All the buzz down at the cineplex this weekend has been about the new Brad Pitt driven vehicle, "Moneyball." I asked theatre-goers, much like myself, if a sports movie that's not really based on the actual game, could work as a film. Could it? As I perused the extremely long line to get into the first showing I realized that anything Brad Pitt puts his stamp on is at the very least going to generate interest, and at the very most going to generate boat-loads of income... Once again, Brad Pitt does not disappoint.
"Moneyball" is modeled from a book written by Bill James about forming a baseball team based on statistics alone.
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the Oakland A's general manager back in the early 2000's. He is trying to find a way of putting a highly competitive baseball team on the field while working with measly player salary limits. Let me give you some numbers: The A's player salary limit that year was roughly 38 million. The Yankee's (I HATE THE YANKEES!) players' salary that year was roughly 114 million dollars. Beane realizes that he has to go about this another way to be competitive with the big boys, so he hires Peter Brand.
Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) is a young Yale graduate who is great with numbers and statistics. He teaches Billy Beane that players in the MLB are extremely undervalued and are just left out in the scrap heap for anyone to grab at cheap money. Beane goes "all in" on Brand's philosophy and forms a team based on stats alone (the major statistic being "on-base percentage", or OBP). Other big wigs in baseball don't like this philosophy because it seems to undermine the jobs of baseball scouts.
Now you'd think a movie about numbers could get boring pretty quickly, but it doesn't. The story flows and the acting is very good. One major reason Brad Pitt films work are because he's cool to guys, and he's hot to chicks. That's what puts butts in those seats at the theatre! (No diss to Jonah Hill, but come on, he's Brad Pitt!!!)
The thing I loved about this movie is that I got to see many baseball players that I knew from our beloved "Soxies." Scott Hatteberg, Chad Bradford, Jeremy Giambi and Kevin "YOUUUUUUUK" Youkilis are just a few (note: they are played by other actors).
The thing I didn't like about this movie was, they were showing a lot of the games that I lost some serious money on (note: I was a big-time gambler back in the day).
If I had to "baseball cliche" this movie for you, I would have to say, "This film hits a homerun!" Way to go Brad Pitt, you got another winner on your hands... Can his life get any better?
Matty W. Kelley - Norwood Patch, reporting.