"The problem we're trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there's fifty feet of crap, and then there's us.'
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the general manager of Oakland Athletics--or the A's--who's below fifty feet of crap, with only $38 million on their 2002 payroll (compared to the $126 million of the New York Yankees) and on a losing streak. If you say you hate sports or you don't care the least about baseball, then Moneyball, nominated Oscar Best Picture this year, will fascinate you.
Based on Michael Lewis's bestselling business book of the same title, we follow the true story of Billy Beane as he reinvents baseball, defying the rules of scouting for ballplayers-- relying on science and statistics to put together a championship team to compete against rich teams. Together with a 25-year-old Economics Yale graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a non-athlete follower of statistical guru Bill James, Beane drafts ballplayers based on algorithms, not on the usual criteria for picking out players. He picks the funny, the almost-lame, the almost-freaks, and the insecure for a bargain price, seeing their value based on sabermetrics. As a result, Beane earns the shock and ridicule of the baseball community; he is ostracized and mocked. But Beane stubbornly sticks to his unorthodox management. Will it work? Or will he validate the world's view of him as a cuckoo who diminishes the romance in baseball?
With a brilliant screenplay by Steve Zaillian (Schindler's List) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), under the masterful direction of Bennett Miller (Capote), Moneyball is a triumphant film adaptation, a movie with a heart and soul despite the hard and cold numbers used to measure the value of a ballplayer. Brad Pitt, Oscar-nominated for Best Actor in this movie as the tobacco-chewing, chair-throwing Beane, is captivating and enigmatic, surprisingly effective-- and a delight to watch with Jonah Hill. And what is distinctly excellent about this movie is the way the characters' dialogues flow, complement, and clash together. Also, the baseball sentiments in the movie, the attitudes, the unpredictable tide of losing and winning, can be applied to life in general and will move you in many ways.
With cutting dialogue and sharp humor, elegant and beautiful cinematography (incorporated with real life footages), intelligent narrative, and a musical score that adds to the thrill of Beane revolutionizing the game, the movie is flawless. It's straightforward yet romantic, funny yet dramatic, deadpan yet thrilling, slick and savvy, and surprisingly touching.
Out of all the nine Oscar Best Picture nominees, it was Moneyball that gave me goosebumps.
Hits theaters on March 7, 2012