Monday, 23 January 2012


Moneyball, 2011
Directed by Bennett Miller
Potential Nominations Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Cinematography

Synopsis: It's 2001, and the Oakland A's is the lowest salary team in the league. Billy Beane, the General Manager is fed up with losing, and losing good players to richer teams. How can you make a good team when you're running on $40 million, when the Yankees are running on $120 million? When Billy meets Peter Brand, a player analysis, he introduces Billy into a new way of thinking about baseball that could change everything anyone's ever thought baseball was about, and change it forever.

Before you start thinking, I'm a little late on reviewing it, just like Midnight in Paris, this is my review after watching it a second time. I went and saw it in theatres a few weeks after it's release in September, and loved it. Now, I'm no baseball fan. Sure, I've been to a few games. I've seen the Jays several times over the years, and went and saw the Yankees in NYC last April, but overall, baseball is not my thing at all. It doesn't really captivate me, nor interest me. It's a little slow-running for me, personally. However, this film really invited me right in. It was a film about baseball, but there wasn't a whole lot of baseball in it.

The film consists of the behind-the-scenes of baseball. Billy Beane is trying to figure out how to build a successful team from a tiny budget. Peter Brand tells him you aren't buying players, you're buying wins. And by buying wins you're buying runs, meaning you have to get people "who get on base". So many players are overlooked for a variety of different reasons. And we see that there is value in different ways than people think.

The story was really well told, with a really honest screenplay. It was well-paced, and introduced enough that non-baseball fans could follow it, but it wasn't too simplistic, it was just right. Additionally, the cinematography of this film is completely underrated, as is the sound mixing. The cinematography on the big screen was pretty dazzling in a subtle way. The green of the field was surrounding, and the montage scenes were beautifully shot, as were the everyday things, such as the dressing room and stands at night, the empty fields, everything. It probably won't be nominated, but I loved it anyways.

Along with that, the score by Mychael Dana is perfect for this film. It's slow-paced, and just so inspirational sounding. It's simple, and is so effective. The sound mixing for this film is great. So many times we have silence, and it's so effective. Silence, except for the sound of a ball hitting a bat, or just the low notes of the cello. While the score isn't thrilling by itself, it's extremely effective paired with the film.

I'd also like the mention the acting. Brad Pitt was really good in this film. He played all the different sides of Billy Beane so well, going from father, to GM, anger, love, pride, and competitiveness, and teacher. He was very convincing in his role, and expect him to receive a nomination, though I felt Clooney will likely steal the win, having given a slightly better performance. I've become a big fan of Brad Pitt lately. Not just the looks or whatever, but find him to be a really good actor, and always makes really good choices. Would love to see him win an Oscar, but sadly, it won't be this time. Additionally, like Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris, it's nice to see an actor who is usually in terrible movies (Superbad just being one of them) do a serious role, and show some potential. This especially paid off for Jonah Hill, having been great as Peter Brand, the awkward, statistics whiz kid that Billy befriends. He really showed some good potential, and he has a good shot at making the Supporting Actor cut on Tuesday.

Honestly, if this film won Best Picture, I wouldn't be disappointed. It was my favourite film of the awards season, and the year, before War Horse strolled along, and I still enjoyed it very much. It was incredibly well done, looks, story, acting, etc. While the Artist was a great film, I'd love to see this film win the Big Prize, but frankly, it's not going to happen, though I'd love to see it happen.


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