Monday, July 4, 2016

Moneyball hits a home run with baseball fans and audiences

I was flying home on a 5 hour flight yesterday and finally watched the 2011 baseball hit, Moneyball.  Hey, better late than never, right? In this case, it was worth the wait and gets an enthusiastic endorsement from me, just in time for this summer's baseball season.

Movie Title:    Moneyball
Grade:   A-

Rating: PG-13, 133 minutes

In a Nutshell:  Based on a true story, this smart sports movie hits a home run.  The heavy-hitting cast includes Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman (I miss him), Robin Wright, and Chris Pratt.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Adapt or die.” – Billy Beane (Brad Pitt)
  • “How can you not be romantic about baseball?” - Billy
  • “I’ll change the game.  I want it to mean something.” - Billy
  • Baseball is about people, not statistics.
  • “There is an epic failure going on in the game to understand what is going on.” –Peter Brand (Jonah Hill)

Things I liked:
  • Director Bennett Miller uses interesting camera angles to help you “see” things differently.  He also jumps from the roar of the crowd to complete silence to help you “feel” things differently.
  • Writer Aaron Sorkin is a master at quick-talking deals and clever wit.  Some of the dialogue scenes are simply hysterical.
  • Brad Pitt gives a stirring performance, even though most of the time he is snacking on something or chewing gum.  I know, I know...that's baseball.
  • You hear the voice of sports announcers Bob Costas and Tim McCarver.
  • There are some big game moments on the field, but also some big moments that happen in the heart.

Things I didn’t like:
  • At times the flashbacks get jumbled up with the present day and break up the flow of the story.
  • I hate it when brilliant, visionary protagonists get away with being jerks.  For example, Billy is constantly pushing over desks and throwing chairs in childish tantrums.
  • If you’re not a baseball fan, you might be a little bored at first and not understand some of the references to legends and players.  Keep watching.

Funny lines:
  •  “I’m not going to fire you.” – Billy
“F-You!” – Grady Fusion (Ken Medlock)
“Now I am.” - Billy
  • “Who’s Fabio?” – John Poloni (Jack McGee)
  • “That sounds like fortune cookie wisdom to me, Billy.” – Grady
“No, that’s just logic.” – Billy
  •  “I asked you to do 3 evaluations.  How many did you do?” – Billy
“47.  Actually, 51.  I don’t know why I lied just then.” - Peter
  • “Do you want me to speak?” – Peter
“Yeah, when I point at you.” – Billy
  • “It’s not that hard.  Tell him, Wash.” – Billy
“It’s incredibly hard.” – Ron Washington (Brent Jennings)
  • “Good meeting.  Every time we talk, I’m reinvigorated by the love of the game.” – Billy, sarcastically to Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman)
  • “What’s your biggest fear?” – David Justice (Stephen Bishop)
“A baseball being hit in my general direction.” – Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt)
“No. Seriously.” – David
“Seriously, that’s it.” - Scott

Billy’s advice:
  • “When you get the answer you’re looking for, hang up.”
  • “You may not look like a winning team, but you are one.  So, play like one tonight.”
  • “Is losing fun?  Then what are you doing having fun?”

Tips for parents:   

  • 2 F-bombs.  Wait, this is PG-13 movie, right?  According to the MPAA, PG-13 movies are only allowed 1 F-bomb, unless a vote earns a two-thirds majority saying it’s ok to have more.  Lame.
  • There’s a scene where a baseball player starts to take his pants down and dances on a table, but you don’t see anything.
  • It’s actually a really safe movie for kids, although they may be a bit bored with all of the talk of statistics and economics of the game.
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