Phillip Seymour Hoffman
In the world of sports it’s all about what gives you that competitive edge against your opponent. How can you make your team, more effective than the other? Is it just throwing millions of dollars to the big names, or can an alternative approach be used?
Moneyball is the story of Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, who transformed the way teams look at potential players. Beane who finds a young hot shot assistant by the name of Peter Brand, benefits from his unique computer analysis approach to evaluating players. When Beane is faced with the risk of losing his three best players to powerhouse teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, Beane is forced to figure out how to replace these colossal stars with cheaper yet effective players. Instead of adopting the old, “lets get the best player available” option, Beane finds Peter Brand who looks at baseball in a completely different manner. Brand is crafty with numbers, and uses incredible amounts of statistical data to not only prove his theory, but to find undervalued players who the Oakland Atheltics can sign for literally thousand of dollars, instead of millions.
It’s a process that shocks the entire league. No one believes it can work, and most of the baseball guys that have been around the league for years become quickly frustrated with Beane’s new approach. This causes turmoil within the organization and specifically the manager Art Howe.
Moneyball is based on the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Baseball is a sport that has no hard cap, which means teams can open up that checkbook as much as they want. Obviously some teams have deep pockets in big markets, and other teams are restricted due to smaller markets. This set up has led to teams like the Yankees and Red Sox stealing superstars away from small market teams. Moneyball explores how these small market teams can still find “no named” players and be just as good if not better than the big teams on campus.
Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane the Oakland Athletics crafty general manager. Once again Brad comes through in this role, he is absolutely fantastic. Beane is the mastermind behind taking the convential route of being a Major League Baseball GM and turning it into a modern one. Some of the best scenes in Moneyball are the ones when Brad is wheeling and dealing his players for unexpected ones in return. Each opposing GM he speaks to is caught off guard with the proposals he makes. They wonder why Beane is willing to trade a player with so much potential, for a player who hasn’t proved much in the big leagues yet. It’s unconventional and totally a fun ride.
Jonah Hill plays Peter Brand the whiz kid behind this new statistical way of evaluating players success and value. Beane meets Brand when dealing with the Cleveland Indians, and basically calls Brand and tells him “you work for me now.” Brand quickly accepting the “promotion” has no idea what he’s really getting himself into. Here’s a role that Jonah Hill breaks out in. We all know Jonah from his comedies and they are usually great, but this is a very good supporting actor role for Jonah. He is this kind innocent kid who has an abundance of knowledge when it comes to baseball. He thinks outside the box, and truly believes that this statistical approach is exactly what baseball needs to even things out. It’s a fascinating character to portray.
The brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays Oakland Athletics manager Art Howe, a man of few words. This is where the disagreement phase of Moneyball takes place. A manager has the right to manage his team the way he sees best. The only problem is for this Moneyball concept to work, everyone has to be on board. Certain players must be played at certain times, and Art Howe is definitely not on board with this new concept. It also doesn’t help that he’s on a one year contract, and the Athletics have no intention of giving him an extension. It makes for some tension filled scenes between Beane and Howe. Hoffman once again proves how versatile he is, giving you the viewer a frustrating vibe throughout this interesting process.
Moneyball is definitely a must see. If you are worried the movie is sports heavy, you shouldn’t be. While Moneyball does focus on baseball and analytics there is also a story behind it. You will learn more about Billy Beane’s life as the movie devolops. You see his daughter, and the struggles he went through as a child, the sacrifices he made, as well as the frustrating work environment he deals with throughout the film.
Moneyball is a great story into the modern age of sports, as well as the reality of life, and money.
My 1-10 scale= 9