I love professional sports. I love movies about professional sports. I also love economics and statistics. So Moneyball hit a homerun with me before I even hit play on the Blu-ray.
I convinced my parents to watch it with me. They had zero interest in seeing it, but they both ended up enjoying it. I only add that because I think the film can be enjoyed by people who aren’t as predisposed to like it as I was.
Brad Pitt is great. Jonah Hill is really good (and surprising) in his first role where he’s more of the straight man instead of his usual wacky, funny guy. If I have to fault the movie at all, I will say it drags a bit in the middle. At a certain point, you really want to sock Philip Seymour Hoffman in the face.
But it’s all good. The film is funny, the dynamic between Pitt and Hill is fantastic, the drama of sports plays out well, with the added bonus of stats and theory. And it leaves you feeling good at the end. I’m not opposed to a happy ending.
I like this movie a lot and it’s likely I’ll watch it again at some point. But I’m not sure it’s Best Picture caliber in my mind. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t weigh in on the Best Adapted Screenplay nomination – but it’s got Aaron Sorkin’s trademark zip and zing. Jonah Hill does an admirable job, but is it Oscar worthy? I don’t think so. Maybe the Academy will think differently, but I doubt it. I don’t expect this film to be a big winner come Feb. 26 and that’s okay.
It’s a solid film, but it’s up against some heavy hitters. Baseball pun fully intended, of course.
[NB: I will also say, that if my father ever has an opportunity to earn $12.5 million, he damn well better take it. He can see me later.]