Moneyball [Blu-Ray] Bennett Miller

Moneyball [Blu-Ray] Bennett Miller
The fiscal imbalance between large market sports teams and their smaller-scale brethren is one of the defining narratives of sports in this day and age, whether it's Manchester United or the Miami Heat. Tackling this disparity with brains, research and unconventional thinking is the purview of Moneyball, the true story of the turn of the millennium Oakland A's (with baseball's lowest payroll), their general manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), and a young economist named Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill, based on Paul DePodesta), who used new forms of "metrics" to measure player potential and win battles against the Goliath likes of the New York Yankees. Director Bennett Miller (Capote) goes cinematically old school to tell the tale ― amongst the beautifully shot confines of Oakland ballpark the Coliseum, Miller (with a script by heavyweights Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin) unpacks the details of scouting players and balancing a payroll with the attention to detail of a '70s great like All the President's Men. And while the film opens with archival details like the A's battle with the Yankees in 2001, featuring still-familiar faces like Derek Jeter, Miller and his team do an excellent job of integrating ball-playing actors (like Parks and Recreation's Chris Pratt as catcher-turned-first baseman Scott Hatteberg) with ball players who can act (former pro Stephen Bishop, who portrays veteran David Justice) and merging those into real life footage of events. The A's rebuilding ― at least in the Hollywood version ― is the work of two men, Beane and Brand, who battle a roomful of anachronistic scouts, old school manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and scepticism from their players. It's almost certainly a dramatic oversimplification, but it works for the purposes of this particular David-and-Goliath narrative. Brad Pitt ― who adds this to The Tree of Life for a pair of excellent 2011 performances ― does his level best to downplay his charismatic Brad Pitt-ness (chewing tobacco, looking tired, having bad hair), while then-still-pudgy Jonah Hill turns out to be perfectly cast as the smartest nerd in a room full of marble-carved men. The home game version cycles through an extended clip of Pitt getting the giggles, but also includes an interesting featurette on casting "baseball" people, as well as actors, creating a period piece that's only a decade old, and the challenge of making a movie that's essentially about statistics not seem dramatically inert. (Sony)