Moneyball

"What are you really worth?"

American League baseball records were broken during the 2002 season. The Major League Baseball team with the country’s lowest paid team was able to win twenty straight games. The preceding winning streak set a new all-time record within the American League. The plot is relative to the film “Moneyball”. The movie is very intense and clever. It is a movie about the business of baseball as opposed to the sport represented by baseball. There is the contrast introduced to the audience of stats, set against a scout’s intuitiveness.

The film, again, presents as highly intelligent with regard to its content. Its primary emphasis is on the film’s central-most character, Billy Beane, played by actor Brad Pitt. Beane is the Oakland Athletics’ general manager. Beane has a bad beginning as a baseball player in the major leagues so he is subsequently repositioned to the role of manager. It is clear Beane is motivated by his loathing of losing a game. During a prior season, Beane has taken the Oakland As to the famous World Series. However, Oakland loses the World Series and the team’s best 3 baseball players are hired by baseball teams which present as much more prosperous. The lure is that of higher salaries for the players.

Beane now must reconstruct his team at a lower than market cost. As a consequence, Beane is influenced positively by the theoretical concepts of Peter Brand (played by the actor Jonah Hill). Brand is a graduate of Yale University who is a number cruncher. He is a nerd for certain. However, Brand has come up with a cost-effective analytic conclusion with regard to hiring the team’s baseball players.

Brand, effectively persuades Beane that it would be to the general manager's advantage to employ players based on performance stats. The baseball players hired are considered undervalued athletes. Working with Brand, Beane assembles a team which appears ridiculous upon first glance; however, during the season proves out as an undeniably great value.

The original author of the story “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” is Michael Lewis. The actor Jonah Hill does a good job of playing the nerdy statistician and Yale graduate: Peter Brand. Brand is a noticeably non-athletic appearing guy that has never played the game. In the story line, Brand has, over the years, analyzed baseball statistics. He, in his analysis has come to the conclusion that great teams are not necessarily characteristic of what scouts are seeking: that in fact, statistics can prove just as beneficial in assembling winning teams. The statistician, Brand, (again played by Jonah Hill) is reserved and not very outward in nature. He is confident about his numbers. He presents his argument to Beane in a manner that suggests his statistical theories are, at the same time experimental in nature. He is, comparatively speaking, quite different than the tough, rough-around-the-edges scouts. Brand suggests to Beane that the baseball scouts are simply not looking under the right rocks for a truly high-performing, winning team.

Pitt plays a respectable Beane. The general manager is portrayed as an introvert; very much alone, who is attempting to successfully rehabilitate himself from his failed marital union. He is highly endeared toward his child, Casey played by the actress Kerris Dorsey. That said, Pitt’s Beane is also highly motivated and aggressive too when it comes to winning. In fact, winning means so much to Beane that he cannot stay in the stadium to watch the game: he takes to driving outside the stadium with no predetermined destination in mind. He listens to the game on the car’s radio as he drives. He knows that if the theories he has chosen to employ for his baseball team fail; he is not going to be employable within the industry. He, too, is confronted with negative feedback and commentary from his team manager, Art Howe, played by the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman’s character is threatened by the Yale graduate, working with Beane. Howe (again played by Hoffman) believes his experience should trump that of the outside-of-the-box thinking, if you will, of the statistician which Beane has based his hiring strategy.

The film’s director is Bennett Miller. Again, the film “Moneyball” is not a provincial film about sports. You will appreciate the movie if you are not a sports fan. The dialogue of the film is clever. The movie was written by two very well-established writers for the screen, namely: Steven Zaillian (“Gangs of New York); and, Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”). The discussions illustrate clearly the high intensity of the characters’ inward emotions.

In conclusion, the film is about the business of baseball and not a film about sports. The players in the film do not possess primary or starring roles. The dramatic scenes of the film are played out through the mind of Beane. Assistance comes from his Ivy-League number cruncher. The two characters place their bets

PG-13
| 2011 | 2 hr 13 min | 7.6/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Bennett Miller
Language
English
Moneyball

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