Sunday, November 27, 2011


Nope not even Brad Pitt can pull off the AARP Visor look
The film Moneyball is the true-ish story of Billy Bean, the general manager of the Oakland A's and his conversion to the Bill James school of baseball statistics. Bill James has long held that getting on base is the most important thing a player can do and it doesn't matter how he does it. Ruth and Bonds to name but two were just as valuable for their walks as their hits. Moneyball takes us back to the 2002 season when Oakland lost Jason Giambi to the Yankees and Johnny Damon to the Red Sox. To replace these stars Bean (Brad Pitt) and a statistician played by Jonah Hill decide to ignore their scouts and dive into the Bill James world. The film follows the sacred arc of baseball movies: 1) a bunch of misfits is assembled by a general manager who wants to give them all a second chance 2) they dont gel and initially they lose a lot of games 3) the manager/general manager yells at them 4) they start to turn the season around 5) they win a lot of games 6) there is a climactic final game which they win (The Natural, Major League) or lose (Eight Men Out, The Bad News Bears). 
Despite strictly following this sacred arc or iron law of baseball films I really enjoyed Moneyball. Brad Pitt has decided to age like Robert Redford, that is, rapidly and all at once but its added character to his face and as in The Tree Of Life he turns in a first rate, thoughtful performance here. Jonah Hill is great as the soft spoken geek, Philip Seymour Hoffman is his usual fantastic self, Kerris Dorsey the girl playing Pitt's daughter, is charming and does a nice job with the song over the end credits. Spike Joynze shows up in a funny cameo as Robin Wright's new husband and as a little nod to Bull Durham they even cast Arliss Howard as John Henry at the end. 
Fine acting, a tight script, both Giambi brothers as villains, lots of baseball, what more do you want in a movie?