What are you really worth?
Moneyball is a 2011 sports film directed by Bennett Miller, written by Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, produced by Columbia Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, Michael De Luna Productions and Plan B Entertainment, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It stars Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. The film is based on Michael Lewis' 2003 biography, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, which, in turn, is based on the Oakland Athletics' 2002 season, focusing mainly on the struggles of GM Billy Beane. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Pitt), Best Supporting Actor (Hill), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. However, it did not win any of the above.
"You get on base, we win. You don't, we lose." -Billy Beane
Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A's, is having trouble with his team. He is about to lose his three best players to free agency and doesn't have the team budget to truly replace them. After a fateful visit to the Cleveland Indians, he meets Peter Brand, and the two start a crazy rebuild that nobody was expecting.
The biggest thing about this is Brad Pitt's performance. He just disappears into this role of a somewhat crazy GM for a declining and poor baseball team. He has a side of him that is just clearly fed up and frustrated with the team's budget and the owner, as well as the scouts and the media, who are all doubting him. He has no sympathy for anybody, really, and he has a commanding presence on screen that makes him somewhat intense and intimidating when he's around other people. This all originates from Brad Pitt.
Jonah Hill is the perfect opposite to Pitt. He is soft-spoken and shy, but also smart and knows almost everything about baseball. He does a great job of being clearly terrified of Billy Beane, but also respecting him. His chemistry with Pitt rivals some of the greatest on-screen duos, and it is ironic, because they certainly seem like complete opposites. It makes the movie much more interesting, and if it wasn't Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in the leads, this movie wouldn't be nearly as good.
The story is very inspirational. Obviously, it's based on a true story, so it isn't exactly the great work of the crew, but they still deserve some of the credit. They did a fantastic job of translating it to the screen, and it feels like these people are real, which they are, so kudos to everybody who made that possible.
That moves on to the next point; writing. The writing in this movie is great. That's part of what makes Billy Beane and Peter Brand feel so real. They are written to be that way. While Pitt's eccentric and frustrated performance breaths a certain life into the character, he wouldn't be as good if the writing wasn't Oscar-worthy. Aaron Sorkin is obviously the master of these drama films, and this is him at his best.
I also think that this is just a really cool movie. I'm a baseball fan, so it's kinda fun to get a look at the behind-the-scenes of the ballpark. While I am a fan, I don't have much knowledge of how the organizations work, with salary and contracts and free agency and other stuff like that. It's interesting to watch as a lover of the sport, so I liked it more than some people who don't like or watch or understand baseball would.
The first thing that I have is that that movie spends way too much time with scenes of Billy Beane sitting down and doing nothing or driving in his car. I think that there are legitimately ten or fifiteen extra minutes of Brad Pitt just doing nothing. I think that it is meant to build up the tone of the film, but it is so boring and so pointless, and you just want to get back to the story. It could've cut the runtime a good bit and possibly made the movie better.
There are also some very weird parts where the players are, you know, playing baseball, but it looks...dreamy. It looks somewhat surreal. It is shot in slow-motion and there is some kind of steaminess in the scene. It looks so dumb in a dramatic sports movie. Honestly, I would not have been surprised if the Phantom of the Opera had popped out into the middle of the scene and started belting out notes from the show. I don't know what it was, and why they shot it, but they did, and it looks horrible.
This movie is also incredibly slow. There's so much dialogue and so much babbling that doesn't always contribute to the plot. Most of the movie feels like Billy and Peter just trading away all their players for supposedly bad ones and then talking about how the supposedly bad players are doing. The dialogue is great and sounds fantastic, but it makes the movie's pace just sooooo slow.
Lastly, Billy's daughter feels very forced into the movie. He mentions that he has a kid, and then she shows up. She gets a guitar and sings and gets worried about Billy's job security. She isn't vital to the story at all. It feels like she was forced in there to humanize a character that already feels very human.
Despite an excessive runtime, a slow pace, and a couple of questionable decisions, Moneyball is able to have two amazing leads, fantastic writing, and a great story.
I will give it a Savory rating. Age range is 8+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad)
Fun Factor: 5/10
Directed by Bennett Miller
Released on September 19, 2011
Rated PG-13 for language and some thematic elements
2 hours and 13 minutes
Brad Pitt as Billy Beane
Jonah Hill as Peter Brand
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe
Chris Pratt as Scott Hatteberg
Stephen Bishop as David Justice
Ken Medlock as Grady Fuson
Robin Wright as Sharon
Kerris Dorsey as Casey Beane