I went with my girlfriend to see ‘Moneyball’ starring Brad Pitt Saturday night, and we both really enjoyed it. In fact, my girlfriend went to the movie saying she had no idea what it was going to be about but she’d still go with me. She left saying, “Awesome movie.”
For my girlfriend to call ‘Moneyball,’ a movie about Billy Beane the general manager of the Oakland Athletics based on the book by Michael Lewis, “awesome” says quite a lot. The film was in fact, “awesome.” I agree.
There were a few things which I really enjoyed in the movie. First, the use of sound — or lack there of. In many instances of the movie, there is silence, no background music or anything. The use of silence is important in this movie to show its realness. While I’ll admit the silence was awkward for a while — after all I don’t watch many movies where I’m watching long pauses of dead silence — I got used to it and it was actually a really interesting part of the movie.
A lot happens in the silence. It’s a general manager thinking about the decisions, in this case cavalier ones, he is making. It’s a general manager going back and forth in his head about whether to trade a player or not. It’s a workingman trying to deal with all the rumors of him being fired after the season in his own head. It’s a dad missing his daughter, not knowing what he’ll do if he gets fired and has to move away. So much happens in the silence, so much goes unsaid, that silence is a major positive part of the movie.
Another feature of the movie I really liked was the use of real bits of commentary and real bits of video. All of the sound bites from baseball commentators, radio talk shows, etc., in the movie are real and they’ll send shivers down your spine at times during this movie. The use of real bits of video and sound is especially effective during the Oakland A’s historic winning streak.
While this use of real footage comes as a great success for this movie, it also left a hole on the other side. I’m a fan of movies like Miracle and Glory Road, where the events of a game are very much realistic. Well, other than the real bits of footage, the moments shown in the game are very much staged — and you can tell. The “field” is movie-lit and dim. It’s the perfect stage to do this, but it threw me off from the real footage. I expected footage on the field that really looked like it was at the A’s stadium. However, I don’t exactly know how I feel about this. I understand it was used to feature these moments, and not so much to look extremely realistic, but I don’t really know if I like it or not.
These features are each great in their own right for this movie. These two features are especially great, but there is plenty of other good stuff about this movie.
The story line is especially unique, seeing a movie of a general manager. It’s behind the scenes like you’ve always wanted to see. I enjoyed this movie so much that at random points in the movie I wanted to go home and play an MLB video game and be a GM like Billy Beane. That’s when I really know I like a movie.
Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill played great roles, Pitt playing as Beane and Hill playing as Beane’s assistant (and the brains behind “buying wins”). Pitt really dials in a great performance going through all the emotions you can imagine Billy Beane would’ve gone through.
Since this is a true story, don’t go to this movie expecting a solid conclusion or happy ending, because it is neither. But that’s OK. The reason there isn’t a solid end to the movie is because the story is real and the end still hasn’t even come in real life — the story is told in 2002, and now it’s 2011. While viewers certainly will watch this movie hoping for a happy ending, it’s more of a subtle end than anything else.
The movie tried to intertwine Billy Beane’s failure as a player in the 1980s with the current story of Beane as a general manager, but that could’ve been done better I think. Still, it’s important to pay attention at those parts in order to get inside the head of Billy Beane.
I think the movie was a success. It’s difficult I’m sure to keep people dialed in and interested in a movie about a general manager, but the filmmakers succeeded in doing so in ‘Moneyball.’ I would definitely see this movie again, and it’ll be a definite “buy” for me when it’s released on DVD. I encourage anyone to see it.
I like it a lot. And if my girlfriend thinks it’s awesome, then that tells the real story. This movie might be about sports, but it appeals to people of all ages, gender and interests. The story of a general manager trying to go against everything he’s ever known and change a game that is very much templated is so intriguing that it’ll draw anybody in.
3.5 of 4 stars