By Joan Alperin Schwartz
First thing I must say is...I basically know nothing about sports. I do watch the Super Bowl but only for the commercials. That said, I absolutely loved 'Money Ball'. Which goes to prove, that you don't have to be a baseball fan, to think that this film, written by Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillan and directed by Bennett Miller, is absolutely wonderful.
Brad Pitt portrays real life Baseball legend, Billy Beanne. I'm sure there are many people out there that have no idea who Mr. Beanne is...I being one of them. But I do now. Beanne, once a promising baseball player, is the General Manager of the Oakland A's. But not just any General Manager.
When 'Moneyball' begins Brad Pitt says...'There are rich teams...There are poor teams...Then there is us'.
The year is 2002. The Oakland A's has a payroll of 40 million dollars...while the Yankees's payroll is $126 million. More money buys better players. Billy Beanne has to find a competitive advantage when it comes to assembling a winning team.
He doesn't have alot of cash...but what he does have is...Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) a Harvard graduate with a degree in economics. So what the hell does Peter know about baseball?. Turns out plenty. Brand used statiscal data to analyze the value of a baseball player. He was able to see what the Scouts couldn't...What a player did last year, was not what he'd do the following year. Sound boring? Trust me...It's not.
Billy Beanne changed the face of baseball. He went against tradition and turned Baseball on its ear.
Billy and Peter's relationship is the heart of this film and Brad and Jonah are fantastic together. Sorkin and Zaillan's brilliant dialogue gives 'Moneyball' (based on Michael Lewis's book) its humanity...Making it a movie for sports lovers as well as non sports lovers.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is almost unrecognizable as the Oakland A's Manager, Art Howe. He totally transforms himself. You think you're watching an old man instead of an actor in his 40's. That's how good he is.
Jonah Hill gives a beautiful, subtle performance and for the first time, I really enjoyed watching him.
As for Brad Pitt, well when Oscar nominations come around, I know his name will be the first one called. That's how excellent his work is in this film.
I gave 'Moneyball' five bagels out of five with everything on them. As for the other half of 'Two Jews On Film', John, well he had a very different opinion. Luckily I get to write the reviews and therefore, I have the last word. If you'd like to know his bagel score, check out our video.
'Moneyball' opens in theaters Friday September 24, 2011. Do not miss this gem.