Movie review: Moneyball

Zachary Brenner, Justin Kroll and Jacob Pollack

Staff Writers

In 2001, after losing to the New York Yankees in the elimination game of the American League Championship Series, the Oakland Athletics lost their three best players because the A’s could not afford them. “There are rich teams, and there are poor teams,” general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) said. “Then there’s 50 feet of crap. And then there’s us.” After acquiring Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a Yale graduate with a degree in economics, the two got started on rebuilding their flawed team. Instead of looking for the traditional statistics that teams look for — such as batting average, home runs and runs batted in — they selected players based solely on their on-base percentages. “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, it should be to buy wins,” Brand said. “And to buy wins you need to buy runs.” With this philosophy, they were able to afford a “championship team” with their strictly limited budget. Here’s what three Roar staff writers thought about Moneyball:

Zachary Brenner:

When you think of baseball, what comes to mind?  Some people might say boring or loathsome. Some people might say fascinating or enjoyable. When it comes down to it, Moneyball is a movie about baseball, whether you like it or not. The good news is, you don’t have to appreciate baseball to appreciate Moneyball.

Some of you may be wondering why you would want to see a movie about the business side of baseball. Here’s why: In previous films Brad Pitt has only been a regular actor who likes to show off his good looks and charm. In Moneyball, his charm plays absolutely zero in the movie. His role is solely about a general manager who hates to lose, and wants to change baseball forever.Also, this movie shows how taking risks in life can pay off in the end. How no matter what everyone else thinks, if you believe in something, you can succeed.

You may like drama films, or you may like comedic films. Moneyball has both drama and comedy.  Every filmmaker knows that if you stick only to the main genre of a movie, you will not succeed. You need to intertwine other genres into the movie. While this movie is a serious film based off of a true story and a book written by Michael M. Lewis, the comedic elements certainly play a huge role to its success.

Unfortunately, it will only attract those audiences that appreciate what this movie has to offer about how Billy Beane changed baseball forever.


Watch a clip from the movie.

Overall Grade: B+

Justin Kroll:

When the credits started rolling, the first thought that came into my head was probably wow. Moneyball is truly a fantastic sports movie. Though it is similar to the standard format of sports  movies with underdog teams rising to become champions, Moneyball brings something else to the table. It makes you feel like this movie was something different, because it introduces true intelligence to the sport movie genre.

When it boils down to it, Moneyball is not only about a team of underdogs. It is about changing how the game is thought of. It is about a single man who completely reinvents baseball. And this is what is etched into the minds of the viewers, why it lasts so long in their memories. It makes them think. This is why it is different.

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, who plays Beane’s assistant, Peter Brand, both have excellent performances in Moneyball. The two of them paired together really make a fabulous duo, and are both funny and entertaining. They make the movie comical, despite its underlying tensions. They really work well together, and I would not mind seeing the two of them together in another movie.

Academy Award winning Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the coach of the Athletics, has a very small role, but one he plays well. That said, because he is such a famous actor I would have liked to see him play a more prominent role.

Having these three big stars, who all have excellent acting performances, should increase the viewership of Moneyball to people who perhaps are not the biggest sports fans, or even have absolutely no interest in baseball.

The brilliant story, intelligent and witty dialogue, and great acting performances all help make Moneyball such an enjoyable film to watch. If you want to see a movie that will either completely change your views on baseball or completely fill your eyes with the face of Brad Pitt, I would highly suggest seeing it.

Overall Grade: A-

Jacob Pollack:

What comes to mind when the word “baseball” is spoken? Some may see images of cracker jacks and hot dogs, but one would never believe that Brad Pitt has jumped into that conversation. That is right: Brad Pitt.

His performance in Moneyball was Academy Award worthy. In fact, the entire movie itself was Oscar worthy. The emotion and drama that was mixed in with the sports plot was done excellently, and it will not be long until Moneyball is thrown into the conversation as one of the greatest sports movies of all time, along with Rudy and Miracle. Moneyball was inspirational. It was funny, witty and informative. Moneyball was not just portraying a sports team. It followed a character with an endless supply of heart and devotion to his Oakland Athletics that we can only strive to give to our own interests.

Moneyball moviegoers should be impressed with director Bennett Miller and the overall cast, featuring Pitt, Hill, and Academy Award winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Moneyball impresses throughout with its flawless transitions between the current day life of the portrayed 2001 Athletics and the younger life of Billy Beane, a Stanford scholarship winner who ultimately turned down the offer, and a professional ballplayer in his day.

Overall, Moneyball excellently combines its serious and dramatic plot with moments of comedy and emotion, while interesting both sports enthusiasts and the general public.

Overall Grade: A-