“It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball.”
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt)
Today I saw Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and loved everything about it.* It completed a week where by happenstance I followed the Brad Pitt trail.
Last Saturday while on location shooting a video project I drove by Shawnee, Oklahoma where Brad was born. A few days later I drove through Springfield, Missouri where he was raised and went to high school. The next day I was on the campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia where he went to college.
The first time I recall seeing him act was in Thelma & Louise in 1991 and it was one of those scene stealing performances where I wondered, “Who the heck is this guy?” Within four years, and after his performances in A River Run Through It, Legends of the Fall, and Se7en—everyone knew who Brad Pitt was. And while he’s a tremendous actor, personally I haven’t always appreciated most of the movies he’s been in the past 15 years.
Moneyball goes down in my book as the perfect Brad Pitt movie. (I haven’t seen Tree of Life yet, but I’m guessing it’s going to be a solid film, but a solid Terrance Malick film.) That’s not to take anything away from Moneyball’s director (Bennett Miller) or screenwriters (Steven Zillian and Aaron Sorkin), it’s just that their talents all came together to tell a great story that is driven by an actor in his prime. And my guess is that they’ll all be rewarded when the Oscar nominations are announced.
“(Moneyball) is about how we value things. How we value each other; how we value ourselves; and how we decide who’s a winner based on those values. The film questions the very idea of how to define success. It places great value on this quiet, personal victory, the victory that’s not splashed across the headlines or necessarily results in trophies, but that, for Beane, became a kind of personal Everest. At the end of the day, we all hope that what we’re doing will be of some value, that it will mean something and I think that is this character’s quest.”
Moneyball: Interview with Brad Pitt
* I will admit that baseball was my first love which is part of what is so special to me about this movie. From rooting for Cinncinatti’s Big Red Machine and to going to spring training games at Tinker Field in Orlando as a kid, to playing the game through high school, and as an adult going to games at Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, and Yankee Stadium, the idea of baseball has been a constant companion even though I don’t follow the game much any more. But even if baseball is foreign to you, I think Moneyball works on so many levels you can enjoy the movie even if you’re not a fan of the game.