Film Review: Moneyball
09/29/2011 05:37AM ● Published by Wendy Sipple
Based on the book of the same name, Moneyball is about the Oakland A's general manager Billy Bean and his assistant GM Peter Brand (in real life his name is Paul DePodesta, the only person to not allow the moviemakers to use his real name) who used statistics in a new way of forming a baseball team. Having to find a way to make a cash strapped small market team competitive in the modern baseball era, Bean and Brand buck the old guard and do something new -- sign cheap unwanted players based on a their new mathematical statistic.
This movie takes three things that I have almost no interest in -- baseball, statistics, and business -- and somehow makes a compelling, interesting and, most of all, entertaining movie out of it. This is not your normal sports movie where they stage dramatic reenactments of games. In fact the players and the games themselves take a backseat to the front office workers. For the most part, the movie takes place in the dirty back rooms of the Oakland A’s stadium where the rooms don’t have windows. But it works in every way.
It helps that Moneyball was adapted by two of the best writers in Hollywood -- Steven Zallian and Aaron Sorkin. The pace of the movie is great, and the dialog is effortless. The writers knew just the right times to insert drama and comedy to propel the audience through to the end. Even more amazingly, they made two guys discussing baseball stats entertaining, even to people like me who have no interest in the subject.
Brad Pitt was excellent in the movie. Despite his mega star popularity I don’t think he gets enough credit for his acting ability. He is one of the best actors in the business without question. Moneyball is chalked full of great actors including Philip Seymour Hoffman who is actually underused as the manager Art Howe. Jonah Hill, in a more dramatic film than we are used to seeing him, is perfect in his supporting role as Peter Brand.
I love how the movie inserts its message with subtly and by not overwhelming the audience with sentimental imagery and dialog. Where the filmmakers decide to end the movie is spot on. Also the fact that the movie is based on true events keeps the story more along the lines of the original Rocky and prevents it from becoming too sappy or too clichéd. It hits all the right notes and just rings true.
Moneyball is a great movie for both people who appreciate baseball, and also for people who don’t care for it. Without question Moneyball is one of the best written movies of the year. It’s a rare movie that I walk away from the theater without a single negative thing to say about it, but this film is one of those times.
I would recommend Moneyball to anyone -- definitely one of the year’s best.
Films like Moneyball – Rocky, The Blind Side and We Are Marshall
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.