Moneyball is based on the true story of Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane. After a remarkably successful 2001 season, the A’s lost star players they could no longer afford to bigger market teams who could pay higher salaries. Unable to compete with New York or Boston in price, Beane turns to a new strategy. Instead of relying on old school scouting and baseball tradition, Beane turns to statisticians (played by Jonah Hill) who analyze the game and find undervalued players who the math says will get on base and score runs. I love baseball, know the Billy Beane story, and expected to like Moneyball. But I didn’t just like it — I loved it. Pitt as Beane is terrific, and the rest of the cast is excellent as well. This is the first sports movie that takes the focus off the players or even the managers and focuses on the nuances of executive decisions, trading players, and cutting players. One of the most thrilling scenes is where Pitt and Hill mastermind a trade to acquire reliever Ricardo Rincon. Sounds boring? It’s not. It’s funny, engaging, and all around great, great stuff. Fourteen stars!
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