Maybe twenty minutes too long, but otherwise manages to make a story that is, at its heart, about statistics filmic in a way that is a deeply impressive piece of writing.
I thought it was a really nice little picture. “Not going to blow anyone away,” I said, “but definitely well-done enough to recommend at the very least.” Then I saw that it is somehow an Oscar frontrunner and I went WHAAAAAAAAAAA?
Written by Aaron Sorkin, who is pretty good about that sort of thing. It’s an interesting prestige picture and, while I usually hate Jonah Hill, this is basically the only time I’ve seen him used properly (MegaMind doesn’t count). I got my moneys worth out of it.
It isn’t without flaw; in my opinion, Pitt and Hill are made to be seen to be acting counter-productively a lot. We’re meant to regard the crusty old guard of scouts and coaches as ornery, ignorant, and set in their ways, but Pitt and Hill spend a lot of time insulting them when they aren’t trying to smash them apart with metaphorical hammers, and almost no time trying to sell themselves and their technique. This generated a lot of unintentional sympathy for, say, Dave Bean (Coach Dave) for having been thrown into the deep end without instructions on how to swim.
But for that, it was an excellent little picture. I respect Pitt for taking the time to get it made and me and my theatre-going dollars will look with favor upon future endeavors of this sort even if they don’t seem immediately interesting.
I got a question: why was this movie made? I read the book, and I know that Billy Beane’s approach changed the way front offices saw the game . . . but where’s the climax? The Athletics didn’t win a World Series in the past decade . . . not since 1989. You gotta admit . . . Beane probably gets a kick out of getting portrayed by Brad Freaking Pitt.
The climax is technically when they have that 20-game winning streak, which is ironic on account of that’s a wildly improbable outlier that proves absolutely nothing and would, under the moneyball model, be disregarded. Although without it the story would become nearly unfilmable, so… but as far as traditional storytelling technique goes, that’s the climax right there. Everything after is falling action to denouement.
As for why it was made, as far as I know a few high-profile people (Brad Pitt among them) thought it would be a worthwhile project, got a very talented pair of writers to produce a script, and shot it very cheaply.
“while I usually hate Jonah Hill, this is basically the only time I’ve seen him used properly”
Have you seen Cyrus?
This was possibly the first Aaron Sorkin script that would’ve been better with *more* exposition. It assumes a lot of familiarity with baseball and baseball statistics.
I loved the book, not the movie
I concur with Jason. Why not a movie about the early ’70’s or ’89 team?
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