This movie is up for six Oscars, including Best Picture, Actor for Brad Pitt and supporting actor for Jonah Hill. Unlike Jerry Maguire, which was a sports film among other things (the little boy was so cute), Moneyball is a baseball film through and through. And as if that wasn't niche enough, there is a whole lot of statistics thrown in. Moneyball, based on the eponymous book by Michael Lewis, tells the story of Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, and his attempts to fashion a winning team on a tight budget.
He teams up with Peter Brand, fresh out of Yale who comes up with a revolutionary system of hiring players. Instead of conventional wisdom which the scouts and owners go by, Brand suggests evaluating players with statistics on the basis of their on-base percentage (thank you IMDB).
The movie is heavy on baseball jargon and one's eyes and ears glaze over the long stretches when it is all baseball and stats. But then this is balanced out by the universal feel-good quotient of the underdog winning.
The acting is all good. Brad Pitt as Billy Beane showcases the actor behind the pretty boy and has an Oscar nomination for his pains. The ever-changeful Philip Seymour Hoffman is good as always as the manager Art Howe. Jonah Hill is a revelation as Yale boy Peter Brand and the supporting actor nomination is well deserved.
Moneyball is not as accessible as Jerry Maguire, but if you are willing to spend some time with it, the film could grow on you.
Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah King
Storyline: A baseball manager must create a winning team on a budget
Bottomline: An interest in statistics and baseball will help