Sunday, January 22, 2012

Moneyball

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright
Director: Bennett Miller
Running Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Rating: PG-13

I’m not a huge sports movie kind of gal, but “Moneyball” is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The film is based on a true story, one I wasn’t familiar with – it’s ridiculous how many inspiring, true stories there are in the world. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A’s, and with the help of math-whiz Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), the two create the infamous team with the most consecutive regular season wins in baseball history. 

Brad Pitt is like a fine wine. He just gets better with age – except for when he’s sporting that ridiculous beard (maybe Angelina likes that look, but not me.) Joking aside, he’s still gorgeous, and is owed an Academy Award over just about anyone in Hollywood (“Benjamin Button” and “The Tree of Life” anyone??) The film begins on the night the Oakland A’s lose to the New York Yankees in the playoffs, and as a result Beane feels pressure to find a team who can actually win. Flashbacks of Beane as a young baseball star who chose pro ball over a full-ride to Stanford are thrown in, and kudos to the casting director who found a young man with an identical jawline to Pitt’s. 

When Beane’s path crosses with Yale graduate Peter Brand, he knows things will turn around for his team. This role was a departure from Jonah Hill’s usual stoner-comedies, and an awesome change, I might add. Though he’s unrecognizable now after losing 40 pounds, he’s basically unrecognizable in the film as a soft-spoken, shy newbie to the professional baseball world. He’s afraid to admit how intelligent he really is, until Beane hires him to help recruit a winning team, by using mathematical equations instead of obvious talent. Philip Seymour Hoffman is familiar, as a typical baseball coach who has little faith in what Beane and Brand are trying to accomplish.

There are a few touching scenes with Beane and his daughter, which show his sensitive side. It’s clear they have a strong bond – maybe Pitt was using one of his six kids as inspiration for these scenes. The musical score is beautifully melodic (Mychael Danna deserves a nod), and it encourages the audience to pull for those little signs of success. Throughout the film, we know victory is impending – it’s just a matter of time. Ultimately, Beane and Brand help each other: Beane gets the winning streak he so desperately needed (a record 20 consecutive games undefeated!) and Brand gains the confidence and experience necessary to succeed as a professional. 

I highly recommend this movie for family movie night, date night, girls’ night or guys’ night, and hope that Pitt and Hill get recognized for their wonderful work come Oscar season (just right around the corner!)

Trailer, via YouTube:


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