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Moneyball

by

Jeff Nelson

Moneyball satisfies on every level for those searching for excellent filmmaking.

Moneyball
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While the game of baseball is highly popular on television, the films are a very different matter. There are so many out there that manages to have every cliché around. I'm not a big baseball fan, but I'm way less of a fan of the movies that are released regarding the sport. When Moneyball was released, I figured I should give it a shot since I heard so many fantastic things about it. Well, this is one of those times I certainly ate my words. There's so much more to this film than just the sport. This is one of those movies where I found myself saying "Woah, that was fantastic" as the credits started to roll.

An all-star cast brings to life the true story of Billy Beane, a former jock turned general manager who uses unconventional methods to bring the best players to Oakland A's. They're a major league baseball team struggling against financial hardship to overcome the big names. Everything points at Moneyball being yet another baseball flick. Writers Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian have created a piece of cinema with so many more angles than that. While the center of the story is about the sport, there is more focus on the characters, financial troubles, and the statistics behind baseball. The dialogue is absolutely phenomenal. The smallest details pop from the characters due to the screenwriters. There are so many dimensions to these characters that it feels as if we're watching a film where there are no actors and this is all happening live. I expected to see more than a few clichés appearing in the characters, but that was a false claim. There's a backstory, but it never distracts from the primary story line. In fact, they blend so well together that it appears to be seamless.The backstory is utilized to allow viewers to become more familiar with who Beane is successful in doing so. While there are certainly predictable moments of the movie, these scenes are executed so well that you'll end up being too immersed in the story telling to care.

The acting is truly the secret weapon here. Brad Pitt is tremendous as Billy Beane. He captures the essence of the character and brings us a natural Beane. This is possibly one of his best performances of his entire career. Most people evaluate good acting only when they're in characters that are spiraling out of control. Well, that's Pitt's charm. He doesn't need to do that in order to be great. He's often quite tranquil in Moneyball, but he creates such a fantastic atmosphere. In the supporting role is Jonah Hill. If somebody was to tell me that Hill would be in serious and more philosophical filmmaking while comedies such as Superbad were being released, I would think that they were absurd. This is definitely his strongest performance yet. He shines here like he never has before. He's very believable in the role. The well-crafted script is put to good use with these two fantastic performances.

Even though the running time is a bit long, at 130 minutes, it goes by very quickly. There's so much that Moneyball covers that there isn't very much downtime from the exploration of the roles and primary points the film wants to cover. The script is so well-written and the acting is so great that it leaves the audience breathless. You don't need to love baseball to enjoy this. I'm extremely glad that I ended up giving this film the chance that it deserves. Walking into this, I didn't expect to walk out saying that it's one of my favorite movies of the year. Moneyball satisfies on every level for those searching for excellent filmmaking.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

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