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Movie Review of ‘Moneyball’ With Brad Pitt
It’s like Hollywood has heard all of my internal silent cries, begging them to STOP already with the aliens, superheroes and general lack of thought. Give me something smart and real, something that makes me feel like I didn’t just set this $10 bill on fire and sat in a dark room for 90 minutes. Well, hello ‘Moneyball’ —- you’ve given me hope.
THE GOOD: Let’s get one thing straight, right here – I don’t like baseball. I went to a Colorado Rockies pro game years ago – who they were playing at has long been forgotten and it probably wasn’t even something I noticed at the time anyway – and the only thing i enjoyed about it was how cute it was from the players. Going even further, I don’t understand the whole “sports fanatic” mentality of ANY sport. Women who lose their husbands in front of big-screen televisions for months, men who go absolutely RAGED when some guy in black and white stripes has the audacity to point the field in what is CLEARLY the wrong direction. The obscenely overpaid athletes who seem determined to self-destruct before our eyes. And don’t get me started on this whole face and body paint thing. Or giant cheese hats. So you can understand that I had reservations about this movie, and quite frankly, 10 minutes later I found myself thinking “Well, at least Brad Pitt is pretty, and he’ll serve as my focal point. to get through this.” So, knowing my complete lack of interest in the sport, imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying watching baseball. If you’re not familiar with the premise of the story, it’s a semi-biographical story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt doing the honors), general manager of the Oakland A’s and his efforts to put together a winning team with very little funding, based on computer analysis of statistics. With the help of Ivy League graduate Peter Brand (beautifully played by Jonah Hill), they begin signing players who the “experts” have called flawed, but who have the potential to build a winning team. The dialogue is surprisingly “unscripted”. And watching the process of building this new ball club leaves you hoping against hope that it will work. It’s a smart movie, with moments of humor so real you feel like you’re part of the team, not a spectator. Brad Pitt has become an incredible actor and his timing in this film is perfect. It’s fun to watch too. There must be that.
THE BAD: The movie got off to a slow start, which is why I found myself worrying early on that Brad would have to wear the whole thing on the basis of his looks alone. Perhaps the director was trying to establish the anguish Billy Beane felt after another in a long string of losses. He at least understood the anxiety part. It picks up quickly after that, so hang in there. There’s also a side story of Billy’s ex-wife (Robin Wright) and daughter (Kerris Dorsey) which might have been nice to have developed a bit more – you never really know what went wrong. not, but regardless, she obviously ended up with all her money. And a silly new husband. Probably the weirdest part of the story, however, was when Billy was about to put his 12-year-old daughter on a plane to take her back to mom after a visit with him. The little girl expresses concern about her father’s career and future, and in an effort to distract himself, he offers something along the lines of “Why are you so worried about me? You should be worried more for that plane you get on those collapsing things, you know!” Giant Epic Parental Failure. I think it was meant to be funny, but as a parent—and someone with a deathly fear of flying—I couldn’t imagine saying something so stupid to your child. But what do I know? I think giant foam fingers are silly too.
THE UGLY: Apparently it’s fundamentally necessary to CRACK as a baseball player. No one knows exactly why, but the game just isn’t worth playing if these men don’t have a giant wad of something in their bottom lip. Can you imagine if all sports had this unwritten requirement? Sunflower husks everywhere on the tennis courts, big balls of lamb’s lettuce litter the swimming pool. It would be total chaos. And raw. Don’t forget gross.
So don’t get me wrong: I still don’t like baseball and I’ll be forever grateful to a husband who doesn’t park his ass on the couch to watch the playoffs of NOTHING. But whether you’re a sports fan or not, this movie will make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. It is a statistical certainty.
The Wife Trophy gives these 4 ½ trophies.
Moneyball has a running time of 133 minutes and is rated PG 13 for strong language. (F-word used twice)
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