A Movie Review By Joseph Hagen
Moneyball follows the true story of underdog Billy Beane, the General Manager of the 2002 Oakland Athletics, as he battles the evil juggernaut of baseball financial overlords (New York Yankees) to change the face to professional baseball forever.
Filled with heart, Moneyball is more than just a good baseball film … it’s really just an overall GOOD film. With a fantastic script by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, great casting, strong character development, solid acting, beautiful cinematography and perfect pacing make Moneyball a wonderfully constructed film.
The part of Beane, a good-looking former ballplayer, was tailor made for Brad Pitt. His natural charisma meshes perfectly with the material. Not a usual fan of Pitt’s work, I was taken with this performance and can think of no other role in which he is more likable, funny and interesting.
Jonah Hill brings restraint to his usual shtick through his performance as the green assistant manager Peter Brand. Hill is charming, fun and acts as a much needed foil to Pitt.
Most baseball films, despite their best efforts, portray baseball as a cheesy, dramatic and overly sentimental game. Fortunately, Moneyball does not fall into this well. The film takes it’s time and gives enough depth to its characters that by the time the sporting climax happens, you genuinely care and root for the characters. No cheese. No slow-motion blur. No rock music build-up… it’s just straight-up good storytelling.
It is evident that the actors in this film playing ballplayers have actually picked up a bat and ball at some point in their lives. This is Moneyball’s other strength. There are no awkward Brendan Fraser/Matt LeBlanc swings here. One scene shows longtime All-Star David Justice, played by Stephen Bishop, hitting in a batting cage. Bishop’s swing is smooth and convincing, something typically not taken into consideration when casting a baseball film.
Moneyball is a really fun movie to watch. Heavy on the baseball references, it nonetheless has enough heart to keep both fans and non-fans entertained from beginning to end with the timeless theme of David vs. Goliath. Tons of heart and a top of the line script make Moneyball one of the best films I have seen this year.
“It’s hard not to be romantic about Baseball.” - Billy Beane