In Theatres: 
Sep 23, 2011
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 2 Minutes

When it comes to baseball, typically the men with the biggest pockets can simply buy the best teams. I mean, just look at the New York Yankees. It’s no coincidence that they lead the league in both revenue and World Series titles. This means that small, cheaper teams like the Oakland Athletics have little chance of rising to the top when they can’t afford to pay for the best of the best.

Based on the 2003 book by the same name, Moneyball attempts to defy all standards when it comes to putting together a baseball team by only looking at statistics of players, rather than other factors that are often considered important.

Athlethics General Manger Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is tired of losing players to bigger teams such as the Yankees. With only a fraction of the budget of New York, Beane decides to try someone unconventional and hires Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a Harvard economics graduate who isn’t too familiar with baseball but knows a hell of a lot about numbers. The two of them put together a team comprised of players nobody wanted because they had some sort of defect. One thing they did have in common was a high on base percentage, a factor that way key in Beane’s managerial style.

If you’re a fan of baseball, then you’re going to love Moneyball. It’s packed full of interesting statistics and meets that go far deeper than what people see on the playing field. Typically these types of sports films tend to focus on the players or head coaches. Not this one. If you’re interested in learning about what goes on behind the scenes of baseball and what the general manager exactly does, Moneyball hits the strike zone.

Even if you’re not into baseball, you can still get a good story out of it. Brad Pitt excels as the managing tycoon Billy Beane. He’s not one to stand down from a conflict, even if he knows he’s going to lose. This isn’t your stereotypical David versus Goliath underdog story that has been done time and time again, though. Moneyball shifts focus to the bigger picture showing how Beane flipped baseball on its head and essentially changed that game forever.

Sure, some people will tell you that baseball is more than just stats and numbers but others will say that the proof is in the wins. No doubt the Athletics were doing something right and other teams would eventually follow suit.

Peter Brand is practically the complete opposite, however. Nobody has taken him seriously up until now so his confidence is practically nonexistent. Still, he knows his stuff and Jonah Hill puts on a performance we haven’t seen from the actor yet. He proves to audiences that he’s not just some fat loveable goof who’s good for a few laughs but that he can be taken seriously as an actor.

Moneyball provides a detailed look into what goes on off the field and in the locker room of professional baseball, and it does so in a way that’ll make you think. It’s an excellent blend of fact and fiction. Baseball fans will no doubt love every minute of it but non sports fans can find something to cling to as well, although the 2+ hour running time may seem a bit daunting. In the end, however, Moneyball strikes out the competition and shows that even the little guy can get his time in the spotlight. 

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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