Walking into the movie theater to see Moneyball, I had my doubts. Will this capture what the book is about? How can Brad Pitt play a hot-head GM like Billy Beane? Is this going to be another Hollywood interpretation of the true essence of sports? To say the least, I had my doubts. I had very low expectations as the lights dimmed and the previews started rolling.
But from the moment the opening scene began with the highlights of the 2001 ALDS, my questions were answered and my skepticism disappeared. I thought that director Bennett Miller captured the true meaning of Moneyball on several levels throughout the movie. From touching on Beane’s underwhelming playing career to the great deal of opposition the A’s GM faced in and out of the organization, Miller managed to include almost everything into the movie. Although if you did not read the book I think some aspects may be lost on the general public, but for those of us who did so, there are obviously many tips-of-the-hat to the novel.
Brad Pitt was absolutely phenomenal in playing Billy Beane in this film. Originally I could not picture Pitt playing a loose-cannon baseball general manager like Beane, but he pulled it off and then some. Pitt was the perfect actor for this role, playing the character of an unconventional, temperamental executive who uses a “bull-in-a-china-shop” approach to get what he wants be it Scott Hatteburg, Jeremy Brown or John Mabry. Whether it is chucking a television across the hallway or taking a baseball bat to the clubhouse stereo, Pitt seamlessly played the borderline-insane, yet lovable protagonist.
Jonah Hill, normally a drunk teenager in most of his films, played Peter Brand (Paul DePodesta) very well for being out of his element. He performed as Beane’s side-kick and offered some comedic moments throughout the film.
I was glad to see that the “Rudy moment”, if you will, of this film was not an altered world championship, as speculated by many, but instead focused on the record 20-game win streak that the A’s put together in their 103-win season.
I thought the film was well made, and stuck to the actual story Michael Lewis meant to tell when he wrote the novel. It was nice to see for once that a director did a book justice instead of taking poetic license.