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September 23, 2011

Moneyball movie reviews

This week's featured movie adaptation is "Moneyball," which is based on Michael Lewis' fascinating book about baseball's move from old-fashioned talent scouting to modern statistical analysis. Brad Pitt portays Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane, whose numbers-based evaluation manages to find talent that has been overlooked by wealthier ballclubs (read the Yankees). I'm interested to see how the book translates to the screen, though, because as I recall from my reading of the book, there wasn't a ton of action. Still, the tale of baseball's technological revolution may make a compelling movie, in the same way "The Social Network" did. Here are excerpts from some review:

-- Tribune newspapers: Director Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” is the perfect sports movie for these cash-strapped times of efficiency maximization. It's also the best sports movie in a long time, period, as well as honestly inspirational — even though nobody knocks one into the lights, causing showers of sparks to blend in the night sky with the fireworks. This is not that film. It’s better than that film.

-- New York Times: It’s a story of baseball and bean counters, the hunt and the kill, yet while there are on-field scenes, the movie is less about the game as a pastime or passion or even a cruel capitalist sport than as a great epistemological problem. What is the question? Billy asks his bewildered scouts right before hiring Peter, a guy with a poster of Plato hanging above his bed.

-- Washington Post: Like a cold beer under a bluebird sky; like a flawless line drive on a warm summer's day; like a long, languorous seventh-inning stretch - "Moneyball" satisfies. A sports-centric come-from-behind drama that harbors profound truths under its self-effacing grin of an exterior, "Moneyball" is a movie of such loping, unforced ease and solid entertainment value that it's easy to take its gifts for granted.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 2:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Books to Movies

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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