Moneyball (Sony Pictures)
Release Date: Sept. 23
Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright
Moneyball is like no baseball movie we've ever seen. Based on Michael Lewis' bestselling book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, the film spends more time in the dingy offices underneath the Oakland Coliseum than on the Coliseum field itself. It's a movie about statistics, scouting, free agency and baseball politics; yet, it explores themes any athlete can instantly identify with.
Moneyball follows Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) throughout the 2002 baseball season. In the film, as he was in life, Beane is tasked with rebuilding his small-market club after three of the A's biggest stars leave for larger contracts.
Instead of relying on the same kind of scouting reports GMs have used for decades, Beane turns to advanced statistics. Aided by a young Yale economics grad named Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), he sets out to fill his roster with players undervalued by his competitors. His strategy is simple: find players who get on base, and disregard everything else.
The result is a hodgepodge of players who seem only slightly more competent than the cast of Major League. And when the A's get off to a slow start, Beane gets second-guessed by everyone from sports radio callers to his own staff. But did he actually make the right decisions?
Moneyball is the only baseball movie that features a trade scene more exciting than late-inning heroics. Athletes who check it out in theaters this weekend may identify more with Billy Beane than with any athlete they've seen on screen. Beane's determination to change the game by forging his own path can serve as an inspiration to underdogs in any sport.
This sports film replaces the training montage with a statistics montage, yet somehow it manages to be one of the most entertaining movies we've seen all year. If you see Moneyball this weekend (it comes out Friday, Sept. 23), let your fellow STACKletes know what you thought by grading the film on our Facebook wall.
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