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Is Moneyball a Grand Slam?

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Moneyball 2011Steven Zaillian, Aaron SorkinBennett MillerBrad Pitt, Jonah HillMichael Lewis (novel: Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Moneyball(2011)
 

“Moneyball,” based on the controversial non-fiction Baseball novel by Michael Lewis, follows the revolutionary tactics Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) implemented to create a winning team on a modest budget. Defying the tradition of Baseball’s antiquated recruiting methods; Beane’s story transcends the design of the diamond field. “MoneyBall” is evidence that even in the oldest of American games, the incorporation of the new can still come out on top.

Beane, the quick-draw mastermind of the small market A’s, feels the pressure from the team’s owner to assemble a championship-caliber team with the salary cap of roughly 40 million dollars. In Major League Baseball terms, that seemingly hefty amount is worth a box of Cracker Jack's compared to the over 100 million dollars elite teams like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox get to splurge on star players.

Finding no real solutions from his legion of old-school scouts, Beane encounters a geeky cubicle numbers cruncher, the portly Peter Brand (Jonah Hill in his best role to date), from the Cleveland Indians. With Brand, Beane finds the answer he seeks to counteract the limits of conventional Baseball thinking: he commits to Brand’s use of Sabermetrics, a formula developed by statistician Bill James to evaluate a player’s worth through mathematical facts instead of his perceived value.

Attacked by pundits as well as his disgruntled lame duck manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beane’s unusual combination of beleaguered veterans like David Justice and Scott Hattenberg, as well as discarded talent like underhand pitcher Chad Bradford, initially results in disaster. However, Beane’s competitive pride, along with several sleighs of hand roster changes, ends up making this dysfunctional team into not only a contender, but one that achieves success in historical proportions. But can this unprecedented team glued by a new philosophy earn the championship Beane longs for while also disproving 100 years of Baseball wisdom along the way?

While the “Moneyball” novel might be the most objective account on the National Pastime, its movie version might also be the most grounded film ever made about the game. There are no ghosts appearing through the cornfields, no walk-off home run that smashes the bright lights of a stadium during a thunderous victory strut. No, “Moneyball” sees the game through a modern scope, a big business where the have-nots, as Beane exclaims to his angered scout, have to “adapt or die.” This film, brilliantly directed by “Capote” helm Bennett Miller, spotlights the fascinating game within the game that feels like a stock broker’s day on Wall Street.

Yet, even with “Moneyball’s” delineation of the tough business of the game, Miller and screenwriter greats Steven Zallian and Aaron Sorkin reveal the essence that makes this film as romantic as many serendipitous portrayals of Baseball Hollywood has produced. Billy Beane, wonderfully acted by Pitt, is an upper-middle class divorcee whose priority lies in the affections of his pre-teen daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey). The aggressively competitive Beane is also a contemporary David, with on-base and slugging percentage stats as his stone and sling. Ultimately, “Moneyball” is about a baseball hero for this time, one that finds glory behind the desk of an office rather than toeing the rubber of a sandy mound.

Trailer:

Official website:
Moneyball

Pics:
Moneyball2011Steven Zaillian, Aaron SorkinBennett MillerBrad Pitt, Jonah HillMichael Lewis (novel:   Moneyball2011Steven Zaillian, Aaron SorkinBennett MillerBrad Pitt, Jonah HillMichael Lewis (novel:   Moneyball2011Steven Zaillian, Aaron SorkinBennett MillerBrad Pitt, Jonah HillMichael Lewis (novel:   Moneyball2011Steven Zaillian, Aaron SorkinBennett MillerBrad Pitt, Jonah HillMichael Lewis (novel:   Moneyball2011Steven Zaillian, Aaron SorkinBennett MillerBrad Pitt, Jonah HillMichael Lewis (novel:  

Credits:
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Written by: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin
Based on work(s) by: Michael Lewis (novel: "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game")
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill


Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

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