Last night Kish and I watched Moneyball, the new Brad Pitt movie that has gotten some good buzz among our friends.
Moneyball is a movie about baseball — and also a lot more than baseball. Pitt convincingly plays Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, a chronically cash-strapped, small-market team trying to compete with the New York Yankees and other wealthy team that can buy the talents of any good players the small-market teams develop. To be competitive, Beane must try to outwit the big-money teams by adopting a new, statistic-driven approach to evaluating talent and putting a team on the field. He enlists the help of a brainy, Yale-educated assistant — played by “guy comedy” staple Jonah Hill in a real career-changing role — and then butts heads with scouts, his manager, and every other “baseball man” who can’t give up on the old way of putting a team on the field and playing the game. Along the way, we learn about Beane’s own back story, which includes a disappointing career as a former “can’t miss” prospect who turned down Stanford to play ball and a challenging relationship with his daughter after his divorce.
Kish and I liked this movie, although I wouldn’t give it four stars. There were lots of humorous moments, and I think even non-baseball fans would enjoy a peek at “inside baseball.” It also was refreshing to watch an adult movie that doesn’t rely on exploding cars, alien invasions, or constant cursing to maintain audience interest — but at the same time, the pace of the movie seemed to be a bit slow and the “back story” asides were distracting. What I ultimately found interesting about the movie, however, was the universality of the theme. Anyone who has ever tried to convince their Dad, their boss, or their spouse that they should try a different approach to doing something is going to identify with Billy Beane.