Moneyball is award worthy
It’s as if Hollywood has heard all my internal silent screaming, begging them to STOP already with the aliens, Superhero’s, and general lack of thought. Give me something intelligent, and real—something that makes me feel like I didn’t just light that $10 bill on fire and sit in a dark room for 90 minutes. Well, hello ‘Moneyball’----you have given me hope.
THE GOOD: Let’s get one thing straight, right up front here—I don’t like baseball. I went to one professional game of the Colorado Rockies years ago---who they were playing has been long forgotten and probably wasn’t even something I noticed at the time anyway--and the only thing I enjoyed about it was how cute one of the players was. Taking it even further, I don’t understand the whole “sports fanatic” mentality of ANY sport. Women who lose their husbands to a giant screen t.v. for months on end, men who become absolutely ENRAGED when some guy in black and white stripes has the audacity to point down the field in what is CLEARLY the wrong direction. The obscenely overpaid athletes who seem bent on self destructing right before our eyes. And don’t get me started on the whole face and body paint thing. Or giant cheese hats. So, you can understand that I had my reservations about this movie, and quite frankly, 10 minutes into it I found myself thinking “Well, at least Brad Pitt is pretty, and will serve as a focal point for me to get through this”. So knowing my total lack of interest in this sport, imagine my surprise when I found myself actually ENJOYING watching baseball. If you don’t know the premise of the storyline, this is a semi-biographical story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt doing the honors), General Manager of the Oakland A’s and his effort to assemble a winning team with very little funding, based on a computer based analysis of statistics. With the help of Ivy League graduate Peter Brand (played beautifully by Jonah Hill), they begin signing players that “experts” have labeled as flawed, but have the potential to make up a winning team. The dialogue is amazingly ‘unscripted’-feeling. And watching the process of building this new ball club leaves you hoping against hope that it will work. It’s a smart movie, with moments of humor that are so real, you feel like you are part of the team, not an audience member. Brad Pitt has emerged into an amazing actor and his timing in this movie is just spot on. He’s nice to look at too. There’s definitely that.
THE BAD: The movie has a slow start, which is why I found myself early on worrying that Brad was going to have to carry the whole thing on the merits of his looks alone. Maybe the director was trying to establish the anguish Billy Beane was feeling after another in a long line of losses. He got the anguish part right at least. It does pick up quickly after that, so just hang in there. There is also a side story of Billy’s ex-wife (Robin Wright) and daughter (Kerris Dorsey) that might have been nice to have developed just a little more—it’s never really clear what went wrong, but whatever it was, she obviously ended up with all his money. And a dorky new husband. Probably the weirdest part in the storyline, however, was when Billy was getting ready to put his 12 year old daughter on a plane back to mom after a visit with him. The little girl expresses her concern about her dad’s career and future, and in an effort to take her mind off of it, he offers up something along the lines of “Why are you so worried about me? You should be more worried about that plane you’re getting on—those things crash you know!” Giant epic parenting fail. I think it was meant to be funny, but as a parent---and someone who is deathly afraid of flying---I couldn’t imagine saying something so stupid to your child. But what do I know? I think giant foam fingers are silly too.
THE UGLY: Apparently, it is fundamentally necessary to SPIT as a baseball player. No one knows exactly why, but the game just isn’t worth playing if these men don’t have a giant wad of something in their bottom lip. Can you imagine if all sports had this unwritten requirement? Sunflower shells all over the tennis courts, big wads of chaw littering the swimming pool. It would be total chaos. And gross. Don’t forget gross.
So don’t misunderstand me: I still don’t like baseball and I will forever be grateful for a husband who DOESN’T park his butt on the couch to watch the playoffs—of ANYTHING. But whether you are a sports fan or not, this film will leave you feeling like you got your money’s worth. It’s a statistical certainty.
The Trophy Wife gives this 4 ˝ trophies.
Moneyball has a running time of 133 minutes and is rated PG 13 for strong language. (F word used twice)