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Frame by Frame: A Family-Friendly Movie Blog

    Frame by Frame: A Family-Friendly Movie Blog

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    Movie Review: Moneyball

    Posted: 28 Sep 2011 04:06 PM PDT



    PG-13 for some strong language.
    Genre: Drama, Comedy drama
    Running Time: 2 hours 6 minutes

    Brad Pitt stars in this based-on-true-story movie about Major League Baseball General Manager Billy Beane. Despite a decreased budget and thanks to a sly use of statistical data to calculate the best – and cheapest – players for his team, built a winning team. In 2002 the Oakland Athletics were led to an incredible season by General Manger Billy Beane. He took a team with no money for the so-called stars in Major League Baseball and turned them into winners.

    Upsetting the traditionalists, Beane used statistics and mathematical analysis for player evaluation to field his winning A’s.

    America’s Favorite Game Turned Upside Down

    Billy Beane was once a would-be baseball superstar who – stung by the failure to live up to expectations on the field – turned his fiercely competitive nature to management. Heading into the 2002 season, Billy is facing a dismal scenario. His small-market Oakland A’s have lost their star players, again, to big market clubs. He now has to rebuild his team with a third of the major market teams payroll. Driven to win, he takes on the system by challenging the fundamental tenants of the game. Looking outside of baseball Billy Beane hires a brainy number crunching Yale-educated economist. Together they take on conventional wisdom and reach some incredible conclusions. Instead of going after the big stars they go after players overlooked and dismissed by the rest of baseball as being too odd, too old, too injured or too much trouble.

    But, they do have one thing in common – the ability to get on base!

    The first thing to point out is the fact that when it comes to “based-on-true-story” movies, keep in mind Hollywood tends to stretch the truth for entertainment value. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. In the case of Moneyball, it works. The opening scenes grab your attention with newsreel footage of the incredible 2002 Oakland A’s season. They broke the rules and broke some records along the way too. This serves as the introduction and set up for what follows in the slightly more than two hour movie.

    The script in Moneyball is incredible and it’s worth noting that making this movie experience even better is the fact that the producers did not drown out the great dialogue with music. There’s a gritty feel to the movie and the lack of music keeps you attentive to what’s going on. All too often movies these days have poor scripts and loud music. That’s all in the hopes of covering up the lack of writing skill. Such is simply not the case with Moneyball. It is also no secret I do not like movies clocking in at more than two hours. I went into this flick rather tired and somewhat concerned since I knew it was a long movie. Aside from checking the time when the movie started, I did not look at my watch again! While Moneyball is not a fast-paced action type movie, it does not lack in the attention-grabbing arena.

    It’s also worth noting you do not need to be a huge baseball fan to keep up with what’s going on in Moneyball. The opening Oakland A’s montage of actual game footage sets the stage for the movie. Then as it progresses through the story line there’s enough information sprinkled in along the way that even a baseball novice – such as I – could understand what’s going on. This of course points to another reason why this movie is strong. The producers were able to walk the fine line of appealing not only to an avid baseball fan audience, but also a moviegoer who’s attending because of the stars in the show.

    A Great Cast of Characters

    With names like Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jonah Hill, there’s a wide diversity of acting talent involved in Moneyball. Pitt, while he’s somewhat of a take-him-or-leave-him actor, plays the role of Billy Beane very well. Philip Seymour Hoffman once again proves why he is such a great supporting actor. Last, but certainly not least, it’s nice to see Jonah Hill playing a “grown-up” role. While Hill’s character is a fresh-out-of-Yale graduate, in the past he’s played what appear to be immature roles. It was also coming to the point where he was being type-cast in those roles. But, here’s hoping with his performance in Moneyball we’ll start seeing better offerings from this young actor.

    All in all we really enjoyed Moneyball. While we are calling it family-friendly, keep in mind this is a PG-13 movie. We almost applaud the filmmakers for not filling the script with profanity. While it’s true the world of sports can have rather racy language, with the exception of a couple f-bombs dropped in, the language is rather calm. I have no idea why the writers felt the need to drop the f-bomb into the move in the first place. It really did not add anything to the script or scene and they would not have been missed at all if they were left out.

    Enjoy the show!
    Dr. Rus