Each time my husband and I make the mistake of heading to Tysons Corner on a Saturday night we always end the trip with the same refrain, "Never again!". Of course, despite this realization of our faulty judgement, we continue to repeat the act over and over again, and prove ourselves (apparently) none the wiser. As you've probably guessed, last night was no exception.
The opening weekend for Brad Pitt's true-story sports chronicle, "Moneyball" turned out to be quite the popular event with a viewing in the Tysons Corner AMC's largest theatre and a sold out audience. For those (like myself) who may not be familiar with baseball trivia, Moneyball is the true-life story of Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics (A's). In early 2000, facing an ever-growing realization that the A's simply could not compete financially with other big league teams like the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees who systematically bought the team's "A list" roster (including Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi), Beane realizes a different method could make a sizable difference to the team's chances of acquiring talent, and most importantly, wins.
The term "Moneyball" was henceforth coined and with the help of a young economist serving as a baseball statistician, Peter Brand (played by comic Jonah Hill of Superbad and Get Him to the Greek fame). The premise - create winning baseball team using not so-called big, and expensive talent, but skilled players whose ability to "get on base" or "score a run" is the wave of the future. After all, it's all about numbers... the stats are what matters, build a team of less expensive (and by all accounts, overlooked, talent) and you just may see a team make it to the championships spending less than half of what the other teams expend to pay for their talent. Overall, not a bad plan and an exciting premise for a film!
Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, a real-life ex-pro baseball player who was recruited out of high school to play for the Mets but shortly fizzled out. Pitt does a good job in this role - he is able to play Beane with a sense of humbleness, but at the same time, exuding inner strength. As one can imagine, Beane faces some significant criticism both within his own club house and outside from skeptical baseball scouts touting their 30-years of experience in recognizing talent and even his own team manager (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) who refuses to "play ball" with the new scheme. One point of detraction I will make is the film's pace. At 133 min, the film moves at times in a sluggish pace (perhaps mimicking the pace of an actual baseball game!).
So, my recommendation - do not attempt to see this one past 8:30pm on a school night (or else opt to pick up the book of the same title). Moneyball is recommended for baseball fans and true-life stories. It is certainly an inspirational film and may make a believer out of even the most skeptical baseball guru.
The Bee Charmer Review: B