There is something about Brad Pitt.
It goes beyond the obvious. Yes, he has good looks and yes, he’s sexy. Yes, he has Angelina Jolie on his arm. Yes, he seems to be a good, involved dad. Yes, he’s a humanitarian. That, in itself, would be enough.
But, in actuality, it comes down to something quite simple: he is really a good actor.
Whether it’s comedy or drama, Brad Pitt delivers. He gets to exhibit both genres in his latest film, Moneyball, currently in theaters nationwide.
The film is based on the true story of Billy Beane (Pitt), a once would-be baseball star who, after not living up to expectations turned his attention to management. He is the general manager of the Oakland A’s.
BRAD PITT as BILLY BEANE in MONEYBALL
This is not just another sports movie. It’s not just another movie about baseball. It’s about persistence, change, intuition and trying to make a difference.
To prepare for his role Pitt hung out in the A’s front office, quietly observing Beane and speaking to his colleagues.
Pitt became fascinated by how the need to succeed on his own terms became the mother of invention for Beane in his second incarnation as the A’s general manager – and how it all came to a head in 2002, when the A‘s lost their most notable players and with them, their only hope.
“He realized that the A’s simply couldn’t fight the way the other guys might fight,” Pitt explains. “They had to look for new knowledge, they had to question all the norms and find the inefficiencies in the way things were being don. They began with this seemingly naïve question: What if we were starting this game from screatch oday, how ould we do it? Where would be place value on the players? Then they went out and actually found these guys who were being overlooked and put together, in a patchwork, a formidable team.”
It’s 2002 and Beane’s Oakland A’s have lost their star players, forcing the team to rebuild.
Refusing to take a defeatist attitude Beane, with the help of Peter Brand, a Yale-educated economist (Jonah Hill), decides to put into practice the dismissed theories of Bill James.
JONAH HILL as PETER BRAND in MONEYBALL
Beane and Brand decide to go after overlooked and even dismissed former players in an effort to build the best baseball team possible.
Of course, not everyone understands what they are doing, especially Art Howe, a field manager played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Beane is hoping to change how the game is played.
This is one of Pitt’s best efforts. He’s believable as a former player. He’s believable as a general manager. He’s believable as a father. You feel his desire for the game and his desire to have his team do well. Hill is equally impressive in his role as a bland, by-the-numbers statistician. Hoffman is always brilliant in whatever role he plays.
BRAD PITT AND JONAH HILL STAR IN MONEYBALL
Kudos to director Bennett Miller.
Moneyball stars Pitt, Hill and Hoffman.
Columbia Pictures presents a Scott Rudin/Michael De Luca/Rachael Horovitz production. Directed by Bennett Miller. Produced by Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt. Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin. Based on the book by Michael Lewis. Executive producers are Rudin, Andrew Karsch, Sidney Kimmel and Mark Bakshi.
Moneyball has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Pictures Association of America for some strong language.
On the Donloe Scale, “Moneyball” gets an E (Excellent). D (don’t bother), O (Oh, No), N (Need some work), L (Likable), O (Ok) E (Excellent).
Moneyball (Columbia Pictures), Running time: 2 hours, 13 minutes; PG-13 for some strong language.