Movie Time: Moneyball

Moneyball is based on the true story of how the Oakland A’s general Manager Billy Beane, used a system based statistics to build up losing baseball team.

 

Moneyball is based on the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis with a screenplay by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin and story by Stan Chervin. Bennett Miller directed this film, which features Brad Pitt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Jonah Hill.

image from Wikipedia

 

She Said

I like baseball. When I was a little girl I used to watch Brave’s games and eat Planter’s peanuts with my Pappaw and I thought that was a lot of fun.  And a few years ago I discovered how much fun going to minor league games could be. It’s really a lot of fun to go to those. When my husband told me he wanted to try Moneyball and I found out it was supposed to be good and it wasn’t dirty I said okay. When he said that it was about baseball I started to get excited.

But he was wrong, because Moneyball isn’t really just a baseball movie. It’s a movie about statistics. I’m sorry, I know some people will argue with me and I would agree to a point that it is a baseball movie. But if you are looking for seeing a lot of great baseball action and something exciting this isn’t the movie for you.  If you want to see a very slooooooow movie that has a really interesting premise and doesn’t deliver anything very effectual until the last scene then you might love this movie.

I love movies based on true stories. The idea that someone decided that they could piece together a winning baseball team with a little budget is cool. And the fact that he wanted to use a theory of to accomplish it- even cooler. It’s just so slow. There’s a lot of quiet and a lot of boring imagery of Brad Pitt working out and driving.  I just kept wishing something would happen. I fell asleep twice and when I awoke I didn’t asked if anything had happened I hadn’t missed much.

I don’t like Brad as an actor.  I don’t think Brad Pitt is attractive.  I realize that these two statements cause an outrage among many that I know. I’m sorry I don’t think that he’s a good actor. He’s always so dead behind the eyes. As slow as this movie is I feel that it has the added burden of dealing with Brad Pitt’s dead eyes, too. I thought that Jonah Hill was excellent. He provided some real depth and most of the levity. I really liked his character and his performance. And Phillip Seymour Hoffman who is usually awesome did a fine job, too. He wasn’t awesome but he was adequate, some of that may have been how boring his character was or maybe he was supposed to be a little flat. It was a fine, not a wow performance.

I have one huge complaint about this movie and that is it’s prevalent use of the song “The Show” by Lenka. I love this song! I’ve loved it since I got a free on ITunes as preview single years ago. This song came out in 2008, and this movie takes place in 2002. This song has been used in multiple commercials and shows so it’s just hard to take a song that has been popular in recent years and act like it’s ten years old. Of course they also made some reference to texting that seemed very today and not very ten years ago so anachronism was definitely a problem of this movie.

I didn’t like it. I wouldn’t watch it. I appreciate that it wasn’t filthy and full of sex and bad language. For a mainstream movie it was pretty tame. It was just slow and couldn’t ever deliver action to match how cool the concept was. I gave a few half smiles, I fell asleep twice, I laughed twice and I had one big wow moment. Not a great night at the movies for me but I could see how diehard sports or Brad Pitt fans might like it.

Rating 2

 

He Said

It is a huge victory for everyone involved the Moneyball is up for so many awards.  It’s actually a huge victory that this movie was even made, but was it worth it?  In Moneyball, a boring wonkish book devoted to statistics that are obscure even in a sport that revolves around statistics, is turned into a largely boring movie that only baseball super fans can truly love.

I just couldn’t enjoy this movie.  That says a lot about it.  My dad is a huge baseball fan, and my minor in college was economics, so I was very excited about seeing this movie.  Unfortunately, my love of sabermetrics wasn’t enough to save this movie.

There are definitely some bright spots.  Jonah Hill is scene stealing and delightful in this movie.  His passion for what analytics and sports is really what’s at the heart of this movie.  He brilliantly shows the inner tension of knowing the right answer, but not wanting to speak up for fear of being wrong, or worse, ignored.

Brad Pitt does what he does best in this movie.  And that’s the problem for me.  He mopes when things are down, and when things are going his way he spotlights a rakish confidence.  At the end of the day, it’s just too by the numbers.  You get exactly what you expect from Brad Pitt, nothing less, but nothing more either.

The biggest problem with this movie is the writing.  Maybe it suffers from having had too many writers and too many rewrites, but the end result is slow and un-engaging.  The writer that gets the most credit is Aaron Sorkin, of West Wing fame.  I loved West Wing, but have found it hard to connect to anything he has written that isn’t political.  The writing is at it’s best when there are zingers bouncing back and forth between people who think in that moment they’re the smartest person in the room.  Unfortunately, this kind of high paced drama is featured very little.  Instead we get a lot of scenes where Billy is trying to avoid watching the games. My biggest gripe with the entire film is entirely a writing slip up.  This movie is about the 2002 season of the Oakland A’s, but for some reason it prominently features a song that wasn’t released until 2008.  Pretty big thing to forget in my mind.  Overall, very boring.

 

RJ rating 3.5

 

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