“Living in Boston, it’s no shocker that I am a Red Sox fan through and through. I’m happy to hear them win, and I glare at anyone I see in Yankees gear. However, baseball has really never been my sport. I grew up watching basketball, and my history with baseball is rather spotty at best. When I was really little, my grandparents always had season tickets for the Tecolotes. They were my hometown’s team in Mexican League baseball. If they were on call to babysit on a game night, I was dragged along with a coloring book or two. I couldnt have cared less about the games. I remember my grandpa always listening to the games on the radio if the Tecos were playing away, and I just could not understand it.
Fast foward to me living in Boston. Freshman year I noticed what a huge deal the sport was around here. Crowds would gather in our lounge to watch the games. Decided to give it a go. After a few minutes I decided to bring in a pset to work on because nothing much was happening. Every time I’d look down at my work, I’d miss something on screen. So then I’d stare at the screen for a while and nothing would happen. After about an hour of that, I said “”screw it”” and retreated to my room and DVD player. The next time I willingly watched a game was a year later when the Sox were in the playoffs (this is Oct 2004, for those of you keeping score at home). I’d just gotten out of knee surgery and was rather high on morphine. So it seemed logical to wanna the game. Although I did also have Donnie Darko going on my laptop at the same time.
I didnt watch another game until 2007. By that point I’d discovered beer, and could finally see where the fun was in watching baseball. So now, I’ll catch the occasional game with friends, but it’s still not my favorite. In all the time I lived down the street from Fenway park, I’ve only been inside twice. Once for a game and the other for NKOTBSB. It rained both times.
Despite all that, my heart still bleeds for the Sox, and I am proud to live in Boston. It also makes for a rather fun movie watching experience when it comes to a film like Moneyball. I could hear people hissing in the back whenever Yankees were seen or mentioned. There were audibile murmurs throughout the auditorium during the scenes at Fenway.
All of that is well and good, but what about the movie itself? I really enjoyed it, and I felt like I learned a lot about the game that my city burns for. Not even with basketball did I previously have a sense of what goes on behind the scenes. I just watch the game and see whatever happens on the court/field/floor/track/etc. I suddenly understood the appeal of Fantasy sports, and I also had the urge to watch a game.
But the movie was about more than just how a team is put together. It circled around Billy Beane, played by the illustrious and gorgeous Brad Pitt, and showed how everything affected him and his family. We also got a look at his past and how his career in baseball got him to that point of GM for the Oakland A’s. At times, it did feel like some of the backstory (or sidestory I suppose) was sorta just thrown in there, but I do think it was necessary in order to connect the audience to the story.
The cast was top notch. Brad Pitt has grown so much over the course of his career and he was really giving it all, with such heart and subtlety. Jonah Hill also impressed me much. I’m so used to seeing him as the loud and awkward one. Except for a few quick moments, this was a totally different Hill, and it worked so well for him. While I do enjoy his comedic work (Superbad springs to mind of him at his best in his element), I’d be really excited to see more of him in this type of role. Philip Seymour Hoffman also delivered, as he always does. I really could buy him as a team manager, and I also found myself really angry with his character. Considering how much I love him as an actor, that’s just a testament to his ability that I had such dislike towards his role (if that makes sense).
I feel like there’s one of these big name sports movies every year (ie, The Blind Side two years ago). I’m still amazed when they can discover a new angle, but Moneyball did just that. In a year that’s been pretty weak for movies, this was one of the brighter spots.
Moneyball – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/