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Movie Review: Moneyball

Alternate Title: For the Love of the Game

Story: I have zero interest in sports yet I am sucker for a film about baseball. Maybe it stems from my heartbreak when the Dodgers left Brooklyn (yes, I am old) and I wax nostalgic for the good old days. Oh, oh - I digress - back to the movie. Director Bennett Miller hits one out of the park with this enormously entertaining and absorbing film written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, based on a story by Stan Chervin and the book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis.

The movie centers around the 2002 Oakland A's baseball team, their general manager, Billy Beane and asst. gm, Peter Brand. How does a team like the Oakland A's with $39,000,000 compete with a team like the NY Yankees, who have $114,000,000 to spend on players? Beane and Brand changed the world of baseball with their new way of looking at an old sport. It is based on statistics and something called sabermetrics. There is just the right mix of sports, human interest, laughs, old footage and pathos to win over my heart.

The film has just about everything. It has great writing, terrific acting, suspense (if you are like my sister and I who did not have a clue as to the real history in this story) and a lot of eye candy. Brad Pitt is very easy on the eyes and is aging really, really well. The movie theme of reinvention is one that always grabs me. I heartily recommend this film to one and all. Play ball!

Baseball metaphors are used repeatedly in politics, business and ever day life. Check out this site and see how many you often use. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_English_language_idioms_derived_from_baseball

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiAHlZVgXjk

Acting: Brad Pitt as Billy Beane is wonderful. I see some Oscar nods in his near future. Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, has marketed that deer in the headlight look very well and fits the part perfectly. An almost unrecognizable Philip Seymour Hoffman as Manager, Art Howe can never do wrong. Robin Wright as ex-wife, Sharon has essentially a cameo appearance.

Predilection: I like films about baseball. There are hundreds of films about baseball. My two favorites are The Natural and Bull Durham.

Trivia: Director Bennett Miller also directed Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. Jonah Hill replaced Demetri Martin in Moneyball. In 1999 Paul DePodesta joined the Oakland Athletics organization as an assistant to general manager Billy Beane. DePodesta was a key figure in Michael Lewis' book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. He was the inspiration for the Jonah Hill character. Paul DePodesta is the Vice President of player development and scouting for the New York Mets.

Critters: None

Food: Billy Beane eats lots and lots of junk food.

Sex Spectrum: None

Soundtrack: Unremarkable.

Opening Titles: All titles are at the end.

Theater Audience: We were in the very empty secret balcony of one of my favorite movie theaters. However, there were lots of people downstairs as we could hear them laughing along with us.

Weather: Not a factor.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: We did not know what was going to happen but if you are a sports fan I do not think that knowing the story would spoil it for you at all.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: A little bit over the two hour Lobo rule.