Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12-18-11: Dollars versus Averages

MONEYBALL (2011) (PG-13) 133 mins. **** D: Bennett Miller. Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Kerris Dorsey.

After losing his top players to free agency, Oakland A's GM Billy Beane sets out to put together a contending team with what little budget he has.

This solid sports drama is based on the best-seller that chronicles how Billy Beane was able to use statistics and analysis to put together a team that appeared to be doomed to fail but proved incredibly successful.

This is an engaging film whether you're a fan of baseball or not. It's a fascinating study and uplifting story about how one man was able to achieve what many consider impossible. In the process he changed the way some management approaches the game. The story begins in the early '00s when many believed the Yankees were, and many believe they still are, buying championships by spending millions to get big name players. Beane pieced together a team based on the individual player's statistics. Nowadays no one really gives this much thought since just about everyone has played a fantasy draft at some point.

Brad Pitt is great as Beane. Proud, ambitious, optimistic but at times unsure. Jonah Hill was a surprise. As of late I've grown tired of his schtick. He always seems to play the same guy or just himself no matter what movie he's in. He should do more dramas.

This is very much a baseball film but it's not about the game but the business itself. If you're a fan you're gonna eat this up. If you're not you'll be entertained by a very engaging film about one man against Major League Baseball. This is one of the best films of the year.

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