Robert Chesley

“Moneyball” – Review

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Does the film live up to the pedigree of all those involved?

Traditionally, films based on books are pretty straight forward. Something like “Harry Potter” or “Message in a Bottle” are easily rooted in the source material that was provided. “Moneyball” was a little different. The book is more factual based. Like if someone took a non-fiction statistics book and made it into a film. That is roughly what we got with this picture. While the book “Moneyball” mentioned a lot of the science and facts behind what the 2002 Oakland A’s did, Oscar winning screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, had to invent a lot of the drama involved with one of the most bizarre seasons of baseball ever to take place.

Brad Pitt delivered one of his stronger performances in this film. Although, Sorkin is notorious for writing characters that are flawed and have a neurotic work ethic, and nothing is different in this film, Pitt had a certain charm that some of his other “in charge” characters lacked previously. While the film had it’s fair share of laughs, I didn’t find it to be a particularly “laugh out loud” kind of film. As someone who was intimately familiar with the situation and the book that it was based off of, I was left with a feeling of wanting more. The movie felt long (well, it was long, almost two and half hours), and at points it seemed to be dragging along. It is very difficult to judge a story like this. The book was written in more of the “how” and the film tries to dictate the “why”. I felt a lot of the “non baseball” scenes could have probably been cut and we wouldn’t have missed them. My favorite scene of the entire film involves Pitt and Hill in an office during the trade deadline, as a sports fan, I had always wondered what goes through the minds of GMs on trade deadline day, and that seems like a pretty accurate portrayal. Phillip Seymore Hoffman seemed completely misused throughout the film. I would have liked to see Pitt and Hoffman’s conflict get escalated more than what we were shown.

While it was not up to the pedigree of those other Aaron Sorkin works, it had it’s moments and it had charm. This was a film that I had been anticipating for a while now. I loved moments of this, but make no mistake, it isn’t “The Social Network”, and I would probably argue that there were episodes of “The West Wing” that were stronger, but it is still a good movie and I had enjoyed the story that was presented, it was just unfortunate that not as much of the “information” behind how the team was put together was shown in the film. “Moneyball”, the book, changed the way GMs and teams evaluated and rank players. This film didn’t carry the weight of that accomplishment. I would recommend this movie to people who are interested in seeing a decent sports film with strong actors and strong writing.

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