pen rainbow

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monday—The Movie Corner: Moneyball

my A's teeshirt
Reviewing the 84th Academy Award nominated movies for 2012 (live on Sunday, February 26, 7e, 4p)

MONEYBALL — Based on the 2003 novel by Michael Lewis, Moneyball:  The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.  

IMDB Official Trailer

Michael Lewis also wrote, The Blind Side, Evolution of a Game (2006), a treatise on football, which was also made into an Academy Award nominated movie.
★  Happy ending
★  Suspenseful
★  Nobody dies
★  Based on a true story

It's nice to see that there are some very watchable movies nominated in the Best Picture category this year.  Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, is required viewing for anyone who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  And, if you don't live in the Bay Area, go see it anyway because it's a great movie, and you won't regret paying for the price of a ticket.

Seriously, you have to go see it because it's about one of our own, Billy Beane, the current general manager of the Oakland A's.  It's also about A's baseball, which is something that any red-blooded Bay Area suburbanite holds sacred.  Going to an A's game is like being let out for recess when you were a kid.  It's safe, fun, and wonderfully uncomplicated.

On the other hand, putting together a major league baseball team is a sophisticated, complex procedure involving player productivity, player appeal, economic projections, multimillion dollar salaries, and ironclad budgets.  That's what this movie is about.  It is based on the true story of the A's 2002 season and the unconventional way in which an economic model of player valuation developed by a young and inexperienced Yale economics graduate was used to build a winning team out of mediocre talent and relative unknowns.

•  Brad Pitt — Actor in a leading role
•  Jonah Hill — Actor in a supporting role
•  Best Picture
•  Film editing — Christopher Tellefson
•  Sound mixing — Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco and Ed Novick
•  Writing — Adapted screenplay by Steven Zaillian, who received an Oscar in 1994 for Schlindler's List, and the golden fingered, Aaron Sorkin, who also penned screenplays for The Social Network (2010) and Charlie Wilson's War (2007); Story by Stan Chervin 

Think of Brad Pitt without Angelina Jolie and all of their kids.  Think of Jonah Hill in anything other than a raunchy comedy.  Both actors are intense and soft-spoken with undertones of natural humor, and all of these qualities combine to make their performances extremely appealing as a duo.  As actors, they are able to deliver just enough professional distance between the characters to shift the focus off of them and onto the central story, which is about major league baseball.

Consummate character actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, exudes obstinance and experience as team manager, Art Howe.  

Bennet Miller's subtle direction defines the powerfully serious and very personal side of professional baseball.

Also worth a mention is the hauntingly repetitive and beautiful theme song from the movie, This Will Destroy You - The Mighty Rio Grande.  Don't ask me about the title.

Moneyball was released last September, so it is no longer playing in theaters, but it is now out on DVD HD ($12.99 from Amazon), or you can rent it on Amazon Instant Video ($3.99).  Some theaters may be replaying it as an Oscar nominated movie, and you can check the fandango site to see if it is playing in your area.  Just enter your zip code.

It's also available through Comcast xfinity On Demand, so check your listings.  iTunes Movies also has it for $4.99 in HD (click Preview in iTunes).  Just google Moneyball for other viewing options.

With six nominations this year, you can count on this movie receiving an Oscar, so don't miss it!