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Movie Review – Moneyball (2011 – United States)
An uplifting film about the power of creative thought
There is an ancient Chinese saying: “Everyone believes in it once it is successful.” Those words resonate particularly strongly with anyone who has ever attempted to defy conventional wisdom, the tried and true, the status quo. Moneyball is a movie about and for those plucky souls who dare to not only think outside the box, but go a step further and put the box out with the recycling.
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It’s also based on the true story of the Oakland Athletics and their current General Manager and minority owner, Billy Beane. His groundbreaking approach to running a major league ball team brought upon him to approbation of the “everyone” referred to in the Chinese proverb, because right up until the moment it proves successful, the nay sayers will harshly criticize any plan that dares to be, well, ground breaking.
As such, Moneyball is a contagiously optimistic film and a sure cure for any case of the blahs. Much of the credit for that belongs to Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, both of whom deliver performances as nuanced as a breaking ball—they sneak up on you, giving us characters whose emotions are controlled yet palpable. Each has a frustration at their core—Pitt’s Beane had great talent but never reached his potential as a Major League player, and Hill’s Peter Brand is a classic under appreciated genius geekster. Both want to win, and are willing to take a path to success no one in baseball had seen until they showed them the way. They changed the game forever, proving that under-capitalized, small market teams could not only compete, but win.
What makes Moneyball such a good picture, however, is not the excellence of acting, direction and set design on display throughout, but the remarkable script by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, which makes the story told in Michael Lewis' 2003 book of the same name into something much more than a tale of practical economics. The film looks long and lovingly at baseball itself, and embraces its traditions even as its main characters turn them upside down.
Copyright Roberta Lee 2012, All rights reserved.
(I am an artist and the author of the Suburban Sprawl series of novels as well as two nonfiction books. Find out more about my work at RobertaLeeArt.com.)
Genre: Drama, comedy, biography
Running time: 2 hr. 13 min.
Directed By: Bennett Miller
Written By: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin
In Theaters: Sep 23, 2011 Wide
On DVD: Jan 10, 2012
Box Office: $75.6M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures
Brad Pitt - Billy Beane
Jonah Hill - Peter Brand
Philip Seymour Hoffman -Art Howe
Robin Wright - Sharon
Chris Pratt - Scott Hatteberg
Stephen Bishop - David Justice
Copyright © Roberta Lee 2012. All rights reserved.
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