I am not a follower of baseball, although I followed last seasons home town events with interest with the Giants, even watching the final of the World Series for the first time. Despite my rudimentary knowledge of the game, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
Moneyball tells of how Billy Beane, the Oakland A's general manager played by Brad Pitt, faced with limited resources, and losing some of his star players to the Yankees hires a Yale economics graduate and statistician played by Jonah Hill, and devises a system for buying undervalued players to replace the likes of Giambi, by looking at players in new ways.
It's a calculated risk that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, and met with much resistance on the field, within the club, and from the media. Suffice to say that previous methods of picking though amusing were highly dubious.
"He has an ugly girlfriend."
"What does that mean?"
"Ugly girlfriend means he has no confidence."
Memorable movie lines:
"The problem we're trying to solve is that there are rich teams, and there are poor teams. Then there's 50 feet of crap. And then there's us. It's an unfair game."
"I hate losing. I hate losing more than I love winning."
The screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin who created West Wing and won the Best Screenplay Oscar for The Social Network, and slides comfortably home with this effort.
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the unhappy team coach with whom Beane bumps heads. Robin Wright Penn plays his ex wife, now with a new man who does not follow baseball.
The character of Beane as depicted by Pitt seems somewhat oddball, so one wonders if Beane is really this odd, or if the screenwriter is imposing his own don't explain philosophy on the character. Brad loves to play with the eccentricites of his characters, whether it's outright craziness as in Twelve Monkeys or a thick accent as in Snatch. This really makes the movie, as Brad gives one of his best performances.
Even though I don't follow baseball, I do love a great story, and I can relate as a soccer follower, because we share a passion for a game, and can understand the frustration of supporting a team that has to make sacrifices of favorite players, and has less money than the big teams to compete for the same trophies.
So, if you're like me and don't usually follow baseball, I think you will like the movie because it's a good story, and you will love the quirkiness of the characters and their relationships. In the movie Beane has to make a very big decision, so there was an emotional bit where Beane is in the car by himself at the end, which I liked. I loved the relationhip with his daughter, and the overall shenanigans as he bumps heads with the other characters. I think Brad Pitt will probably gt an Oscar nomination for his prformance.
If you do follow baseball, you will probably enjoy it even more than I did.
Moneyball gained six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Brad Pitt, and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill.
I think you will enjoy it, and I hope this was helpful.
on March 26, 2014
“Not winning the last game makes no difference if you’ve won twenty”that was one good
line from this movie,I can’t believe I enjoy this movie this much,to see how the baseball world
works,I guess some people see these guys (the players)and think all the antics they do on and
off the field, just comes from them being brats maybe sometimes,but after seeing this I have a
totally different perspective on the way the baseball world works,it’s not easy getting fired from your
job every month or year,even if you make 30 Million,I’ve hold from watching this for a long time and
now that I’ve seen it,some parts of the movie was very emotional for me,it’s really well played out to
the point of giving the viewer the cut-throat world of baseball, “Money-Ball” work on so many levels,
especially “Jonah Hill” which I love in this movie,he played the young just out of Yale-educated economist
so good,I almost didn’t see Jonah Hill as the actor that he is,it was that good, I mean “Brad Pitt” is Brad Pitt
he’s done way more movies than J.Hill,sometimes I caught Brad looking at the camera to read his lines,
Very Good Movie...
Moneyball (Biography, Drama, Sport)
Directed by Bennett Miller
Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Sony Pictures 2011 133 min Rated PG-13 Released Jan 10, 2012
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, English SDH, French, Spanish
50GB Blu-ray Disc
The Film 4.5/5
Moneyball is a refreshing change from the usual type of sports movie. How many times have you watched the story of an underdog triumphing? How many movies introduce us to a controversial coach who is initially resented because of his methods and then revered by all when he succeeds? This story is certainly a celebration of success, but not in the typical sense. In fact, it asks us to define success.
It's based on the true story of how General Manager Billy Beane (Pitt) employed a new way of thinking in order to enable the Oakland Athletics to compete with the likes of the New York Yankees. He did this with just one third of the payroll of that available to the Yankees.The opening scenes show Beane negotiating with the team's owner. He knows that his payroll won't jump from $40 million to $120 million, but can he get a little more money to help the A's compete?
The first thing I was taught in my college marketing class was to define the problem. How you can analyze a problem if you don't know what it is? You won't solve anything until you know what you are trying to do. I find that I use the same technique in all areas of my life. If a friend needs help or advice, I ask a series of questions so that they can eventually define their own problem. It works. That's what Beane did at the start of Moneyball.
Beane's first move was to hire Peter Brand (Hill); an economics graduate from Yale. Instead of relying on traditional scouting methods, Brand used statistical analysis to determine the true value of baseball players. Instead of paying huge salaries based on a player's potential, he sought out value by considering players who were believed to have flaws. These might include injury or advancing age. Beane collaborated with Brand to assemble a team on a low budget. Departing stars were replaced with players who were a good fit for the team.
I have a strong connection with the film because the way Beane and Brand think reminds me of how I manage my Fantasy Football teams. Which players are good value because age or injury has changed people's perceptions of their true ability? How much are this year's top draft picks really going to be worth when compared to proven veterans? I make those determinations every year when I build my team. Beane and Brand think like I do, and we tend to like people who are similar to ourselves.
I rely on my own way of thinking rather than following conventional wisdom. That doesn't mean I will ignore everything, but I will question the opinions of others and decide whether I agree. It's something I have done my entire life and one reason I review movies. You might not agree with me, and that's absolutely fine, but at least you know that I'm not just repeating the opinions of others. Take a look at my thoughts on The Artist if you want an example.
Groupthink is a dangerous thing. I encounter it every year in my Fantasy Football leagues when the rankings of the "experts" all start to look the same. If you go against the grain, you'll have to be ready to defend your view. As a result, people are afraid to say what they really think or act on their true instincts. It also happens in the workplace. In fact, you can find examples of groupthink every day if you seek out opinions on the Internet on just about any topic.
Back to Moneyball.
Look at how Beane's scouts present their opinions. How many are really their opinions, and how many of them fail to think outside the established framework?
The dialogue is intelligent and full of humor. Some of the scenes, such as Beane pursuing trades with other teams, are quite exciting. Pitt and Hill work well together and are in most of the scenes. One source of conflict is Coach Art Howe (Hoffman). He's concerned about his own situation and future in the sport, and is reluctant to adopt Beane's desired strategy.
I enjoyed Moneyball because it was different and the story was told in an appealing way. I won't ruin the ending for those who don't remember whether the A's won the World Series, but I will say that the story doesn't show a huge amount of baseball action. This is about the people behind the scenes and the way in which they affected the sport.
Rarely has 133 minutes of Dialogue been so interesting. The time passes almost too quickly. I've seen Moneyball about six times since buying it in January, so there's no need to wonder about the replay value. From my ramblings in this review, you can see how thought-provoking the story can be.
One final point I would like to consider is Beane's decision at the end of the film.
Most of us are trained at a very young age to chase success and be the best we can be. Success is usually defined as having a good job, a great salary, expensive and prestigious possessions, and a traditional family. If we reach any of our goals, we set new ones and want more. We always want more.
Beane's final decision mirrored his thoughts on baseball management. He considered what would truly make him happy. I don't see people thinking along those lines very often. We are trapped by the expectations of society. It's groupthink on a grand scale. Ask your friends what they dream of. How many mention money? That's the wrong answer. Money is a tool that helps you live the way you want to live, but it's not the overall goal. The goal is different for everyone and should be what makes you happy. Does your lifestyle actually allow you time to enjoy that happiness?
Would you have made the same choice as Beane?
Video Quality 4/5
Sony's presentation looks great for the most part. There's plenty of detail and depth. Colors appear accurate and well-defined. The only minor fault is the presence of noise in many of the scenes. It doesn't ruin the experience, but it's hard to dismiss it completely. The movie uses a few TV shots and some archive footage, and that's clearly of lesser quality than the majority of the presentation. That's purely intentional and no fault in the transfer.
Audio Quality 4/5
This is a story which relies more on dialog than anything else. It rises to the occasion when required, such as during baseball games, but it's fairly subtle overall.
Special Features 3/5
The extras are in full HD and offer just the right amount of content for those wanting more information:
Blooper: Brad Loses It (3:11) - A scene in which Pitt can't stop laughing at one of the lines delivered by Hill.
Deleted Scenes (12:05) - Three extended scenes which didn't make the final cut in their entirety.
Billy Beane: Re-Inventing the Game (16:02) - A discussion about Beane's impact on the game.
Drafting the Team (20:51) - A feature explaining the reasoning behind some of the casting decisions.
Adapting Moneyball (16:33) - Showing how Michael Lewis's book was adapted for the big screen.
MLB 12 The Show Preview Trailer (1:21)
Overall score 4.5/5
This movie is based on a true story and is a must see for baseball fans, especially those who play fantasy ball. After losing his top ballplayers, Oakland A's GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) finds himself a computer nerd (Jonah Hill) to pick players for him, players that are cheap. They sign a catcher (Chris Pratt) who can't throw, an outfielder (Nick Porrazzo) with an iron glove, a "has been" with bad knees (Stephen Bishop), and a pitcher (Casey Bond) who throws underhand. The stat they use to obtain talent in the film is primarily "On Base Percentage" (OBP).
Philip Seymour Hoffman, nearly unrecognizable with his head shaved, plays Art Howe the field manager of the team. The movie is interrupted by flash backs in Billy Beane's baseball player career, and his present home life. Art Howe doesn't like the team he has been dealt and fails to manager the team according to the expectations of Billy Beane. This is primarily the fault of Billy Beane who failed to bring in Art Howe on the decision making process to obtain the new players. Howe looks at them as being defective and unusable.
A person can watch and enjoy "Secretariat" without being a horse race fan. This movie is different in that it incorporates a lot of baseball jargon. It attempts to have universal appeal, but I would suspect non-fans might lose interest. If your girl friend is not a baseball fan, you might first wean her in with that Dru Barrymore Redsox Movie.
As an avid professional and amateur sports fan, I have learned over the years to pay increasing attention to statistics as another valuable tool in assessing the strength of my teams. Though I have never felt inclined to join a fantasy league or be part of a sports pool, I still see the need to check the numbers out as to the positional strength of key players as they match up going into a new season. If it is the health and shape of a starting or relief pitcher in baseball, wins, starts, ERA, strikeouts, time on the DL, walks and home-runs yielded should tell me a lot if these stats are compiled over three or four years. Then, on the other hand, they may not because, in and of themselves, they fail to disclose a fatal flaw such as being unable to get right-handed hitters out on full counts. It was Billy Beane's overachieving Oakland Athletics at the turn of the 21st century that led the way in using a broad range of statistics to formulate winning teams. This tool has become the great equalizer for small-market teams to be competitive for new and untapped talent. Simply going out and buying championship teams like the Yankees doesn't cut it any more. In the post-steroid age, MLB teams are now adopting a more sophisticated analytical approach to assessing what meets their immediate point of need. The free-agent market, while still lucrative to a very few ball players and teams, isn't the way to grow success. In football, I notice the Packers make a big deal about building the team from scratch without entering free-agency for overpriced players. The secret is to work within your player personnel budget and develop players who are teachable, trainable, and contributing to the overall welfare of the team on the court, field, or ice. Knowledge garnered from the careful and thoroughly compiled facts has been shown to be scientifically reliable than gut instincts alone when it comes to putting winning teams together. I strongly advise one read the book before taking on the movie because, as usual, there is some helpful statistical detail in the print.
Being a lifelong A's fan I was fascinated exactly as to how Brad Pitt (oops, Brapi playing A's general manager Billy Beane) rebuilt the team in 2002 and got them back into the playoffs after losing three "key" players (including 2000 American League Most Valuable Player Jason Giambi) to free agency from the 2001 playoff team. To do this Beane employs a sabremetric (basically, a unique statistical method of evaluating player performance) strategy dubbed "Moneyball" by the author Michael Lewis who wrote the book of the same name that the movie is based on.
Now, if this sounds too much like fantasy baseball, it kind of is. So, if you're not a sports fan who is interested in the behind-the-scenes machinations of how players are drafted, how trades are made and the inner workings of a baseball franchise, this is probably not the movie for you. There are long stretches where it seems like a lot of talking is going on and not much game action.
The actual game footage spliced into the movie footage works great. It does capture the thrill of the A's record 20 consecutive wins in a row during that season. Yet, like the book, the movie overlooks two major factors that have nothing to do with this Moneyball approach. Firstly, although ex-Giants shortstop Royce Clayton plays that season's AL MVP Miguel Tejada (a holdover from the 2001 team) he's barely a footnote in the story onscreen. Secondly, the A's starting pitching trio of Mike Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson were huge in the A's 2000-2003 playoff run. In fact, they were arguably one of the best starting pitching staffs in recent MLB history. You do see Hudson a bit in the movie, but the other two are not mentioned at all.
Also, there was a lot of artistic license as Jeremy Giambi and Carlos Pena end up being traded on the same day for dramatic effect. The reality was Giambi was traded on May 22, 2002, and Pena was dealt July 5. Also, when Pitt discusses picking up submarining relief pitcher Chad Bradford at his meeting with the team's scouts prior to the 2002, I half expected some scout to tell Pitt that Bradford was already on the team. The A's acquired him in 2001.
The fictional Ivy League educated stat wizard Peter Brand (played brilliantly low key by Jonah Hill) in the movies joins the A's in 2002 as Beane's righthand man. The real-life Paul DePodesta, whom the fictional Brand is based on, actually joined the A's in 1999.
Also, the movie seems a bit unfair to A's manager Art Howe (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman). Howe led the A's to three straight playoff appearances. He may have been old school, but did he really butt heads that much with Beane over lineup choices? Maybe he did but how about giving Howe a bit of credit for that 20-game winning streak as well? I'm pretty sure some of his managerial moves helped that streak along.
OK, that's the nitpicking as an A's fan. Moneyball is still a terrific movie in showing how a small market team with a very low budget could compete with the likes of the deep pockets New York Yankees et al. The search for undervalued players was spot on as was how Beane faced off against the old school style of scouting and evaluating players. The hero of the movie, Scott Hatteburg, a catcher turned first baseman, did prove to be of good value and a bargain to boot. Yet like the book, the movie makes too much of a case that the Moneyball way of finding undervalued assets led to the A's success in 2002. Moneyball was just part of the winning formula as having an MVP (Tejada) and those three great pitchers were major factors as well in the streak. Still it's pretty compelling to watch the streak unfold on the big screen.
The extras have a terrific behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was made with Major League Baseball's full cooperation in helping the baseball scenes in actual MLB ballparks look as real as possible right down to the era's uniforms. There's also a good discussion on the whole Moneyball theory with Billy Beane adding his own insight.
Lastly, for trivia buffs, you have got to love the framed Clash posters in Beane's office. Who wouldn't love a baseball GM into punk rock from his era?
on April 2, 2012
It's a movie about being passionate about something and never letting money get in the way of that. Brad Pitt plays his role flawlessly and Jonah Hill delivers, making the 2 a dynamic team. The Oakland's Athletics, was a team who had a disadvantaged revenue situation hovering over their heads for years as their General Manager, Billy Beane(Brad Pitt) fought for a team that he couldn't afford. He is soon introduced to Peter Brand(Jonah Hill), a Harvard Graduate who knows numbers, and the strategics of baseball better than anyone on the field. Brand, offers insight on how to take a losing team to the top with a mixture of players who weren't overall good players, but players who were strong in the areas needed to stay on top. After a winning streak of games, the Oakland A's are back in the game and seen as a strong team amongst it's peers.
on September 20, 2014
Excellent movie with great acting. Probably one of my favorite Brad Pitt movies and the story line itself is excellent. Movie flows well with lots of plot. Even if you don't like baseball it is an interesting concept of how professional sports work.
"Moneyball" , with its front office focus is a baseball movie with a different twist. It is the story of Oakland Athletics' General Manager, Billy Beane, who employs a radical economics based system of player selection to lead his small market team in search of the Holy Grail of World Series glory. The story is intriguing and, to a large extent, true. The acting is superb. Brad Pitt plays the role of Beane well and Jonah Hill is convincing as the Yale-educated economist who crunches the numbers to select the players that can bring wins to Oakland. Enjoy the movie and, at its end, you will want Billy to get that team that does not lose its last game
on January 27, 2014
I really enjoyed this film. Always love a good baseball story. Jonah Hill was solid and Brad Pitt did his thing. The essenceof a great GM is conviction and grit.