MONEYBALL (Bennett Miller, 2011)
MONEYBALL, based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis, reinvigorates the sports drama genre, with its underdog tale and protagonist filled with conviction, yet what makes it a must-see is its exciting look at how the business of sports is played, which is certainly not via conformity.
Brad Pitt is in top shape portraying real-life Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane, a former baseball player turned scout trying to manage a losing team. The action begins as Beane defies industry standards and experiments using a calculated approach into predicting success, known as sabermetrics. With the help of Yale-educated economics graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane pushes the limits, much to the dismay of almost everyone around him.
The movie takes its time to let its characters explore their potentials, and to build up the result of its analytical premise. In between, flashbacks of Beane’s life as a youngster with his life ahead of him help shape the decisions his character faces in present time.
Basically another tale of David versus Goliath, in the spirit of THE BLIND SIDE (which is also written by Michael Lewis, but this is way better than THE BLIND SIDE), MONEYBALL proves triumphant in the sense that any risk is worth taking instead of not having taken any risk at all, no matter the outcome. While not really original in its take on follow your dreams and for love of the game pegs, the movie’s heart, Brad Pitt’s unique and charismatic portrayal of Beane, and Bennett Miller’s relaxed and observational direction create a comforting mood that entertains you even if you’re not a baseball fan.
In the end, it’s not about whether or not you win or lose, but what legacy you leave behind and what choices you took. Never mind ridicule, or doubt, or even failure— MONEYBALL reaffirms our belief in the power of a great game. The Oakland A’s crucial battle for the record-breaking 20 straight wins during the movie’s climax is a testament to that.
I especially love that part during the end where Peter was showing Beane a video of how one baseball player hit a home run and didn’t even realize, yielding unexpected comic results. It’s these little trinkets that make MONEYBALL a great sports movie.