Movie Review: Moneyball Hits A Homerun

Posted on November 1, 2011 by

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By Joseph Nawn

In 2001, the Oakland Athletics lost to the New York Yankees in the first round of the post season. Between this devastating loss and the start of the 2002 regular season, the Oakland Athletics lost their three best players to free agency. General Manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) needed a way to still have a competitive team without his three key players despite having the lowest salaried team in baseball. He finds his solution in the saber metric theories of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) and this is Moneyball.

The biographical film adaption of Michael Lewis’ book of the same name exceeded my expectations to say the least. Director Bennett Miller has only directed a few films in his career but he seems to have done well for himself since his last film was the Academy Award Winning film Capote. It has intrigued me even further to want to see the few other movies that he has done. Virtually every aspect from a directing standpoint was perfect.

Bennett was faced with a challenge for this movie because it couldn’t really fall into your typical sports film formula. The film instead looks at things from the General Manager’s standpoint, the man making the trades, and what happens behind the scenes of the team on the field, as opposed to the usual sports films that concentrate more so on the players. The movie is not all fun and games, however, and is for the most part a very melancholy film. Rest assured, however, that when you are watching Miller’s vision on the screen you will enjoy it whether you went into the theater as a sports fan or not.

I’m not going to lie, when I heard that Brad Pitt was going to be in a sports movie with a director I’ve never heard of I began to think that he was beginning his downward spiral like Robert Deniro did when he began acting in films like Meet The Fockers” as opposed to the solid-script movies he was usually in like Goodfellas, Casino, or Taxi Driver. However, I put my faith in Pitt’s great selection of roles and alas my faith was not ill placed. Pitt gives a performance that keeps you wanting more every second and he couldn’t have had a better co-star than Jonah Hill. This was the first drama that I had seen the “chubby kid” from Superbad in and his performance of the shy Yale graduate Peter Brand shows that he can be in the same league as Pitt when it comes to dramatic acting.

The film’s score is done by Mychael Danna, albeit you probably are more familiar with his brother, Jeff’s work, (in scored films like The Boondock Saints, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Leaves Of Grass). Danna uses a very indie approach to a sports film which gives it this great, serious, more dramatic feel on screen. In other words the soundtrack is actually worth buying.

All in all, if I were to rate this movie on a scale of one to five, I’d have to give it a 4. Everything from the cinematography, to the score, to the acting, to the directing, to even the film editing was perfect. Although, I wouldn’t classify this film as a cinematic masterpiece like very few films are, I would not be at all surprised if this film was remembered as one of the great sports films of all time. In my opinion, it ranks up there with other great films like Rudy, Remember The Titans and The Sandlot. By the end of the film you’ll agree with Billy Beane when he says, “It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball.”

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