Rating: 5 stars out of 5
The Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt
The Buzz: Based on a true story, "Moneyball" is based on the book of the same name. Stuck in development since 2007, Steven Soderberg's interpretation of the project famously fell apart with days to go before shooting.
The Story: After losing to the New York Yankees in a game 7 in the Playoffs, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) has the tough job of rebuilding the team when the team loses its stars to teams with much deeper pockets.
He tries to persuade his owner for more money but is refused. At a meeting with the GM of the Cleveland Indians, he gets an unexpected lifeline when he meets Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a statistics analyst.
He hires Brand and together, they try to get an edge over their opponents through the use of statistical analysis, but their biggest obstacles may prove to be their own staff, who balk at the methods of the stat geeks.
inSing.com thinks: The subject of the movie might sound daunting, but fret not... the beauty of the movie is that it's not really about the stats. Much of the movie is focused on Beane and Brand as they take on all comers in their quest to field a team in their budget capable of competing for a championship, and in the process, change the game of baseball.
The book's subtitle read "The Art of Winning An Unfair Game" and indeed, it's very much an underdog story, as a failed baseball player and a Yale Economics graduate start questioning the methods that have been used for over a hundred years over the history of baseball. The players who are chosen by Brand and Beane are outcasted rejects, making them very easy to root for.
There are some magical moments in the film, such as the 20 game winning streak, that'll make you want to cheer along as loudly as you, fist clenched in the air. Both Pitt and Hill inject the right amount of wittiness and charm to their roles, making the whole affair a fun but also entirely believable one.
What the movie does translate well is that even if you don't like baseball, the movie is easily understood by anyone who's been an ardent sports fan of any team. In this day and age, it's hard to argue with the numbers, especially when they produce results.
However, as Beane says in the movie, "How can you not be romantic about baseball?" As cold as those numbers are, people always hold hope that the minute 0.6 percent chance of the impossible happens. It's that optimistic hoping and wishing that always has fans pumped up for the upcoming season, even if the team is a roster full of scrubs. The slim hope that a player would rise out of nowhere... (Jeremy Lin, anyone?)
So, watch this movie and think about why we do the things that we do. Is there a better transport system than boxes on wheels? Probably. You just might change the world. But hey, fame and fortune might not follow. Billy Beane did change the game. His influence is starting to be seen in other sports like basketball where statistical analysis has gained prominence.
And not just sports too, as "Moneyball" just happens to be one of the best sports films ever. It accurately captures the passion and harsh reality that comes with sports. So, get on base and watch it.