MikeBSG wrote:I just watched "Moneyball" (2011). While it had some good scenes, I was ultimately disappointed in the movie. I know it is mandatory in some circles to mock "The Natural," with its focus on "the big game," but "Moneyball" looks at the whole of a baseball season, and there is no real drama there. (Indeed, "Moneyball" has its own 'big game' with a last minute homer to save the day.)
But I guess what really bugged me about "Moneyball" is that it is a management movie. It basically celebrates a guy who realizes he can wipe out one class of worker (the scouts) with a computer software program. The most important skill he has is to be able to say to people "Pack your bags, you've been traded/sent down." And this is the hero of the movie. Not only that, but the movie takes the view that anyone who sees baseball as being more than statistics is a dinosaur.
There are some entertaining scenes here, but the ultimate implications of "Moneyball" leave me cold.
RedRiver wrote:The concept of MONEYBALL leaves me cold too. I haven't seen it. But I don't want to. Certainly, I've heard it's very good. I could be more open minded. But a movie about accounting? Why not one about...baseball?
moirafinnie wrote:You really make me glad I overlooked Moneyball the other day at the library. I thought that the press made it sound like a pretty good underdog movie, but now I don't know if it is worth the time.
I think Moneyball
is one of the best sports movies I've seen. Considering that the film is "based on a true story" about a single Oakland A's season, and the outcome of that season is well known (or easy to look up), it's amazing how much drama and suspense the film actually offers. While an integral part of the film's story (but really only part of the actual events) I think the filmmakers came up with extraordinary ways to make potentially non visual components compelling and dramatic.
Since the story does follow actual events, it doesn't succumb to the Hollywood formula where the hero/team has overcome their misfortunes and struggles and finally and miraculously gets to compete in the big game, where, win or lose, they win. There is plenty of baseball in Moneyball
, but even non-fans may know that the A's didn't make it to the World Series (eliminated in round one), and, despite possibly knowing the outcome of their winning streak, particularly the infamous/famous game 20 (which is still edge of your seat riveting, even knowing the outcome), Moneyball's
arc isn't dependent on any one big game, but rather the success or failure of General Manager Billy Beane. If a formula applies at all, I suppose Moneyball
is more the underdog beating an unfair system.
But really, Moneyball
is about baseball. Behind the scenes, on the field, in the locker room, Moneyball
is about the love of the game. The personal love of the game. (While not necessarily a spoiler, the next bit describes one of the most powerful and quiet sequences in the film and is the one that more-or-less defined Moneyball
for me). The seminal moment in the film is after a climactic meeting, where Beane has a difficult choice to make (again, for many, the outcome is already known, but it doesn't matter). Beane simply goes out and lays down in the ball field. But crucially, we see him, not in a glorious Brad Pitt closeup, but rather through a security cam monitor, which is from Jonah Hill's character's perspective. Amazingly intimate, and while it may not exactly draw a tear, it's pretty darn moving.
Except that they both center around baseball, I personally don't see how to compare Moneyball
and The Natural
. One is based on true events and the other is fantasy. Both are fine movies, but are telling vastly different stories. Yes the arc in The Natural
is more traditional storytelling, and the film is very emotional (with a big assist from Randy Newman's score, which for me, is overpowering), but Moneyball
has it's own arc and is equally powerful. And if you want tears, Jeremy Brown's "unknown" home run at least comes close to Roy Hobbs' night-lights shattering homer.
Far from being a movie about accounting or the dismissing of scouts (one "villain" is fired in the film and Beane himself was once a scout), Moneyball
shows how embracing some new ways of doing things can actually work. (So well, in fact, that the Red Sox, who embraced the system, finally won a World Series--as horribly as that is. Let's forget the Sox and use the Marlins instead.) Aaron Sorkin's dialogue sizzles, as usual, and all of the performances are terrific, particularly Brad Pitt, who shows a confidence and vulnerability at the same time. In a year that turned out to have a number of really good movies, Moneyball
is certainly up there among them.
It also should be noted that Moneyball
is a film for everybody, not just fans of baseball. My wife, who tolerates me having a game on while I'm cooking, found the film to be so interesting and involving that she is now reading the book.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS