Moneyball was an interesting experience for me. When I first heard they were turning the hit book into a movie, I was halfway through a book entitled The Book. That book is a straight up text book read, and although it’s extremely well written and interesting, it is definitely not an easy read. There are no stories, no background, no people or characters, just numbers. Pages and pages of charts and tables, while educational, can lull you to sleep.
That is always the false impression I’d gathered from people talking about Moneyball. So when the rumors of a movie came out, I didn’t think it was going to work, but I was still very excited. Because, you know, baseball.
When started the book, I was amazed. Not that it was the greatest thing I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t a textbook! There were characters! Michael Lewis does a great job setting the scene of Billy’s past, the draft room, the video room, it’s all clear in my mind. There are, of course, more number heavy sections, like when he’s explaining fielding metrics and the different statistic companies that arose independently. But all these gory details could easily be eliminated for the big screen without taking away from the book, and it worked well.
The only real problems I had with the movie were when sometimes it was a little too obvious that they were cramming ideas from the book into made-up scenes from the movie. The most obvious part to me for instance, was the whole David Justice being old balls. In the book, it’s easier for Michael Lewis to just explain to the readers who David Justice is, and how his balls are old and slow. But without a narrator, they had to try to cram it in by having some bimbo TV reporter be like, “Hey, I heard you suck and are old as balls, is that true? How are you going to be able to play with such old balls?”
I’m paraphrasing obviously, but the way the TV reporter acted took me right out of it, because TV reporters are little pussies, and would never say something that direct and upfront. Maybe if they had an old crusty columnist, it would have worked better.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Brad Pitt in the role, even though he won me over more and more as the movie went on. I thought the movie as a whole kind of portrayed Beane as dumber than he really is, and I felt it made him seem like every idea was Jonah Hills, even though I thought Beane had been interested in Bill James before he met DePodesta, but I could be wrong.
Overall, I really liked the movie, and when it comes to baseball movies, it’s probably my favorite. It combines my interest with sabermetrics and my love of baseball, to something I think we all love, a good underdog story. Despite how I can’t stand the A’s and how boring they are and how they are, or the fact they are division rivals, it’s still a great movie and I’m glad it came together how it did.