First Hit: Pitt’s performance is good but overall the film drags at times.
I like, or more accurately use to like, baseball when I was younger. I wanted to be the left fielder for the LA Dodgers. I remember when the Dodgers and SF Giants moved to the west coast. LA played in the coliseum where they strung a huge tall net in left field to centerfield because the distance from home plate to the stands was only 250 feet.
Anyway, like many boys I dreamed of playing for my favorite team. Playing as a youngster through my early teens, I was very good, not great. I always hit in the mid 300's, occasionally with power; I could run ("I had wheels"); I could catch, throw (with speed and strength but occasionally not accurately) and was always one of the first chosen when pickup games were played. I really liked the game.
Baseball is one of the few games where more time is spent with its players standing either on the field or in the dugout waiting with heighten awareness for something to happen. When it does happen, they have to react accurately, quickly, and with forethought. The moments between action and non-action require baseball players to be mentally awake and alert.
It isn’t always easy. Just watch any team of 8 – 10 year olds play; hands on hips, occasionally a mitt on a head, or just standing and looking around.
This film is the same way in that there were moments of heightened activity and other times of just time going by. I thought the story was very interesting, the characters good and some of the acting very good.
Brad Pitt was very good in capturing the frustration and struggles of Billy Beane the General Manager of the Oakland A’s, who could not control how much money was available to put a good team together. Philip Seymour Hoffman did an excellent job of being “old school” baseball Manager Art Howe by telling Beane (Pitt’s character) that the GM knew nothing about how to play players. Jonah Hill was OK as Peter Brand the statistical genius behind rating players, which has now transformed baseball. Kerris Dorsey was the one who really stood out as Casey Beane, Billy’s daughter. Dorsey was incredibly realistic in her acting and the scene of her singing part of a song in a music store was beyond sublime. Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin wrote a good screen play based on the Michael Lewis book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game”. Bennett Miller directed this often interesting and sometime slow film.
Overall: Worth watching if you are a baseball fan.