Everyone likes a good underdog story.
Just think about all the past sports movies that stick in your memory as classics: “The Replacements,” the never-ending underdog story of the “Rocky” movies and then the always hysterical “Major League” franchise starring the infamous Charlie Sheen as the wild man pitcher. How strange that the part he played there somehow continued on in his personal life.
Well, “Moneyball” follows the concept of an underdog story but with a dollop of truth.
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the general manager of the Oakland Athletics’ baseball team who after a winning season lost out to the Yankees in the end.
This is seen as a given statement since the New York Yankees salary budget is significantly larger than the A’s.
So, as Beane prepares for the next season, three of his best players sign with different teams. Jason Giambi, the biggest star of the three, is signed to the Yankees leaving a large gap in the roster for the next season.
Beane, as the general manager, now has to reconstruct the team to be competitive again with the same low salary cap and lack of talent that he can pick up.
While on a trip to Cleveland for some discussions on trading players he runs into Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a young economist with a pension for statistics and computer models, and after hearing Brand discuss his theory of how baseball rosters should be developed with building a team instead of buying stars is struck with a new possibility of making a winning team.
This then kicks off with the building and recruiting of a misfit group of athletes from around the country.
The plot reminds me of the “Major League” movies of the nineties with the idea of a loser misfit team trying to win a championship and how much of an uphill battle it becomes.
Although the comedy of “Moneyball” is not nearly as slapstick as “Major League”, between Pitt and Hill, the film does have its funny moments.
Most of the onscreen dialogue and drama is carried by these two genre defining actors.
Hill with the young hip comedies and Pitt with the earth shaking dramas; together they combine their talents into really making the story behind “Moneyball” into a personable journey. At moments you can feel the frustration that Pitt exudes as he fails over and over again.
While there is some side family drama with Beane and his daughter, it’s mostly used as a tool to help motivate him to continue his battle with the established baseball ways.
His head coach, Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), is the rigid old ways of baseball to an extent as he fights the new way of how the business is being run.
At moments I expected Pitt and Hoffman to come to blows in the clubhouse after a rough losing streak as they argued over the starting lineup.
For all you sports or baseball fanatics, make a point to go see “Moneyball” with the intention of watching a true underdog story unfold and be prepared for the emotional journey that it takes you on.
Now, there isn’t a whole lot on field action to feel the romantic classic baseball moments but when they do happen they have more power behind them because of the individual action rather than suspenseful build up that you would expect.
Most of the played games are just heard rather than seen as Pitt listens to a radio in a secluded area of the stadium.
In conclusion, the movie can be seen as quite boring to the non sports fan; but the story is tight and has a fulfilling conclusion.
If you are a fan of simple, heartfelt stories then consider “Moneyball”.
Guys, take your girlfriends if they liked “Rocky” and don’t if they liked “Never Back Down” since there isn’t any eye candy or tense sexual moments.
Also if you think dialogue is hard then also steer far away and try “Abduction” with that “Twilight” loser in it.