Moneyball is a 2011 drama film directed by Bennett Miller, starring Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill, Chris Pratt and Casey Bond. It is based on the true story of Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, and his attempt to create a competitive team despite Oakland's unfavorable financial situation. Hands down one of the best movies I have seen this year, I can almost smell the Oscar nominations rolling in. And I'm not just saying this because I'm a die-hard A's fan (ok maybe a little bit), but this film is truly well worth the ticket price.
Based on a true story, Moneyball is a movie for anybody who has ever dreamed of taking on the system. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A's and the guy who assembles the team, who has an epiphany: all of baseball's conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. The onetime jock teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs, and win games. It's more than baseball, it's a revolution - one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he's tearing out the heart and soul of the game.
To call this film wonderfully written seems almost like an understatement, the script has a flow you long to see in films these days that showcases the absolute finesse of the writers. The movie is done in such a way as any person, baseball fan or not, can come into the movie and get everything that's going on behind the scenes of a MLB clubhouse. It's pure, solid entertainment. Pitt blew me away with his portrayal of General Manager Billy Beane, this was probably one of the least showy characters of his career but he shot this one out of the park with believable charisma.
You'll laugh quite a bit at Moneyball, snickering at the absurdity of the situations and the often more ridiculous responses. The film inspires with a message that people who get picked last are sometimes worth a second look, and taking a different approach to something when everyone else has been doing it the same way for years can work in your favor. Personal regrets and the intense pressures of professional sports collide in Moneyball making it one heck of a ride. For all the concentration on numbers, and there is a bit, the film never loses sight of the fact that this is a game of people. It shows the management making connections with players and then the pain of having to let them go, as well as the unique issues of how you deal with a failing ballpark that has to share use with an NFL team.
Shot at the Oakland A's stadium in The Yay Area (or Bay Area for those that don't know) I throughly enjoyed seeing my town on the big screen and major love being given to a team most may laugh at. It sure isn't easy being an A's fan but I've never been one to take the easy road. Adding to the film was an equally wonderful music score that flowed with the overall feel of the film. I have only one little nit pick...towards the end where a few of the game scenes take place they almost get mashed together into one montage, and as someone who was around and invested at that time I would have liked to see more dedication to how the A's achieved what they did. That being said this film is a must see!
Getting 4 and 1/2 Oakland A's Sheep