Monday, June 20, 2011

Coming This Fall: Moneyball

The first trailer for the new film Moneyball came out this week and it got me very excited. I've been tracking this movie for a while because it's Aaron Sorkin's latest project. It's based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis, who also wrote The Blind Side. The premise is this: It's the story of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players. (Thank you IMDB for that quick description.)

Basically, the Oakland A's had a very small budget, thus they could not get big players who demanded big salaries. (The A's had a budget of about $41 million while the Yankees had a budget of about $125 million.) Billy Beane put together a team of excellent players who were cheap because they were undervalued. In the trailer the team is referred to as The Island of Misfit Toys. In many ways, the success of this theory changed the game of baseball. Here's why I'm so excited about the movie:

  • The Writers: Moneyball is co-written by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian. Aaron Sorkin is one of my favorite writers and he just won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay for The Social Network. His other films include Charlie Wilson's War, The American President, and A Few Good Men. He's also written three of my favorite television shows: Sports Night, The West Wing, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. If you've seen any of those movies or shows, you know that Sorkin's dialogue is musical. It is usually very fast-paced and it has a certain rhythm to it. Steven Zaillian has written Schindler's List, Mission: Impossible, A Civil Action and Gangs of New York to name a few. It will be really interesting to see how both writers' styles mesh together.
  • The Director: This is only Bennett Miller's second feature film, but his first film, Capote, was SO good. I have high hopes for this film as well. Aaron Sorkin dialogue in the hands of the wrong director can be disastrous, but I think Miller has what it takes to pull it off.
  • The Cast: Brad Pitt (Billy Beane) is not exactly my favorite guy in Hollywood (his public persona sometimes makes it hard for me to take him seriously) but there's no denying that when he's given a great character, he can be a great actor. Jonah Hill plays Peter Brand, the wiz kid who comes up with the low-budget-team theory. Jonah Hill is a great comedic actor. He's been in a lot of Judd Apatow movies. It will be interesting to see him in a more serious role. And I've saved the best for last: Philip Seymour Hoffman. He plays Art Howe, the manager of the A's. Philip Seymour Hoffman played Truman Capote in Capote, so he knows Miller, and he also had a role in Charlie Wilson's War, so he knows Aaron Sorkin as well. Philip Seymour Hoffman rarely chooses bad films, so the fact that he's in this movie makes me happy.

    The film is still 3 months away, but it's already getting Oscar buzz for its acting and writing. Aaron Sorkin could become the first writer to win two years in a row.

    The movies opens on September 23.

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