Sunday, February 5, 2012

Moneyball - DVD Review

Let me start by saying I love baseball. I also love a good baseball movie. Eight Men Out, Bull Durham, A League of Their Own, Field of Dreams, are all great baseball flicks. Sadly, I will not be adding Moneyball to that list.

Honestly, I do not know what all the hype is over this movie. Full disclosure, I am a huge San Francisco Giants fan and I was not particularly interested in seeing a movie about our rivals The Oakland Athletics. Still, everyone kept going on and on about how great this movie was. Then over course the Oscar nods forced me into the territory of my movie fan trumping my baseball fan.

I truly tried to view this as a movie and put my rivalry aside. Maybe because I’m openly professing my SF Giants love, you will believe my review here is bias, but I assure you that I stayed true to my movie lover side.

Moneyball was originally a book. I can see how people interested in the business of baseball may find Billy Beane’s ideas interesting. What I don’t understand is why anyone thought it was interesting enough to be a movie.

Slow-paced, little action and a concentration almost entirely on Billy Beane and no one else, I found little to hold my interests and keep the movie moving. The person he was portrayed as I found to be very off-putting. I don’t always have to like the character, but he seemed to be such on such an island of himself, that I couldn’t find anything to connect with.

Then as a film, what really happened? We never saw how using these less desired players affected their lives and careers. Heck! The words at the end of the film didn’t even show me what happened to Peter Brand, the numbers whiz kid that inspired Beane’s approach. Do you know why? Because Peter Brand is not a real person! He was “based” on Paul DePodesta who did not want his identity used in the film. What does that say?

This is what we’re left with for the film. A non-communicative, bitter, yet driven person, who uses a financially challenging situation to change how he approaches his job. I also couldn’t help feeling that this innovative idea, derived from financial need, reeks of something that can be twisted around to put more money in the pockets of corporate bigwigs and not the talent.

I really would like to hear from people who liked this movie. What am I missing? I can’t find a good thing to say about this film and it really seems like the least deserved of the Oscar nominated films. Also, I love Jonah Hill, but he barely had a character and I don’t see where he did anything, other than not be funny. That merits an acting nomination? Albert Brooks’ fabulous gangster role in Drive and Seth Rogan as a devoted best friend in 50/50, were far better examples of comedic actors stretching themselves in 2011.

Disappointing on every level.


Runs Like A Gay said...

It didn't seem to me that he was exploiting the players, given they still were on better pay than elsewhere hence they wouldn't have accepted the contracts, more like using the best value resources.

Not that the film was really about that it was more about the sense of sense of achievement from changing the way people think, be it about the sports selection process or ultimately anything else.

Personally I loved it, I'm still 3 to go but it's my top pick from the best film list.

Colleen said...

Amazing that we feel so differently about the same film. I didn't think Beane was taking advantage of the players, but I thought that would be the inevitable future of his plan once other teams adopted it.

I don't see on your blog that you've seen The Artist? If I'm missing it, please send me the link. If it's one of your 3 left, I can't wait to find out what you think of that one!

Runs Like A Gay said...

Yes, I haven't seen The Artist yet.

That along with The Help and Extremely Loud. The later is released here in the UK next weekend so I'll probably see it then. The others will have to wait for DVD release. said...

My biggest problems with this film were that they tried to please everyone and make it more excessible by having a lot of cutesy sub-plots and there was not enough baseball. They made the mistake of trying to please everyone rather than focusing on a core audiance. This probably allowed the film to be more successful with non-baseball fans but hurt the film overall.