‘Moneyball’ redefines America’s pastime

Nathan Fisher

Admittedly, I am not a big baseball nut. The point of baseball for me is going to the ballpark to eat a good hot dog and spit sunflower seeds. But Bennett Miller’s new film “Moneyball,” surprisingly, is not only for the baseball fanatic. In fact, very little baseball is played in the first 90 minutes of the movie. “Moneyball” is more about what goes on behind the scenes of the actual baseball game.

“Moneyball” is based on a true story of the 2001 Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt). Beane is tasked with fielding a team on a $39 million yearly budget. Sounds like a lot, right? Wrong. The movie itself had a $47 million budget. Beane’s $39 million team has to compete against teams like the Yankees with their bankroll of $179 million per year!

Tired of putting together a team year after year, then having his best players stripped from him at the end of the season, Beane runs into Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). Brand is an economics major from Yale who turns Beane’s preconceptions of baseball on their head. Together, the geek and the good-looker attempt to redefine baseball.

Now, imagine trying to change something that has been established for more than 100 years. The old guard rules out players who have ugly girlfriends because an “ugly girlfriend means low confidence.” Try convincing them to look at statistics and numbers instead! The goal, as Brand convinces Beane, is to buy wins, and to get wins you need runs.

“Moneyball” is a smart and thought-provoking movie that mixes real baseball footage with the screenplay. The moral of the movie is to believe in something, and then risk everything for what you believe in. Even though Hill tries to move beyond his “Superbad”-esque comedy stereotype, he is still the much-needed lighthearted funnyman with perfect comedic timing. Hill and Pitt have great chemistry.

Unfortunately, at just over two hours, the movie runs a bit long. At least 45 minutes could have been cut out of the unnecessary scenes of Pitt “thinking.” That being said, “Moneyball” captures your attention and makes you want to stay in your seat until the final out.