Moneyball is a baseball movie. Unlike other baseball movies this one has very little baseball on screen. It is about the business end of the game. Where the money comes into play as opposed to the game itself.
Brad Pitt portrays Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s General Manager. His team has very little money. When they scrape a little together and win a few games the big money teams of the East Coast step up and steal away their star players by writing checks that make the national debt seem a pittance. As BB, Pitt does a masterful job and was paid more than a pittance and he is worth every penny of it.
Also in the cast is Jonah Hill as a nerdy guy from Yale who majored in economics but seems to know a lot about the game. Up to now JH has mostly played in teen farces where he got to be the overweight pimply nerd who can’t get a date. Like Pitt he does a home run of a job. Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman is the poor head coach who has to put up with bad players and stupid management in order to keep his job.
The film is based on a true story about how BB and his pal the nerd decided to remake the team using statistics and probabilities to transform a group of cast off rejects into a competitive baseball team. Their success makes for a well made, if a little long, look at the side of baseball you never get to see. The meetings, the heart-break of being traded and the rampages over losing are on screen instead of curve balls and steals.
The real Billy B. played pro ball with limited success and has managed the A’s for 10 years also with limited success. Other teams, with low budgets, started using his business and management model and have had more success in the last few years.
As entertainment MB is a winner. It’s two hours plus; the running time could be shortened with the elimination of a couple of sub-plots but the film is both witty and compelling. Oscar time will show if it is a homer or only a triple.
Rated 3.5 out of 4.0 RBI’s. It’s a technical term. It shows I know a lot about baseball although I am not sure what it means.