Brad Pitt stars as Oakland As general manager Billy Beane

Aisle Seat: Sink your money in this Pitt

Moneyball: Four and a half stars out of 5

  • Sep. 30, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Bennett Miller’s Moneyball, based on the best selling book by Michael Lewis, is an especially unlikely candidate to hit a home run as a baseball movie.  I say unlikely, simply because this story spends such little time actually on the baseball field.

But, although this is as “front office” as sports fare can get, Moneyball emerges as one of the more riveting sports films in recent memory.

Really, how many flicks dive into the nuances of how the game really works: the jostling of the scouts, the power struggles, the balancing of the books, the piecing together of the club, the locker room fireworks, etc. It’s fascinating stuff, when done well. And make no mistake, Moneyball does it very, very well.

The plot follows Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) through the club’s memorable 2002 season. After choking in the ’01 divisional playoffs to the wealthier, more powerful Yankees (New York stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to win the series, three games to two), Beane and his crew are faced with the task of losing many of their guns to free agency, yet still trying to compete with a bargain basement allowance.

Knowing full well the system of finding the most talented athletes and throwing cash at them is flawed, Beane charts a different course for his team. Recruiting an Ivy League graduate (Jonah Hill), a whiz with computers and statistics, the GM attempts to re-build the A’s by using other team’s castoffs (rejected for various reasons, from age to injuries), so long as they come cheap and can get on base.

It doesn’t matter if Oakland has to walk its way to the pennant, just so long as they win –– Beane will take it.

The problem with this new system?  It’s new. The dinosaurs of baseball simply refuse to stand for tinkering with a formula that has been in place for more than 100 years.  And thus, you have your behind-the-scenes drama.

I won’t spoil the ending. Shoot, you could Wikipedia the Oakland Athletics and find out how it all comes together for yourself. Just know that Moneyball is a winner.

Pitt brings a genuine human element to the lead role. You don’t overly love Billy Beane, which is probably an impossible emotion to feel in regards to a major league baseball executive anyway, but you empathize with his struggles, you cheer for him on the home stretch, and you relate to his desire to not necessarily win, but to make a mark, both professionally and as a dad. (And by the way, Kerris Dorsey steals every scene she’s a part of as Beane’s daughter.)

Director Miller (Capote) has a good eye too. Moneyball is one good looking film. You don’t even have to enjoy the game of baseball to like it, but it doesn’t hurt.

The feature is currently playing at Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

–– Jason Armstrong is the movie reviewer for The Morning Star. His column, Aisle Sat, appears every Friday and Sunday.


Just Posted

Coldstream rainbow crosswalk defaced

Vandals cover colours with white paint sometime overnight Saturday

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

Dragon boats help fundbreast cancer treatment at Vernon hospital

The Dragon Boat Festival at Swan Lake on July 13 raised $2,020 for VJHF

Our History In Pictures

Band entertains crowd at downtown Vernon Eaton’s in 1960

Vernon speaker to motivate Cariboo residents after mill shutdowns

Change management speaker Mark DeVolder will deliver town hall keynote in 100 Mile House

When walls talk: Vernon murals see generation II

“This new movement, an app, will bring the strength of some of those same Vernon visionaries together again into a newdigital form”

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Hespeler had connection to Mennonite migration

Home in Summerland was built in 1907, moved when the highway was changed

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

Most Read