February 8, 2012
"Moneyball" is about the very American sport of baseball and the objective science of statistics. It recounts how in 2001, ex-ball player Billy Beane, then general manager of the bottom-dwelling and budget-strapped Oakland A's, turned the fortunes of the whole team around by hiring lower-value but talented players based solely on their game statistics. It certainly took a lot of time getting to that main part of the story, but when it got there, you will be rewarded for your patience.
Brad Pitt is admittedly too "movie-starrish" to really disappear into the role of Billy Beane. Put him in a room full of grumpy grizzled old baseball curmudgeons, and he would really stand out like, well, a movie star. While I understand why he is gaining awards recognition for this role, I feel the role may be too understated and underplayed by him. Pitt was effective, yes, but may be too low-key for the big Oscar prize.
Beane's "side-kick" here was Peter Brand (played by pudgy comedian Jonah Hill), a nerdy Yale graduate of Economics who introduced how statistics can be of use to Beane in scouting for players under a limited budget. Hill plays it like he was always in awe of Pitt. On the other side, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays team manager Art Howe, who was disdainful of Beane's radically new scouting style. If he was supposed to be annoying, then Hoffman surely played it that way.
I watched "Moneyball" only because star Brad Pitt has been gaining awards buzz from it, and in fact had won a number of critics awards already. I had absolutely no idea what it was all about before I watched. Even as I was already watching, I had a difficult time getting into the story because it tells about something I am not very familiar with. But give this movie a chance to tell you its story like I did, and you will really get into its spirit and you will like it.