REVIEW: Moneyball

"A solid sports film with intelligence and heart."

The true story of Billy Beane's life and love for the game of baseball.  Drafted just out High School with loads of talent and ambition, Billy gave it his all but didn't become the superstar he and others thought he would.  He instead gives up the life of a player to become a scout in hopes of changing things up with some theories everyone considers laughable.

Hollywood has always been good at turning sports into film, or more specifically turning dull, boring or monotonous sports into provocative, entertaining and even fun films.  In this case we have baseball, the American pastime.  I've never understood the allure of baseball myself (I'm a football guy, and no, I don't mean soccer), nine innings is a longass time to remain focussed and vigilant and is it me, or does baseball seem abnormally difficult when it comes to getting on base.  There's a fleet of people in the field, at every angle, and when these guys are "on" if you're not hitting a homerun you're not getting on base.  I have respect for the sport and as such, I was happy to learn just how much fun MONEYBALL could be.  This was one true story worth telling.

The idea behind this film is ingenious to say the least and what makes it compelling is that Brad Pitt's character Billy Beane is probably the ballsiest dude in sports today for rolling the dice the way he did.  I mean talk about putting your nuts on the chopping block!  I'm not going to assume people know the outcome nor will I assume they don't (it being a recent story after all), but suffice to say there are still a couple surprises in there for people who don't know what's going to happen. 

Brad Pitt is a seasoned veteran of the biz in my opinion.  I didn't care for INGLORIOUS BASTARDS at all, but it was watchable due mostly to his performance.  He's one of those actors who can play just about any role and I'll watch it (that said, BENJAMINE BUTTON wasn't exactly my brand of vodka either but I watched it anyway).  The tabloids have run amuck with the man's life these past few  years but thankfully it hasn't affected his abilities on set.  He and Jonah Hill work well together and as for Hill, he excels here in a "not so funny" role better than you'd expect.  The tone is strictly drama, but there's more than enough witty dialogue to break the brooding silence with laughter.

MONEYBALL is about baseball, but at the same time it's a social commentary prod at just how money driven and disloyal players, coaches and even owners have become, intertwined with their dependency upon the old school mentality of fear driven "safe" tactics rather than ambitious drive.  There is much to be said in afterthought when the credits roll and that's the absolute thrill of this game.  I don't like baseball, but I was blown away by the small print side of things that go mostly unnoticed to fans and those outside the game circle.  This is a perfect example of how great storytelling and solid acting can make nearly any two hours of filmmaking interesting...even if it's about baseball.

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