I am not a follower of baseball, although I followed last seasons home town events with interest with the Giants, even watching the final of the World Series for the first time. Despite my rudimentary knowledge of the game, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
Moneyball tells of how Billy Beane, the Oakland A's general manager played by Brad Pitt, faced with limited resources, and losing some of his star players to the Yankees hires a Yale economics graduate and statistician played by Jonah Hill, and devises a system for buying undervalued players to replace the likes of Giambi, by looking at players in new ways.
It's a calculated risk that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, and met with much resistance on the field, within the club, and from the media. Suffice to say that previous methods of picking though amusing were highly dubious.
"He has an ugly girlfriend."
"What does that mean?"
"Ugly girlfriend means he has no confidence."
Memorable movie lines:
"The problem we're trying to solve is that there are rich teams, and there are poor teams. Then there's 50 feet of crap. And then there's us. It's an unfair game."
"I hate losing. I hate losing more than I love winning."
The screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin who created West Wing and won the Best Screenplay Oscar for The Social Network, and slides comfortably home with this effort.
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the unhappy team coach with whom Beane bumps heads. Robin Wright Penn plays his ex wife, now with a new man who does not follow baseball.
The character of Beane as depicted by Pitt seems somewhat oddball, so one wonders if Beane is really this odd, or if the screenwriter is imposing his own don't explain philosophy on the character. Brad loves to play with the eccentricites of his characters, whether it's outright craziness as in Twelve Monkeys or a thick accent as in Snatch. This really makes the movie, as Brad gives one of his best performances.
Even though I don't follow baseball, I do love a great story, and I can relate as a soccer follower, because we share a passion for a game, and can understand the frustration of supporting a team that has to make sacrifices of favorite players, and has less money than the big teams to compete for the same trophies.
So, if you're like me and don't usually follow baseball, I think you will like the movie because it's a good story, and you will love the quirkiness of the characters and their relationships. In the movie Beane has to make a very big decision, so there was an emotional bit where Beane is in the car by himself at the end, which I liked. I loved the relationhip with his daughter, and the overall shenanigans as he bumps heads with the other characters. I think Brad Pitt will probably gt an Oscar nomination for his prformance.
If you do follow baseball, you will probably enjoy it even more than I did. Moneyball gained six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor for Brad Pitt, and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill.
I think you will enjoy it, and I hope this was helpful.