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The “Moneyball” movie may be good

Sep 9, 2011, 9:43 AM EDT

Moneyball

I’ve been a bit skeptical of the “Moneyball” movie for a long time. I worry that it will be too impenetrable for mainstream audiences and too simplified and Hollywood-ized for baseball freaks, thus leaving everyone disappointed. I’d like to be pleasantly surprised, but I’m not holding out super strong hope.

Our own Aaron Gleeman is going to see “Moneyball” before it comes out and we’ll have a review of it next week, but I just read a review that suggests that it may be good. No, it’s not a review that says “Moneyball is really good!”  It’s a review that says “Moneyball was better than expected,” but it came from a guy who starts his review thusly:

“There’s nothing that interests me less than sports movies … I’m a British guy who pretty much hates all sports and couldn’t show less interest in them if I tried. Seriously, I’ve tried. Anyway, for those of you have never seen a baseball game before, I can tell you that they are excruciatingly dull. They are in no way as dynamic as they seem on the big screen. The big screen cuts out all the f—— waiting. Baseball is a game made up of waiting… And I thought cricket was bad.”

Despite that, the guys gives an overall good review. Not great. He thinks it’s kind of boring. Says “You haven’t seen this much brooding since Twilight. ”  Calls Aaron Sorkin’s script is like “The Social Network, minus the brilliance.”  Lots of faint praise in this piece, but he likes the actors and thinks there’s good chemistry between them and is generally entertained and comes off with what can be called a slightly warm feeling towards the film.

Given how much this dude hates baseball and sports in general, am I crazy to think that it might actually be pretty decent?

  1. catsmeat - Sep 9, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    Joe Morgan doesn’t need to see it to know that it’s a terrible movie and Billy Beane should be ashamed of himself.

  2. Old Gator - Sep 9, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    After thirty years of marriage to one, I think it’s safe to say that you just don’t understand the British.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 9, 2011 at 10:07 AM

      I assume the entire review is written with subtle, but deep sarcasm, but I can’t tell which way the sarcasm swings. It’s very confusing and, like the movie Snatch (starring Mr. Pitt of course), I will have to read this a few times to understand it, but will never truly understand those gyppos unless they’re subtitled on the DVD release…

      • kopy - Sep 9, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        It’s tough to top the SNL parody of British movies. Even though it’s an NBC show on an NBC site being posted to another NBC site it cannot be embedded…

        /saturday-night-live-british-movie

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 9, 2011 at 4:44 PM

      I don’t often agree with Old Gator, but I have to on this one.

  3. purnellmeagrejr - Sep 9, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    Sports are almost better than movies about sports – just like having sex is better than watching a movie of someone else do it.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Sep 9, 2011 at 9:52 AM

      dang it I meant to say almost always better – not almost better. Must be Freudian or something.

  4. yankeesgameday - Sep 9, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Obviously the only baseball game that guy has ever seen was a Yankee/Red Sox game.

    • yankeesfanlen - Sep 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      That’s 4 hours and 21 minutes of spine-tingling excitement.

  5. nolanwiffle - Sep 9, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Jonah Hill is a walking, talking turd……I am not optimistic.

    • scatterbrian - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      Huh? I can understand not being a fan of Hill, but what has he done to deserve being called a “walking, talking turd”?

  6. proudlycanadian - Sep 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    The movie will be shown this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, so there should be some reviews soon.

    • pmcenroe - Sep 9, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      it actually premiers tonight, I tried to get tickets but no luck

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 9, 2011 at 3:23 PM

        The Toronto papers should have reviews tomorrow.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 9, 2011 at 10:10 PM

        The Toronto Globe and Mail gave it 3 stars out of four. The reviewer is not a big baseball fan but liked the movie.

  7. billybeaneismyhero - Sep 9, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    He compared it to Twilight and Social Network minus the brilliance. Where do I sign up?

    Seriously though. I’ll go see it anyway. Moneyball + an Aaron Sorkin skit = mental orgasm.

  8. tjwilliams - Sep 9, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Drew Mcweeny gave it a really good review over at hitfix.com:

    “I have no idea how closely this hews to reality, but ultimately, what I took away from this wasn’t a particular feeling this way or that about Beane or the A’s or even baseball. I just walked away invigorated by the idea that it pays to gamble sometimes, and that just because something is done a certain way, there’s no reason to think it can’t be done better. This is a film about faith and risk and the enormous rewards of both, and it is somehow far more commercial and inviting than I would have imagined possible. It’s a major accomplishment.

    Yes… I’d even call it a home run.”

  9. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 9, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Per BA’s Conor Glassey:

    “Moneyball was boring and pointless, as expected”
    “Most people laughed at the one-liners they were supposed to laugh at. I enjoyed subtler points, such as:
    Beane: Kubota, you didn’t play did you?
    Kubota: uh….I played tee-ball
    Beane: Good, you’re our new head scout!”

    [responding to a tweet]
    “Save your money, dude. Rental at best”

    Not exactly glowing reviews. Wonder if this is how it’ll break down. Those in the baseball/stat based community will hate it, those who aren’t/haven’t read the book will like it?

  10. Francisco (FC) - Sep 9, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Props to Beane for squeezing more value out of his $$$ but he’s still vastly overrated, and whatever edge he had he lost as people incorporated similar mechanisms and blended them with traditional methods. He also poo-poo’d high school players for far too long and only recently has he revised his opinion on them after seeing so many good high school prospects pan out into successful MLB players. I also find a disturbing tendency of some his choice picks to shine brightly and then flame out (Barry Zito anyone?) on the other hand that could be him being brilliant in getting the best value early and dropping them before they stank up the place.

    He’s had hits and misses. His innovations have added great value, but I’m not sure I’d call it a revolution. I guess if he had had a more consistent successful run with a World Series trophy to show for it I’d give him more credit. Or maybe, it’s just that even with his ability there’s no helping the A’s in their current state.

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 9, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      “Or maybe, it’s just that even with his ability there’s no helping the A’s in their current state.”
      Maybe he should have taken the Boston job?

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:09 PM

      Or maybe even making it to the World Series.

    • scatterbrian - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      So Beane is overrated because people copied him and he’s not as effective as he once was?

      No one said he was infallible, and anyone with an internet connection can find moves he made that didn’t work. Ignoring what he did accomplish and how it has helped change the landscape of baseball is just being stubborn.

      • ta192 - Sep 9, 2011 at 4:42 PM

        Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery…

    • scatterbrian - Sep 9, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      GMs do not get their teams to the playoffs or World Series. They can build their teams to succeed, but ultimately it’s the players who get a team to the playoffs or World Series.

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Denis Leary has a great line on the making of a 2 hour movie about the Doors and Jim Morrison…

    “I don’t need two hours to tell me the story of Jim Morrison…

    I’m drunk, I’m nobody
    I’m drunk, I’m famous
    I’m drunk, I’m dead.”

    Same thing with Moneyball…

    “We’re broke, we have nobody, we suck
    We’re broke, we have Hudson, Zito, Mulder, we have some minor success
    We’re broke, we lose Hudson, Zito Mulder, we suck again”

    That’s the story. Save your $12.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 9, 2011 at 2:02 PM

      Leary’s timing is better. Tee hee

  12. aaronmoreno - Sep 9, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Billy Beane is a historical artifact of baseball. He brought innovation to the sport, which was adopted by the rest of the game, leaving him behind. In 20 years, we’ll look back at his career and wonder what the hell the big deal was.

  13. Kingb - Sep 9, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Maclean’s (a Canadian news magazine) had a reviewer at the presentation at TIFF. The review was excellent (http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/09/09/tiff-sports-brad-pitt-hits-a-home-run-chris-nilan-grinds-through-habs-rehab/#more-213934) with a suggestion that Brad Pitt was terrific.

  14. tuftsb - Sep 9, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    I hope that the movie discusses Sandy Alderson.

    As a former Marine (no one is an ex-marine) and coming from a military family, he understodd the World War II emphasis on operations research – the use of scarce or limited resources to achieve a defined goal.

    Alderson’s acceptance of this strategy as the GM who hired Beane laid the gorundwork for Beane to be able to operate as he did.

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