Beane reinvents baseball
Not just for baseball fans, the film tells a true sports rebel story. Beane, the Oakland Athletics general manager, changes the sport and recruits a winning team on a tiny budget.
The fantastic script was penned by Oscar winners Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network).
After 11 losses, the team sets a major league record during the 2002 season. Actual game footage from the A’s 20-game win streak adds excitement.
Moneyball sweeps you up with an inside look at managing a ball team. I didn’t glance at my watch for over two hours.
Teamwork and rebellion
Teamwork is built on and off the field. Business deals are wrangled. Underdogs are valued and given a new start. Players give their best – and sometimes not.
Beane shocks back room baseball elders and know-it-all sports commentators by reinventing baseball. His street smarts and out-of-the-box thinking will thrill you. Behind the scenes, he’s a divorced dad who wants to be his daughter’s hero.
Adapt or die
Beane recognizes whiz kid Peter Brand (Jonah Hill, perfect here) instantly, enticing him to become his right hand man. That bold decision will change everything.
Beane must rebel by trying a new approach. His best players get poached by the big money teams all the time. “Adapt or die” becomes his motto.
With the help of the Yale-trained economist, Beane upsets multi-million dollar teams by using sabermetrics in baseball. Brand tells him, “You aren’t trying to buy players. You want to buy wins.”
Measuring player performance
Brand loves baseball as much as he loves numbers. He identifies standout players based on their runs and on how they fit into an equation. Talent isn’t enough. The players must perform in ways that make major league success likely.
Beane forges ahead with courage and gut instinct. The film is based on the ground-breaking book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis.
Talent alone not enough
A former baseball prodigy, Beane decided to become a professional talent scout. He always wondered why he didn’t have more success in the majors. With sabermetrics, he understands why.
Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffmann plays ornery Art Howe, the Oakland A’s coach who doesn’t trust Beane or his new boy wonder one whit.
Other great performances include Kerris Dorsey as Beane’s daughter (with impressive singing and guitar strumming), and Robin Wright as Billy’s ex-wife.
Pitt’s impressive performance
There’s a turning point where Beane trades several players to overcome a plateau. Brand advises against this, but the GM takes charge. Pitt excels in a very funny scene where he and Brand juggle calls from general managers calling back.
This is one of Pitt’s best performances. Billy Beane is as gutsy and street smart as Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds, and Mr. O’Brien in The Tree of Life. Pitt has worked with directing legends like David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino and Terrence Malick.
Pitt also produced Moneyball. The star often produces his own movies. He’s backed spiritual genre greats such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Eat Pray Love.
Lending his sense of fun and box office appeal to B movies, he played Rusty Ryan in Ocean’s Eleven and John Smith in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
Great movie moments
Academy Awards are likely because Moneyball transcends the screen. It’s a movie for our time where people triumph over big money. It speaks to our fascination with science, but stays grounded in heart and soul.
More than anything, Beane wants to change an unfair game. He builds success with an unlikely group of misfits. Even when you know how this story ends, his victory is no less impressive and sweet. (5 out of 5 stars)
If you like Moneyball, you might enjoy: Win Win.
Moneyball 2011 / PG-12 / 2 hours, 13 mins
Cast Overview: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Stephen Bishop, Reed Thompson
Director: Bennett Miller
Genre: Drama, Biopic, Drama Based on the Book