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How to jazz up the “Moneyball” movie

Mar 18, 2011, 8:45 AM EDT

Moneyball

Sticking with the movie theme this morning, Bruce Jenkins of the Chronicle is not optimistic about the upcoming adaptation of “Moneyball.” Problem? Too boring.  He makes suggestions:

As the production of “Moneyball” grinds on, let’s hope the filmmakers take great liberties with the facts. Michael Lewis’ book was superbly written, but there’s nothing more boring than the A’s search for no-speed, no-defense guys who could really work a 3-and-1 count on their way to a hopeless career. Let’s watch Billy Beane as he rigs a set of explosives at the Angels’ minor-league headquarters. Let’s see Art Howe as a coke-sniffing, late-night karaoke artist who worships Otis Redding and has memorized every song by the Sons of Champlin.

That’d be an awful way to portray Art Howe, who is by all accounts a nice and decent man. Especially considering that Ron Washington was a coach on that team and could thus fulfill that role with far fewer factual liberties being taken.

Anyway, I’m torn. On the one hand I don’t see how you can make a good movie out of “Moneyball.” On the other hand, I don’t see how you can make a bad movie out of late-period Brad Pitt and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  Either way, I’ll go see it.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Mar 18, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Maybe they can have the A’s actually, ya know, win something. Now THAT would be taking cinematic license. zingggggggggggg.

  2. loungefly74 - Mar 18, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    It could be okay…the cast seems solid…the director does not have a big resume though…having sorkin write the screenplay is a good sign. it might end up having a “jerry maguire” feel.

    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 18, 2011 at 9:24 AM

      Does Brad Pitt recycle Tom Cruise stuff?

      • grapes911 - Mar 18, 2011 at 9:33 AM

        Show me the Moneyball?

      • spudchukar - Mar 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        I am here to defend Brad Pitt. I am not claiming he is the world’s greatest actor, but his role choices have been anything but of the “pretty boy” variety for a long, long time. Please do not compare him to Tom Cruise. He has displayed far greater range, and chooses parts that are hardly image driven like the banal ones of his Hubbard-loving comparative.

        Incidentally, when did Ybor City become the Mecca for Scientology?

      • loungefly74 - Mar 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        both tom and brad have done great movies.

      • jwbiii - Mar 18, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        Ybor City? Isn’t their cathedral in Clearwater?

        Hey, isn’t that where the Phillies train? Hmm. . .

      • yankeesfanlen - Mar 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM

        Great moments in misinterpretation- I was saying that they both go their own ways and don’t have a shortage of material to have to mimic one another.

      • jwbiii - Mar 18, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        Actually, that photo of the Scientology World Headquarters looks disturbingly similar to a mental health facility in Austin, Texas.

      • spudchukar - Mar 18, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        Okay, I will accept that, but misinterpretation is a little strong when the door is left that wide open.

      • yankeesfanlen - Mar 18, 2011 at 4:31 PM

        A few good men around here want to pursue the risky business of starting a fight club. Both actors make all the right moves and travel the oceans eleven to Troy if necessary with a mission impossible for others of their ilk.
        I’ve probably said it se7en times to these inglorious basterds, I’m not sitting here with my eyes wide shut just smelling the magnolia.

      • spudchukar - Mar 18, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        12 Monkeys Meet Joe Black and Snatch True Romance from The Tree of Life. Burn After Reading.

    • florida76 - Mar 18, 2011 at 12:46 PM

      It really doesn’t matter who is writing, directing, or acting in this movie. It will sink at the box office, not because the style of play, but for the most fundamental reason we go see movies: no reward for the viewer, no payoff for the 90 minutes watching this film. Every good movie has a climax, and this one doesn’t, and that will be apparent to everyone. This is a project with a modest budget, you better believe it would never had been approved otherwise.

      Movies like Jerry Maquire and Major League were fictional comedies, and in Jerry Maguire, we had the dramatic story with the characters which had a resolution which was satisfying. In MoneyBall, no such outcome exists.

  3. matthewtrueblood - Mar 18, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Can’t believe there is this much trepidation. America ought to have learned already: Aaron Sorkin can take the singularly boring (politics, TV news, facebook) and make it utterly engrossing. Why on Earth would we expect him to struggle in making Moneyball fun to watch? Movie I’m looking forward to most in 2011 is this one.

    • florida76 - Mar 18, 2011 at 12:50 PM

      Well, the Facebook movie revolved around the characters, along with the ultra successful concept of social networking. Big difference.

  4. scatterbrian - Mar 18, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Jenkins should probably leave the screenwriting ideas to guys who have won Oscars. Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin both worked on the script, and Sorkin in particular made writing code interesting and hitting refresh riveting in Social Network. He wrote a fascinating story about some pretty mundane shit. It’s likely not going to have much on-field scenes in the movie, so it will be interesting how they make this work.

    One thing for sure: Brad Pitt is an A-list actor, and like all of them, they pick roles because they are either challenging, or because the character is something we haven’t seen before. Billy Beane is certainly an iconic figure in baseball circles, but he’s not much of a celebrity in the grand scheme. Still, there’s something to this role that not only caught Pitt’s attention, but kept him attached to the project despite director and script changes. He currently shooting a movie and has 26 (!) other projects in development. I would think if you have 26 other movies you want to make and you’re running into roadblocks making the goofy baseball movie, you’d ditch the project unless there was really something to it. You can almost make a similar case for Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Art Howe. Unless these guys are huge baseball/A’s fans, there’s something attractive enough to the story that inspired Pitt and PSH to play these characters.

  5. ta192 - Mar 18, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Give Charlie Sheen a big role…automatic hit…

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