Sony Pictures [United States],
Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Stephen Bishop, Reed Diamond, Brent Jennings, Ken Medlock, Tammy Blanchard, Glenn Morshower, Kathryn Morris
This is the true story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) general manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team in 2002 when he was faced with the lowest pool of money in professional baseball, but expected to put together a team. He met young college grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) and immediately hired him when he was told his theory of how to put together a team on a budget. Facing harsh criticism, both from the insiders of baseball, and from the fans and media, they used a computer model to develop a team of under-rated players that they could afford, and in the process had a shot at securing the longest winning streak in baseball, after a lot of resistance, especially from manager Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman).
If you are a baseball fan, then you have to see this film! I have been waiting for quite a while to see it. This is a true story, and it’s a typical sports amazing achievement film, but it’s a really good look into baseball, and the problems of the “have-not” teams. Baseball has always had a serious problem, which I think is the cause of their great fall from grace as “America’s National Game”. Baseball never figured out how to even the field, with a couple teams from HUGE cities with a giant payroll competing with tiny teams that love the sport, but have a fraction of the money to spend. I spent my childhood as a Pirates fan, but got really tired of one of the greatest farm systems finding all the superstars and developing them for the Yankees, and a couple other big teams that always stole them. The few successful years they had was due to the great scouts and farm system finding excellent players for a year or two until someone with deep pockets would take them away.
This movie is the story of a system that reminded me a lot of horse racing. The very best horse handicapper is the public. The favorite wins way more than it loses. Sure bets at 6-5 and less go off every day. In order to be successful in the horse racing business, it’s finding the horses that are undervalued and underrated. You have to study hard, and find that one or two races a day where there is a horse with a decent chance to win that somehow people have overlooked. That’s the secret. Well, the same is true with baseball. Some of the players are undervalued and underrated, and this mathematical formula helped to take all the emotion out of it. (This guy has a funny swing, or the way he throws the ball looks off, or he looks like a doofus), and uses the stats and rates him based upon things the other teams never looked at. It also requires a carnival barkers skill at scamming the other teams to make them think you’re doing them a favor by taking their unwanted players.
Brad Pitt did an excellent job in this movie. This is a perfect role for him, and I think he pulled it off. I know Jonah Hill was also very proud of this role as well. He played a very serious dramatic role, and got to show off his new svelte physique. Not only did he pull off a serious role, (no Superbad nonsense here at all), but he did an excellent job. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is also very good as the manager who just can’t get what these dudes are thinking. It’s a small role for him, but as usual, he was spot on. Basically this is a very interesting movie, and the time passes very quickly and it’s over before you’d like it to be. It’s got a fair amount of baseball action, that is easy to watch, but also has some great dialog and dramatic scenes that are also very well done. I enjoyed this movie all around, and recommend it to anyone who is interested in the genre, or those who just love to look at Brad Pitt.
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