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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Good game, ‘Moneyball’

The name moneyball is derived from the method for which Oakland A’s General Manager Billie Beane used to build a baseball   team with a minuscule budget. The film “Moneyball” is about how he put that method to work in 2002.

The movie was directed by Bennett Miller, who also directed “Capote,” and was written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. The  film stars Brad Pitt who plays Billie Beane.

Whereas most baseball films focus on the action on the field, “Moneyball” goes behind the scenes into the cynical, business nature  of it. An early scene establishes the money problems Beane has and the plot, which has Beane trying to replace high-priced players  without a substantial budget. Scenes involving scouts frantically discussing how to do so are funny and concise, keeping the audience entertained while still developing the plot.

Pitt is outstanding as Beane; he brings charisma in every scene he’s in with supporting characters, whether it’s his young and unsure assistant Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill), A’s manager Art Howe, or Beane’s scouts, who dismiss his idea because it contradicts the traditional ideas of using experience and intuition to find good players.

Pitt excellently conveys his character’s emotions. Beane is frequently in deep thought, contemplating his experiment, his job and his life. Flashbacks detail his failed baseball career and Pitt looks like a man coming to grips with his past failures, while new ones might be around the corner.

The dialogue conveys plot and characterizations very well. The script is slightly reminiscent of Sorkin’s work from last year, “The Social Network,” for which he won an Academy Award.
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If you want to judge this as just a movie, you will probably consider it a good one. I consider it very good. However, if you want to judge it on its historical accuracy, you will find it to be a movie that disregards facts to make a more dramatic story. The film neglects to mention that Barry Zito, pitcher, and Miguel Tejada, shortstop, won the Cy Young award and the MVP award, respectively.

It also just changes things. In the film, a player named Carlos Pena is referred to as an all-star in the film, but in reality, he had a terrible year, not hitting above .260.

When Beane talks to his daughter, played by Kerris Dorsey, the film derails into boring, generic territory that does nothing to advance the plot. Beane’s ex-wife is in one scene, which makes me think this whole subplot was tacked on. These scenes shoot the otherwise excellent pacing in the leg before the film heals with more baseball-related scene.

The film dives into the business side of baseball, which few films do and it does it very well. Don’t be put off by the historical inaccuracies if you’re a baseball fan, even though you’ll notice them. Bolstered by strong performances, smart writing and a quick pace, “Moneyball,” is a very good film with a few flaws that don’t distract too much from the overall quality.

“Moneyball” is playing at the following theaters in the Sacramento area: Century Downtown Plaza, Regal Natomas Marketplace Stadium, Century Stadium, Sacramento Drive-Ins and UA Laguna Village.

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