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Moneyball

tn_moneyballI heard MONEYBALL was good, so I wanted to see it, but I was definitely skeptical. Steven Soderbergh tried to get this movie done for a long time, based on the non-fiction book of the same title. But he got the plug pulled a couple times, the studio thought the script wasn’t entertaining enough and he wouldn’t do what they wanted because he was trying not to dramatize and composite and shit, he wanted to try to make it as close to 100% true as he could. Well, after he finally bowed out they quickly got a new script by Steve Zaillian (SCHINDLER’S LIST, GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) and Aaron Sorkin (SOCIAL NETWORK, West Wing TV show) and director Bennett Miller, and that’s a good group of people, but these kinds of salvage jobs never turn out good.

Except this one did! It’s an underdog sports movie, but not in the way you’ve seen before. Brad Pitt (COOL WORLD) plays Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A’s baseball team. (this is about baseball by the way, not some futuristic Rollerball type sport called Moneyball). After a good but anticlimactic season his 2 star players have left for more money, and he has to put together the new team. At the meetings with his veteran scouts (all grey hair and hearing aids) he gets frustrated at another year of trying to build a team like the Yankees using a fraction of their budget. It’s like making the porno version of AVATAR – you can’t compete on a technical level. But they found something they felt would overcome the lower production values (penises entering vaginas) and they went for it. That’s what Billy wants to do, he wants to figure out how to penetrate Major League Baseball with a new approach that works with the resources he has.

mp_moneyballLuckily he happens to meet a young consultant in the Cleveland Native American Stereotypes Organization (Oscar nominee instead of Albert Brooks in DRIVE Jonah Hill) whose ideas impress him. This kid is a nerd for statistics and is very opinionated about teams not understanding the true value and potential of some of their players. Billy hires him and they figure out a strategy for replacing super-hitter Jason Giambi with three low-salary players whose combined stats add up to the same number. That works, right? I don’t know, I’m not good at math. It actually sounds kind of wrong to me, but apparently it can work.

Like SOCIAL NETWORK these people are dealing with an idea that’s ahead of its time, so most of the movie is about clashing with the forces of the old guard: the scouts, the manager (P.S. Hoffman), the reporters, players who think they’re crazy.

They aren’t crazy, of course, but that’s not immediately clear. And it’s kind of funny because Beane is shitty to alot of people. One of the funny lessons he teaches the kid is about how to fire people without feeling bad about it – the reverse of Pitt-buddy George Clooney’s UP IN THE AIR. So the entertainment value of this story completely hinges on him being right. If the season didn’t go well he would’ve been such a jackass and we would feel shitty if we ever identified with him. He probly should’ve been nicer either way.

But the movie makes you side with him, with the Management, a guy who from another perspective would be the asshole boss. And since he actually is right it almost feels like Sticking It To the Man when he fires or transfers the people who won’t go along with his plan.

One of the biggest conflicts is with the manager. He doesn’t believe in Beane’s strategy so he’s openly disgusted and just refuses to play the team the way he’s supposed to. Hoffman is topnotch – he could easily have gone for watch-the-uptight-guy-get-upset chuckles, but he plays him with such convincing bitterness that all his scenes are genuinely tense. I think he would’ve been a shoo-in for a supporting actor nomination except there aren’t any big screaming or crying clips they could use. Too subtle to be recognized.

The players are brought down to earth, treated as co-workers, some of them kinda dumb. But Miller does have reverence for the iconography of baseball. Beane is often sitting in an empty stadium contemplating shit in the sunbeams, and he’s shot like an astronaut on the launchpad in a NASA movie. Pitt is good too. Probly too good looking for the role, but convincing that he knows what he’s talking about. It’s a romanticized role, probly real different from what Soderbergh would’ve done.

I like Hill, and he’s good in this, and good for him for getting an Oscar nomination already, but I don’t think he’s really earned it yet. He’s funny and does well in a more dramatic context than usual but it’s not like he’s reinvented himself here. I don’t see why anybody would be surprised that he could do this role. They act like he was no good before or like it’s amazing that he could still be nervous and smart-alecky without talking about dicks all the time.

Director Miller is Hoffman’s buddy from CAPOTE, and it’s an impressive sophomore non-slump. He’s obviously good with actors, and I was especially impressed by the obviously-written-by-Sorkin dialogue as delivered by the scouts. In SOCIAL NETWORK and his various TV shows Sorkin gives mile-a-minute clever shit to smarter than-you-characters who spray it at each other as they speed-walk toward their next important meeting. I liked hearing it from regular old guys like the scouts, speaking from the wisdom of experience. It’s recognizable Sorkin but it’s a whole different spin.

Alot of the story has to be delivered through the media – news reports, color commentators, sports talk radio – but this is handled well (good, because phony-sounding news is a movie pet peeve of mine). I’m sure alot of this is bullshit, but even so it’s an impressive achievement. How the fuck did they make a movie about using statistics to improve baseball rosters, and made it entertaining and comprehnsible to somebody who doesn’t care much about baseball and hates math? I don’t know, but they pulled it off.

Plus Soderbergh went off and made HAYWIRE instead. Everybody wins. Congratulations to Brad Pitt, Bennett Miller, me, baseball, Gina Carano, America, apple pie, etc.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 1:27 am and is filed under Drama, Reviews, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

48 Responses to “Moneyball”

  1. I’m a bad person for not yet seeing this. I love baseball and I like Aaron Sorkin & Brad Pitt.

    On the other hand, my refusal to see anything with Jonah Hill on the big screen isn’t likely to change any time soon. Sorry, I just can’t handle that face at 20 feet tall all alone with me in a dark auditorium.

    2012 MLB predictions:

    Yankees all the way, though Texas & LA Angels are serious this year. Detroit will win the AL Central. Matt Moore & Yu Darvish are ROY contenders.

    Philly’s roster again makes them the class of the NL, though I think Washington & Miami (if Josh Johnson is 100%) will be the most fun NL teams to watch.

    Oakland might be the worst team in the Major Leagues this season, which is hard to accomplish when Seattle is in the same division. The Athletics could seriously use some moneyball magic right now.

  2. I thought the same thing about Brad Pitt being too good looking. Then I looked up the real Billy Beane and he is a handsome man.

    Vern, framing this as the porno Avatarnis brilliant, just brilliant. Classic Vern. Because the metaphor is 100% accurate.

  3. eh, sports aint my thing (big surprise) so I can’t say I have any interest at all in seeing this

  4. I find it funny that you used the Japanese poster though

  5. After this and Capote, Bennett Miller is definitely on my directors-to-keep-an-eye-on list. I can see him becoming one of those reliable Paul Thomas Anderson types who simply never disappoints. Very solid directing so far.

    As for Brad… Fuck man, I have a serious man-crush on this dude. This guy’s obviously serious about making good movies that will actually stand the test of time. Over the past 5 years alone he was in The Assassination of Jesse James (a fucking masterpiece in my book), Inglourious Basterds, The Tree of Life (another masterpiece), Moneyball. Way to go, fella.

    Can’t wait for Cogan’s Trade.

  6. IN CASES OF DISINTEREST

    If a gentleman has no interest in the current subject, it is proper to abstain from commenting rather than to post a comment stating that he has no interest. Lack of consideration for thread integrity is a sign of ill-breeding.

  7. To Mouth, sorry the SF Giants will take the NL pennant. Posey and Wilson will be healthy this year and they have the best bullpen and starting staff in the NL. Philly is getting old and Howard is still injured with an ACL (he’s been amazingly un clutch recently anyway). Miami is too cobbled together. Johnson can’t stay healthy and Reyes won’t give a shit now that he has his huge contract (not to mention he’s a speed guy with tender hamstrings). St. Louis lost Pujols, Milwaukee lost Fielder, and Arizona comes off as a little too flukey.

    I totally agree on Texas though. If Hamilton can stay clean and Darvish can be 80% of what he’s touted to be they might be the best team in the majors. I can see a Giants Rangers rematch for the World Series.

    Haven’t seen Moneyball and I should. The fact that Jonah Hill is in this and he was nominated kind of bothers me. I shouldn’t judge since i haven’t seen the film but come on, Jonah Hill? I didn’t need vern to tell me that he’s was basically doing his usual shtick only instead of a sex comedy, it’s a serious film starring Brad Pitt. Maybe I’m still pissed that the makers of Superbad actually expected me to believe that (spoiler) Hill’s horrible fucking character could ever have a chance of getting Emma Stone at the end. Not Hill’s fault but still. Since I’m ripping Mr. Hill here, anyone else think that the 21 Jump Street movie looks absolutely horrible?

  8. They replace not just Giambi, but the obp average of Giambi plus Damon plus the other guy who left-
    Because Damon had a low obp, the average was about 370 instead of the 400 Giambi had.

  9. Vern’s comment on the dramatic clip the academy uses to introduce best actor/actress got me thinking about the movie clip they used for Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone. If I remember correctly, it’s where Ryan’s character emotionally tells others how they don’t know what it’s like to be a mother who has lost a child. The only problem with using that clip out of context is that the audience is supposed to think she’s being sincere. You’re supposed to be appalled that a woman who had locked her toddler in a hot car for hours could pretend to actually care about her kid. I thought it was a pretty bizarre choice on the part of the Oscar people.

    I’m sort of mixed on seeing Moneyball. On the one hand, I like everyone involved, but on the other, I don’t particularly enjoy baseball. Even more than other sports, the same teams keep on winning in baseball over and over again (from what I understand Moneyball does a good job of explaining why). There are a few teams with money who compete, and the rest struggle to be competitive. This is why football is quickly becoming America’s national pastime.

  10. Thank you, Vern – I’ve been waiting months for someone to acknowledge the screwiness of how the stakes for Beane are that he might lose his cushy job and might dent his relationship with his kid … yet no one thinks twice that Beane’s path to success involves upsetting the jobs and families of the players. Beane explicitly shrugs this off with “They’re ball players, they’ll understand, that’s the way it is for them,” and the movie seems to agree that Beane deserves better because he’s the central character and handsome and smugly lords over a table full of old-time scouts. He’s haunted by his washout as a player, too, but there’s minimal concern for the guys whose dreams he’s wiping out. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s coming from a privileged, one-percenter frame of mind.

  11. In fairness, the theme of finding untapped value in people who’ve been written off is a great one. Wish it wasn’t couched in a Touched By The Hand of Brad attitude – both with the players as well as the Hill character (who actually is the innovator in the movie, just not in the position to implement his ideas.)

  12. Still haven’t seen this, looking forward to it.
    The guy who wrote the book on which this movie was based, Michael Lewis, wrote another book called “Losers” about the 1996 Republican campaign that’s really fun. I wish he’d write one about the current nomination mess, because as my brother pointed out, it’s funny that so many different candidates have had their one shining moment where they were the most popular of the bunch.

    On an Oscars-related note, does anyone have thoughts on whether or not Sorkin and Co. will win for best adapted screenplay for MONEYBALL? Will the spin of having baseball scouts say snappy things be enough to give him his second naked gold man in a row?

  13. Is the SF Giants’ staff good enough to win without any run support? Again? Yes, but, my god, the outfielder with the most pop on that squad is Melky Cabrera. Maybe Aubrey Huff will have 2010 flashbacks and become a legit 4-5 hitter somehow. I’ll be laughing until that happens. Maybe Angel Pagan will also return to 2010 form.

    I don’t like it when people complain about “small markets” in professional sports, especially in baseball where there’s no salary cap. The truth is, the Steinbrenner family is *not* the richest owner in MLB. There’s lots of guys & gals around the Majors with way more money than the Yankees’ owners; they just choose not to spend it.

    If you think the reason 2/3 of teams can’t compete with the Yankees is because their billionaire (with a B) owners are afraid to break the bank by investing $160 million instead of $80 million (with an M), you are sadly mistaken, and it’s a silly, mean myth that persists because the long term viability of the product that is the baseball ticketbuyers’ experience is always in question. (“We can’t spend more money on our roster unless we have more luxury boxes and people pay $20 for a nosebleed bleacher seat and $8 for a hot dog!”) But then if I go down this road, we’ll start getting into stadiums & taxpayers’ contributions & revenues, and that’s no fun.

    But the point is, the Yankees aren’t evil. They use their resources to put out a great product consistently (On days when AJ Burnett wasn’t pitching, anyway), and it shouldn’t be lost on everyone that other baseball team owners, who unfortunately for their local fans are quite stingy, have even more resources to do the same.

  14. Inspector Li – I bet Mitt Romney loves this movie. He should incorporate it into his speeches. Instead of talking about how tall and straight the trees are.

    Knox – If I have to criticize Brad Pitt, it’s that he at times he can be guilty of coasting too much on his physical charisma. But yeah I like that he tries usually. (Didn’t like MR & MRS SMITH however.) Though honestly, I think his buddy Clooney has a better overall track record of striving for excellence. When the worst movies he’s done are those casino robbery sequels, you’ve done alright all things considered.

    Come to think of it, it’s odd how for such “beloved” Hollywood figures, both DiCaprio and Pitt don’t have Oscars. And George will win his second on sunday. (Actually not surprising. He’s a pimp.) and yet Gary Oldman finally got his first nod on sunday. And he won’t win.

    Jek Porkins – yeah the ’12 GOP primaries are the most chaotic yet in the modern primary era of American politics. And no, Sorkin won’t win the script Oscar nod.

  15. not to drag this off topic, but the 1996 Presidential Campaign is the first one in my lifetime that I actually have a memory of and the only reason why is because my mom took me with her to vote

  16. TomCrowne442; I’m looking forward to 21 Jumpstreet. No, it doesn’t look that great, but word of mouth has been far better then the trailers, and I’m an unapologetic Tatum backer. I’ll use one of those coupon movie passes and hit an early matinee, but I’ll go.

    I really liked Moneyball! I don’t much care for sports or the fanfare surrounding them, but I found this movie and the process they go through fascinating. Like others have said I thought Jonah Hill was ‘good’ but not anything smashingly special, and nowhere near good enough to be given a nod over Albert Brooks. Pitt was very good though. I’m always happy to see him perform well.

  17. I’m sorry, but I think 21 Jumpstreet looks awful

    I mean why did Hollywood just HAVE to make a 21 Jumpstreet movie? is 21 Jumpstreet really a franchise that holds a lot of clout or nostalgia in people’s minds?

    to me the vibe I’ve gotten from that movie is basically the filmmakers saying “yeah, we know this is such a stupid, creatively bankrupt idea to turn 21 Jumpstreet into a movie, but the Studio absolutely demanded a movie be made, so we decided just to make fun of it and turn into a comedy”

    but then again, I did kind of like the Dragnet movie, which was the same idea, “turning an old cop show into a comedy”, but Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are not Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks

  18. I don’t think Hollywood “had” to make a 21 Jump Street movie. Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill has been trying to get it made for a while. He thought it would be funny and that’s what he wanted to get made using the clout he got from a couple hit movies. Why not?

  19. If they got Johnny Depp to do a scene, which he’s always said he’s game for, as the same character still stuck under cover in high school, that would make it all worth it. I think they did because they’ve been cagey about Depp’s involvement, as if hiding a surprise. And Depp did JACK AND JILL for God’s sake!

  20. I gotta admit that I have a real problem when former serious properties get resurrected as comedies for no real reason, doesn’t matter how silly the premise or how dated its look is. It worked very well with the DRAGNET movie and I gotta admit, I really enjoyed STARSKY & HUTCH and CHARLIE’S ANGEL, but even then the question is…why?
    Doesn’t matter what you think of the MIAMI VICE movie, but we can all be happy that Michael Mann did it, before some comedian got to make his version, that reduced that seriously great show to its (by today’s standards) silly fashion style. And I’m scared that in 20 years, we might get BREAKING BAD: THE STONER COMEDY.

  21. Fred: Depp has always been the guy who didn’t care for his image, when it comes to doing things, that he enjoys. Just think of his cameo in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 6! (as “Oprah Noodlemantra!”) Sure, now that he is able to demand those huge paychecks, it’s a little bit less obvious if he really does something for fun or for the money, but I always appreciated “serious” actors, who are willing to do really stupid things on camera. (Unless it becomes obvious that they do it, because they don’t get any better offers anymore. That’s just sad.)

  22. I think this is the first I’ve heard of ACT OF VALOR, so I don’t have much to say of it in itself, but why does it seem that despite all the other countries with military involvement in various current conflicts, America seems to have claimed this as their subject to keep tackling over and over again? There’s not nearly as many british movies or tv series based around current armed forces, and while you can maybe chalk that up to there just not being the money for us to do it properly, you’d think some facet of it would be getting explored more. You guys even use Iraq/Arghanistan in the plots of your detective shows a fair bit too. But why? Is it just on your country’s consciousness more because you’re the main drivers of these conflicts?

    Yvan eht nioj.

  23. But Depp specifically hated JUMP STREET so it’ll be a big deal.

    Don’t worry about BREAKING BAD. In 20 years there won’t be movies anymore, just shaky clips on YouTube.

  24. CJ- Yeah, I have to say I don’t get all the scorn the likes of Pacino and Deniro get when they do a generic straight to DVD-type thriller, or a MEET THE FOCKERS type thing. At their age, don’t they deserve to be able to not care so much about a reputation? They’re best work will remain their best work, so let them have fun or kick back a bit. The idea of Depp being a sellout for doing Pirates sequels and signing up for the LONE RANGER too seems a bit dumb as well because I’m pretty sure he’s loaded enough that more money is pretty much meaningless to him and he’s taking on stuff because he thinks it’ll be fun. Regardless of the quality of the finished product, I dunno if I’d be able to pass up playing dress up and being a swashbuckling action hero if I was getting paid for it.

  25. caruso_stalker217

    February 24th, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I am also hoping against hope that Depp will still be undercover as a high school student in the new 21 JUMP STREET.

  26. Fred Topel – Unless it’s incorrect, Depp did a cameo for the movie. If anything, I’m amazed the studio didn’t SPOIL THE SHIT OUT OF IT in their trailer like most movies tend to do with their cameos. (Cameos of big stars.) So that’ll be a pleasant surprise for those who’ll watch the movie and catch it without knowing about it ahead of time.*

    Stu – I believe you answered your own question.

    *=Reminds me of the GET SMART movie, and I so pleasantly surprised by the random Bill Murray cameo.

  27. Shit, posted my thoughts about ACT OF VALOR in the wrong comments section. Disregard.

  28. Fred Topel – I wouldn’t consider it that big of a deal. I remember that anecdote from one of the JUMP STREET producers telling of how at the show’s end, Depp was all anxious and giddy to be rid of that obligation. Apparently he had a year left on his TV contract, which allegedly his managers were telling him to fight it and force a buyout if Depp really truely wanted to go into the movies full-time. But Depp gave his word that if the show was renewed for another season, he wouldn’t fight his contract.

    Of course I heard that on E! True Hollywood Story, so maybe take this as valid info as you would if Fox News reported it.

    Plus like everything else in life, that job was decades ago. I’m sure it was tedious, and the teenie booper idolhood was obnoxiously unbearable, but you mostly remember (or choose to remember) the good times. Not like it impeded his movie career. Plus this is just a movie cameo. This isn’t THE TOURIST.

    Stu – not to mention that Depp used his clout to get RUM DIARY produced. Sure more and more I could possibly live without another Burton/Depp production*, but hey it pays the bills. (PIRATES 4 sucked though, not his fault. But since it made a billion bucks, we’ll get PIRATES 5.)

    I get into debates on other websites arguing whether Depp is truely the world’s biggest movie star. My trump card is this: He was the first movie star “lead” to have two movies each make a billion bucks in theatres. Then PIRATES 4 made it three. Notice that those 3 movies to each make a billion are two PIRATES pictures (only one of them I kinda enjoyed) and ALICE IN WONDERLAND, which was not good.

    So yes, I blame the world’s taste.

    *=I could picture Depp bullying Burton into making DARK SHADOWS. A funny image, yes.

  29. Worst example of taking serious source material and turning it into a comedy: Green Hornet.

    Sure, that movie was just some mindless fun, but it just seemed so disrespectful. Imagine if they did the same with that other crimefighter who was also created around the same time as Green Hornet… What’s his name again? The silly one who dresses like a bat and lives in a cave? Oh yeah, Batman. Wouldn’t that be hilarious? Maybe get Adam Sandler to play him. What a hoot.

    All this winking at the camera just pisses me off these days.

  30. I remember reading a while ago, that many “serious” actors are actually pretty happy, that they are finally allowed to do those silly comedies, since Kathy Bates appeared in WATERBOY and everybody loved her in it. (Remember when Dustin Hoffman had to use an alias to even do a guest spot on THE SIMPSONS?!) Even though they have the reputation of being too high brow for such movies, thanks to many award winning turns in “important movies”, they often laugh at the same low brow shit like the rest of the world. So being in one of those movies, maybe even next to their favourite comedian, is to many of them pretty liberating and even a whole new acting challenge.
    Sure, there are some who just do it for the money, but Jack Nicholson and Harvey Keitel had reportedly a whole lot of fun while shooting their Sandler comedies.

  31. “Sure, that movie was just some mindless fun, but it just seemed so disrespectful. Imagine if they did the same with that other crimefighter who was also created around the same time as Green Hornet… What’s his name again? The silly one who dresses like a bat and lives in a cave? Oh yeah, Batman. Wouldn’t that be hilarious?”
    You’re forgetting that GREEN HORNET would most likely be most remembered for the campy tv show he was in with Bruce Lee which even crossed over with the campy tv show Batman had. And as an adult, I have an appreciation for Adam West’s Batman. It is winking at the audience, but in a much less obvious way. It works because they don’t actually play it as comedy. It’s totally straight faced when Batman explains he survived a bomb by quickly coating the room with Anti-Explosion Spray. Whereas Schumacher’s Batman was trying to be IN on the joke, making one liners and totally changing his mo from the Burton movies(which are meant to be in the same continuity remember).

  32. I hope one day to see Christian Bale in a proper comedic role, because I think AMERICAN PSYCHO showed he has the chops for it.

  33. I hope to one day see Leonardo DiCaprio in a comedy, because if he doesn’t smile soon his facial muscles are going to atrophy.

  34. was the original 21 JUMP STREET a crappy show or something? I’ve never seen it, but I was under the impression that it was actually pretty good, am I wrong?

  35. Mr. Majestyk- Also Robert Pattinson seems to think playing mopey human beings is the best way to compensate for being most well known for playing a mopey vampire. That’s an ass-backwards way of showing you have range.

  36. Well exactly, Stu. That Green Hornet movie is the equivalent of Schumachers Batman and Robin.

    I’m not demanding they go all Nolan on Green Hornet. Hell, all they have to do is follow The Phantom’s template and I’ll be a happy man.

  37. 21 Jump Street was like Miami Vice that took place in high school. Miami Vice or teens if you will. The show was actually pretty dark. They’d investigate gay bashings, rapes, etc. I remember one episode where a teacher raped one of his students and impregnated her for example. There were some light and fluffy moments but it was a pretty serious show. Depp was pretty cool and sarcastic in it and Richard Greico didn’t show up until like the 4th season as Depp’s replacement. It was actually a pretty good show. The remake bothers me because they’re taking what was a pretty serious show and turning into a slapstick comedy. I didn’t like it when they did it with Starsky and Hutch either. Dragnet was good but like someone else said, Tatum and Hill are not Akyroyd and Hanks.

  38. Isn’t it weird, that THE A-TEAM, the one adaptation of a REAL light hearted and kinda cheesy show with lots of comedy, turned out to be darker and more serious than the original? (Although I’m glad that they didn’t went all dark and serious on the material.)

  39. I think at this point that Leonardo DiCaprio’s brow is too permanently furrowed for comedy anymore.

  40. As for Moneyball, I thought is was a good movie. Perfectly watchable and easy to follow considering it’s all about statistics. But a best picture nominee? I don’t think so. But then I think that about most of the nominees this year.

  41. Guys, remember how somebody posted about “Movie epilogues Hollywood didn’t show you” or something on the Schindler’s List thread? Moneyball was on there too. It seems Beane totally threw the A’s under the bus after the events of the film.

  42. The Brad Pitt (COOL WORLD) credit killed me.

  43. Hate to call you out Mouth but the A’s won the division (moneyball indeed). And the Giants are in the NLCS.

  44. Jesucristo, the A’s did some things this year — 2/3 of their games started by rookies, overcoming the steroids suspension of Bartolo, having an all-star 8th inning guy (Ryan Cook) become their 9th inning become their 8th inning guy when Grant Balfour came to life, etc.. Helluva season. Surprised the shit out of me.

    Now Raul Ibanez does his thing. . .

  45. And Josh Reddick! Holy shit, where did all those home runs come from?

  46. Is it wrong that I liked this more than Zero Dark Thirty? Despite the obvious differences, they’re actually pretty similar movies – both are procedurals that take place in recent history (the 2000’s), both mainly consist of people arguing with each other in really dark offices, both have a stubborn, bullheaded protagonist who’s incredibly unlikable, who won’t listen to anyone, clashes with his/her bosses, and *SPOILER* turns out to be right. And also recruits a team where a key player turns out to be Chris Pratt!

    But Moneyball just sucked me in more (maybe because I don’t follow baseball and the ending was less certain for me). The dialogue was crisp without being showy (I actually forgot Sorkin co-wrote this), the pacing is fantastic, the acting is great. I’ll go ahead and say Hill deserved his Oscar nomination since a) I still haven’t seen Brooks in Drive, and b) I just saw Hill in The Watch, and if you want an example of a lazy, sleepwalking performance, see him in that. He literally does not seem like the same actor from Moneyball, it’s kind of amazing to see.

    One last thing – I’ll go out on a limb and say i don’t think the Soderbergh version would have been as good. I like Soderbergh and all, but he’s never made a movie that’s held my interest as consistently as this movie, and it obviously wouldn’t have looked as good. Moneyball looks downright stunning at times, while there’s no doubt Soderbergh would have used that same yellow haze that marred Magic Mike and Haywire. I don’t know anything about Bennett Miller but Moneyball is so good it puts him immediately in the upper tier of directors for me.

  47. Brilliant, neal, as usual.

    So Philip S. Hoffman’s A’s manager Art Howe character
    is like
    Kyle Chandler’s station chief Bradley character.
    Both conflicted bosses, both being uprooted by uppity data nerds, both have to find a gentle way to tell their subordinates to go fuck themselves even as they acknowledge that the subordinates are ultimately correct, both walking on the razor’s edge of being fired in a tough political-professional environment, and indeed both have Chris “shoeshine” Pratt performing heroically in the clutch for them. He’s a soldier as well as a brilliant evidence-collector, a catcher/DH as well as a champion first baseman.

    PSH is way funnier than Chandler, though.

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