Monday, November 7, 2011

Monkey at the Movies: Moneyball

Mr. Remarkable Monkey and I finally got around to seeing "Moneyball" last week. It was pretty good. In case you don't know, it's based on the Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) and his quest to find a way to field a winning MLB team for the 2002 season with one of the lowest payrolls in the league.

I'm not an avid baseball fan, so some of the references and info probably went over my head, but the film holds up and is interesting for even a casual fan like myself. It's also a very quiet movie... literally. There seemed to be several scenes with periods of complete silence. That's not a bad thing... it just struck me as unusual in this era of explosions and loud rockin' soundtracks. I don't remember the last time I was in a movie theater and noticed such stillness... like everyone was trying not to munch their popcorn or rattle their candy wrappers too loudly during those quiet scenes.

Anyway, the movie gives you and inside look at what it took to build that 2002 A's team, and what it took to turn their slow start into a winning season. It wasn't easy. Billy Beane and his assistant GM Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) were trying to do things much differently than other MLB teams. Brand had earned an economics degree from Yale, and had a completely different approach on how to draft players. Together, they implemented Brand's system, and though it didn't win them the World Series, it got them close. It also made an impression on other teams, which is evident in the film's closing scenes. (Think 2004 Red Sox.)

One thing in the movie that bothered me was Pitt's frequent use of "dip", and the accompanying spitting into cups, etc. I realize he was probably trying to be true to the real life Billy Beane, but I found it terribly distracting and totally unnecessary. If it had somehow been integral to the plot or the character, it may not have seemed so gratuitous. But it didn't really add anything, and I would hate for younger boys to think it's cool since Brad Pitt did it in that baseball movie.

Overall, it was definitely worth the price of a matinee. Not sure how much longer it will be in theaters, so catch it quick or check it out on dvd, pay-per-view, Netflix or however you prefer to watch movies at home.

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