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

Memorial remembers Vernon’s most marginalized

Prayers and flowers for those who have died on the streets

One year later: Vernon pot stores look back at legalization

Edibles made legal on first anniversary of recreational cannabis

Vernon RCMP seek assistance in locating vehicle involved in hit and run

Vernon RCMP are searching for a grey sedan that struck a motorcycle on Oct. 8 at 48 Ave. and 24 St.

Great Vernon Pumpkin Race to star in South Korean documentary

Pumpkin Classic event to kick off this weekend with gourd weigh-ins

Okanagan College nursing students to make history in Thailand

Students to take on Vernon-born practicum overseas

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Letter: Small actions of North Okanagan-Shuswap candidates speak volumes

Writer commends Salmon Arm high school students for helping at all-candidates meeting

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

Okanagan candidates’ signs headed to dump

Dozens of signs were picked up for not complying with bylaws, according to the city

Salmon Arm arena told to upgrade ice chilling system in 2020 or face closure

Fatal ammonia leak in Fernie prompts Technical Safety BC to order 20-year-old chillers replacement

Police search Kelowna home, arrest 6 and seize 2000 marijuana plants

Police seized $1400 in cash, 95 pounds of dried marijuana bud and nearly 2000 plants

Most Read