movies of this year. The simple combination between Miller, Sorkin, Pitt, Hoffman, and Pfister projected the prospect of a bomb movie. The clock was ticking faster and faster and as soon as I hit the comfortable seat in my theater I decided to let myself caught in this movie's bliss. Did I get caught in that web? Ehh... not really. Sadly, I was too hyped over this project that I left in a way disappointed even though I thought the movie was …
review by . September 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A third base hit
MONEYBALL Written by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Directed by Bennett Miller Starring Brad Pitt, Johan Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman   Billy Beane: There are rich teams; there are poor teams; then there’s fifty feet of crap; and then there’s us.   These days, it seems that when it comes to conversations about the American economy, the focus is on the increasing divide between the rich and the poor. In MONEYBALL, that same gap is affecting America’s favourite …
review by . September 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Moneyball' 'Two Jews On Film' Only One Says This Hits A Home Run (Video)
   First thing I must say is...I basically know nothing about sports. I do watch the Super Bowl but only for the commercials. That said, I absolutely loved 'Money Ball'. Which goes to prove, that you don't have to be a baseball fan, to think that this film, written by Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillan and directed by Bennett Miller, is absolutely wonderful.      Brad Pitt portrays real life Baseball legend, Billy Beanne. I'm sure there are many people …
Quick Tip by . October 08, 2011
Brad Pitt leaves his pretty boy roles behind and plays up his acting chops. Overall good story and strong acting by everyone, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman. It has Oscar written all over it as a movie and for various members of the cast and crew. However, I could have done without so many cutesie kids and the lighting in the guitar store scene was more distracting than mood setting.
About the reviewer
C. O. DeRiemer ()
Ranked #32
Since I retired in 1995 I have tried to hone skills in muttering to myself, writing and napping. At 75, I live in one of those places where one moves from independent living to hospice. I expect to begin … more
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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (ISBN 0-393-05765-8) is a book by Michael Lewis, published in 2003, about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. Its focus is the team's analytical, evidence-based, sabermetric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team, despite Oakland's disadvantaged revenue situation. A film based on the book starring Brad Pitt was released in 2011.
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