‘Moneyball’: A Sports Movie For the Statistically Inclined
“Moneyball” is a rarity among sports movies: it is appealing and interesting for both sports fans and non-sports fans alike.
Even if you do not understand baseball or sports in general, it is not hard to feel the tension between protagonist Billy Beene and the others in the movie who doubt his radical new approach to baseball statistics.
Though the title may be confusing to some, “Moneyball” refers to an innovative way of looking at the game of baseball and its players, involving looking at player stats that are often ignored, that Billy Beane used to help the underfunded Oakland Athletics get to the post season. Beane’s strategy helped change the game of baseball and the story of it’s implementation is an interesting one.
The film, based on Michael Lewis’s 2003 book, “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” follows Beane from October 2001 through the 2002 baseball season, the first in which Beane used his “moneyball” strategy.
The movie details the triumphs and blunders of the A’s 2002 season. Who was signed, who was traded and how Beane’s strategy worked both on and off the field.
Being written in part by Aaron Sorkin, there are many shots and periods of silence and tension that are reminiscent of 2010’s “The Social Network,” which Sorkin also penned. The movie goes between present time and flashbacks to Beane’s past rather effectively and shows the parallels between Beane’s failed career as a player and his struggles as a manager.
The footage of the game and the tension between Beane and his detractors is broken up some by a plot line featuring Beane’s daughter. Seeing how Beane interacts with his daughter compared to with those involved in the game helps to humanize Beane and not make him such a rough character.
As Billy Beane, Brad Pitt is not the heartthrob people expect him to be. He is a rough but smart general manager of a baseball team. He is by no means ‘pretty’ in the film but is instead a toughened former baseball player turned General Manager of an undervalued franchise.
In a surprisingly dramatic role is funnyman, Jonah Hill, who is great as Beane’s slightly nerdy assistant. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is equally as amazing as the manager of the A’s who often clashes with Beane.
“Moneyball” is an amazing movie and likely a contender in the upcoming awards season. Its stunning shots of baseball prove not only that movies do not have to be in 3D to be spectacular but that baseball truly is an exciting game.
Image courtesy of thefilmstage.com