Even if you don’t like baseball, this movie is worth watching. Some people only follow a team if they are in line to win it all. That’s what the main character in the movie Moneyball, Billy Beane, figured out early on: if you don’t win the last game (of the championship), it doesn’t mean anything.
The director, Bennett Miller, and screenwriters, Aaron Sorkin (of West Wing and The Social Network) and Steven Zaillian, figured out how to make an emotional movie from Billie Beane’s method of building a winning baseball club on a budget.
Using a Yale graduate, Peter Brand, and his innovative way to evaluate players to build a winning roster, the Oakland Athletics’ general manager, Billy Beane did just that. Billy tells Brand while they are contemplating what they have done, and its’ impact, “If we win, it will change the game.” Before this method was tried, conferences about the next year’s roster were shown in the movie to come down to whether a player had a good face, whether he partied too much during season, and whether his girlfriend was good looking (an ugly girlfriend meant that the player had no confidence.)
Great performances were turned in from Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who is good in whatever he undertakes) as the A’s manager, Jonah Hill (who you will recognize from most of the boys behaving badly movies) as Peter Brand, and Kerris Dorsey (from the Brothers and Sisters TV series) as Beane’s daughter. Prior to this movie, Brad Pitt has been known more for his looks than his acting ability, but this film might change that perception for many of you, as it did for me.
There were a few scenes that were a little long, but those times were few, since the director, Bennett Miller, keeps the pace up nicely, from flashbacks to Bean’s short major league career to the process of using batting statistics to get a winning club for a miniscule amount, compared to the Yankee’s budget. As Billy tells a player famous for stealing bases, ” I pay you to get on first, not to get thrown out at second.”
Similarly, for you local fans, the Tampa Bay Rays won the American League Pennant in 2008 with players earning a fraction of what the Yankees paid their players. See the Tampa Bays Rays history and statistics at www.juggle.com/tampa-bay-rays.
This movie was unexpectedly emotional, surpassing my expectations. I’d recommend that you see it. Good sports films are usually based on romantic plots or cliches. This one is based on statistics.