Pin It

Review: ‘Moneyball’

Brad Pitt might not want to make plans Oscar weekend because I’m betting that he’ll be one of the 5 guys named for Best Actor.

Moneyball, directed by Bennett Miller from a script by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Pitt plays Billy Beane, a former Major League Baseball player who is now the General Manager for the Oakland A’s. Yes, it’s a sports movie but you don’t have to like baseball or even know anything about it to really get into the heart of this film.

The film opens on October 15th, 2001 with the elimination game between the struggling A’s and the New York Yankees.

Cut to the A’s stadium; it’s empty and silent. Pitt sits in the stands alone, stressed and concerned as he listens to the game on a little portable radio.

Minutes later they’ll lose.

The story then starts with Beane now back at square one. A new season looms and his best players have defected for the Yankees and other big money teams. He begs the owner for more money saying if he doesn’t get it, we become “a farm system for the Yankees.”

There is no money so he and his band of baseball experts begin to assemble a team with the money they have. They talk about possible players and debate everything from how many hits they had last season to the looks of his current girlfriend or wife. If she’s not attractive, the player “lacks confidence.”   Sensing this is going nowhere, Beane flies to Cleveland in an attempt to strike a deal for players with the GM of the Indians. Nothing works out, but while there he spots a young guy named Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). Brand whispers in the ears of the executives and shakes his head at the potential offers Beane has laid out, nixing every idea.

On his way out, he confronts Brand. ‘Why do they listen to you? Who are you?,’ he asks. “I’m nobody,” says Brand. After a bit more grilling, Beane finds out that Brand is a numbers guy who bows down to a particular numbers theory on the stats of baseball and it’s players. “Baseball thinking is medieval,” he tells Beane.

Later, he calls Brand, grilling him more on his theories and finally let’s him on the big news: “Pack your bags Pete. I just bought you from the Cleveland Indians.”

Beane becomes such a disciple of this theory, that he starts to alienate the baseball minds that have in the game for years. They start to hate him. They don’t believe in him or Brand (“Google Boy”), yelling, “You’re discounting what scouts have been doing for 150 years!”

“Adapt or die.”

The film has incredible performances all through it. Good for Hill to take on this role. He’s still carrying his humor with him but it’s from a real place and it’s great to see that he can hold his own with Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman (Coach Art Howe), by the way, plays a great dick; a guy who is only out for himself and refuses to budge and listen to Beane. Howe knows he’ll be out of a job at the end of the season and no way will he sacrifice a win for this lame theory.

Another thing I loved, the war room that is filled with grizzled baseball vets. It was stock full of some really good character actors and character faces.

But let’s face it, this film belongs to Brad Pitt. He owns this movie. There’s a scene where Pitt and Hill are jockeying for new players in their run to win 20 games and hopefully, the pennant, that is a master class in acting. It’s fast, funny, tense and when it’s over you are almost as exhausted as they are.

I can’t say enough good things about this movie. Will people see it? Who knows. No one saw Drive and that was another really good movie. Hopefully Pitt’s star power will bring people out to the theater this weekend.

I hope so because this film is worth the time.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

The Cast of ‘Mad Men’ on the Final Season and More
Though the AMC television series Mad Men might not carry the same cultural weight that it did a few years ago (splitting your final season over two years might do that to you), the second half of the show’s final season is expected to be full of powerful performances from its ensemble cast. With the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-ron-perlman-on-his-fathers.jpg
Watch: Ron Perlman on His Father’s Influence on His Early Career
Ron Perlman is a prolific actor, and he has also lent his distinctive voice to a number of projects in film and television — including the new animated film The Book of Life. One of the reasons that Perlman works so hard is not only because he loves being an actor, but because of what […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cate-blanchett-asks-graduating-s.jpg
Cate Blanchett Asks Graduating Students a Heavy Question: “What the hell can you do with an arts degree?”
“What the hell can you do with an arts degree?” Many actors ask themselves that when they find themselves struggling to make it in Hollywood while saddled with student loans. It was Cate Blanchett who posed that question recently to graduating students at Macquarie University in Sydney where she received an honorary doctorate degree. The […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/matthew-mcconaughey-rallies-his.jpg
Matthew McConaughey Rallies his Alma Mater Football Team to Victory with the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Chant
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey delivered a different kind of speech two weeks ago when he spoke with the Texas Longhorns football team after their close 20-17 loss to UCLA. The moment was a bit odd, but hilarious at the same time. Coach Charlie Strong was the one who invited the Dallas Buyers Club star to inspire the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-reveals-her-awkw.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn Reveals Her Awkward ‘Breaking Bad’ Audition Details
Though Breaking Bad was obviously a career highpoint for every actor involved, they all must move on to their next projects (except for the few who are involved in the Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul). This includes Anna Gunn, who portrayed Walter White’s wife Skyler on the award-winning series series. Gunn’s new series, the […]