“Moneyball”, a based on the true story of Billy Beane and the 2002 Oakland Athletics comes out on Friday, September 23rd everywhere. I was lucky enough to catch an advanced screening of it earlier this week. Is it worth your time to head to the theater?
Let’s start off by talking letting you know ‘Moneyball’ is based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis (‘The Blindside’). The book chronicles the Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and his attempt to change how a baseball team is formed. I must tell you I’ve read the book six times and I grew up spending at least 30 days or nights a year at the Oakland Coliseum watching my beloved Oakland A’s. But let’s not worry about that and let’s get to the review.
‘Moneyball’ starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane and Jonah Hill as Beane’s young Yale graduate assistant GM Peter Brand. Brand has an interesting way of looking at baseball that intrigues Beane, a former player who was highly touted as a potential superstar who never panned out. Brand doesn’t look at size, skill or what kind of girlfriend a player has; he focuses on the numbers and he believes within numbers there is value. Beane needs value because the Oakland A’s don’t have a lot of money to spend and they just lost their three best players.
The movie takes you through the trials and tribulations of Beane and Brand as they try to change the way everyone in the A’s organization thinks. You watch as old scouts fight back, a manager that doesn’t want to listen to the General Manager and an owner who doesn’t want to spend another dime.
The action on the field is limited as there aren’t many scenes that take place on the field. Most of the action comes from the chair throwing Beane in the catacombs of the Oakland Coliseum. You also get a great look at Beane with his daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey), which brings him down from the emotional roller coaster of running a Major League team.
The director Bennett Miller does a great job of incorporating actual audio from games along with video. As an A’s fan it was nice to hear the voice of the late great Bill King again calling the action along with other A’s broadcasters. Everything about the flow, the characters and the story for this movie is intriguing and well executed. (The minute details, like the outfield walls that were changed to represent the 2002 Coliseum will be missed by most and didn’t need to be done, but I really enjoyed the details Miller made sure were right with that kind of stuff.)
I would give this movie an A for overall feel, good flow and a fantastic story. Obviously I’m a little bias. I lived through the winning streak the movie uses as the climax of the movie. I like to say it was the best fan time of my life. But I believe the movie resonates with everyone. It isn’t so much a movie about the baseball as it is a movie about a business idea and the man behind that idea. Brad Pitt makes Billy Beane a likeable intense company manager who with severe financial restrictions has to figure out a way to make his business thrive. His business just happens to be baseball. Whether you’ve read the book, are a baseball fan or just like a good movie, this movie is worth the time. Will i go see it again? Yes. Will I wear my A’s gear…probably, maybe I’ll even bring my glove.