Saturday, October 15, 2011

Brad Pitt can play on my team anytime - Moneyball makes baseball romantic!

Moneyball is a home run. Moneyball knocks it out of the park. I could go on with the baseball themed cliches but the point is, what a wonderful film. Now the film is based on the book, "Moneyball, the art of winning an unfair game" by Michael M. Lewis. Did I read the book? Not a chance! The book explores how the GM of the Oakland Athletics turned the team with the lowest payroll in baseball into a winning ball team - while they didn't win the series in 02, they did have a 20 game winning streak. Billy Beane, (played by Brad Pitt) the GM was (and is) a former baseball player himself who was recruited right out of high school. Unfortunately, his career as a player didn't pay off. He just didn't have the juice! As GM, he uses stats and analysis to recruit undervalued players and assemble a team of affordable winners.

Not a book I would read. But put that theme of turning losers into winners onto the screen and suddenly, "Baseball" as Billy Beane says in the movie "is romantic." There are some lovely lovely moments when I actually got a tad choked up rooting for the underdog, hoping they would win and then watching them score victory. Jonah Hill was terrific as the somewhat terrified young baseball analysist, Phillip Seymour Hoffman always brings his A game - I don't think he knows how to do anything other than embody each character he plays. The casting of the young Billy Beane is bizarre - the supposedly 18 year old player looks absolutely nothing like Pitt. Played by Reed Thompson, in the film he has dark hair, appears taller, and has none of Pitt's sex appeal. I jsut don't understand it - it's not like they had to cast a good ball player; you would think that finding a Brad Pitt look-alike would be job one! Admittedly, in his imdb pic, there's a bit more of a resemblance (soft pouty lips, pretty eyes). Seeing him as the young Beane pulled me out of the story every single time but then the scene would return to Pitt and I'd happily forget the incongruity. Another casting wierdness was Robin Wright as the wife - totally underused and unnecessary for an actress of her caliber to play such a small part. Was it a favor to a friend, a paycheck, a chance to work with Brad Pitt or the director. And speaking of the director, Bennett Hill has an interesting story. He has been friends with Phillip Seymour Hoffman since high school and directed Hoffman in Capote. Hill received an Oscar nomination for his work on HIS DEBUT FILM! And could very well recieve an Oscar nod for his work here. What came first the director or the smallish part for Hoffman in this terrifc film? Another high note, adorable Kerris Dorsey as Beane's daughter and her performance of Lenka's The Show. Watch the trailer put together with the song, above.

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