Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Moneyball (2011) [PG-13] *****

Based on a non-fiction book by Michael Lewis, this is the story of the historic 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team, the team that won a record-setting 20 consecutive games. The previous season the Athletics had lost the league championship series, and also had lost three of their star players to other clubs. So, late in 2001, general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) began the process of rebuilding.

Faced with budget constraints, Billy recruited statistician Peter Brand who promoted the theory that computer-generated, statistical analysis could discover a player's true value to the team, and that a winning team could be recruited and assembled on a shoestring budget, from players who had incomplete, but complementary, skill sets, eliminating the need to participate in a bidding contest for overpriced star ballplayers. Despite serious doubts among the Athletics' coaching staff, Billy recruited his new players, and although it took several months for the team to mesh, eventually Brand's theory was proven correct.

Ironically, Billy realized that, had he had the benefit of Brand's statistical analysis twenty-two years earlier, he would have known that he was overrated as a high school ballplayer, and he would have taken the Stanford scholarship rather than turning professional. As it turned out, he never lived up to his potential, bounced around the major leagues, and eventually turned to scouting and coaching. Moneyball features a compelling performance by Brad Pitt, and an outstanding supporting cast including Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Athletics' field manager Art Howe, Robin Wright as Billy's ex-wife Sharon, and Kerris Dorsey as Billy and Sharon's preteen daughter. If you enjoy baseball-themed films such as Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game, Mr. Baseball, The Natural, and The Rookie, then you will probably enjoy Moneyball

Labels: baseball, biography, drama 
Internet Movie Database 
Metacritic 87/100 
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=80, viewers=80)  
Wikipedia: (caution: spoilers)
Kerris Dorsey sings "The Show" from "Moneyball"

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