Perhaps the Red Sox should take a break, take a field trip, and see if the solution to their colossal and historic implosion can be found at the movies in the entertaining new film MONEYBALL. The movie champions those who challenge the conventional wisdom — the ho-hummers who always say, “But that’s how we’ve always done it– so it must be right,”– and reinforces those with the courage to not only think outside the box, but act on it. I LOVE when that happens. The film renewed my hope in the possible.
MONEYBALL stars Brad Pitt as renegade Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane who introduced the application of sabermetric principles–a specialized analysis of baseball stats– for recruiting a winning team. The light went on when he met Peter Brand, a numbers nerd from Yale. We all know the ending to this story, but it’s great to watch it play out.
Pitt is funny, low key, and believable and plays Beane as a quirky, “let’s cut through the “bs”to solve the problem” kind of guy. Pitt’s charisma made me want to know more, much more about Beane. We get a glimpse of his domestic situation in one brief scene where his ex (Robin Wright) and her dorky new partner uncomfortably entertain Billy in their posh digs while Billy waits to pick up his 13 year old daughter (the adorable Kerris Dorsey). This leads to one of the movie’s most endearing scenes and gave me a glimpse of how sweetly Pitt connects with children on– and perhaps off– the screen.
But the biggest surprise for me was Jonah Hill as wiz kid Peter Brand who nails Brand’s naive but ultimately well-founded confidence in his own analysis. Jonah looks like a “deer in the headlights” every time Pitt’s character addresses him onscreen. It’s hilarious. And then there’s the always dead on Philip Seymour Hoffman as A’s manager Art Howe. Howe comes off as a curmudgeon in the film and apparently the real ART HOWE is not happy with the portrayal. If that’s true, I’m not happy. But it’s not the first time co-writer Aaron Sorkin (THE SOCIAL NETWORK) has been accused of playing fast and loose with characters to pump up the drama.
I am not a sports afficionado, but MONEYBALL peaked my interest, and told me something I didn’t already know in an entertaining and comprehensible way. I loved the shots of Fenway park, and Arliss Howard as John Henry. I’d LOVE to hear what real baseball fans think–or even a player! For me? Not a home run– but a solid hit –with a Fenway Frank w/everything, on the side.