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The Daily Tar Heel

Movie Review: Moneyball


In some ways, “Moneyball,” a movie looking at the managerial tactics of baseball, may not seem like a sports movie.

In reality, it’s a rare examination of professional sports as they often are — businesses.

Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, the general manager for the financially struggling Oakland Athletics, who uses a purely statistical approach to finding a team using the smallest budget while overlooking the hunt for big names.

Despite the movie’s battle of David payrolls against Goliath budgets, the story never bleeds into the cliché. Pitt does not play a flat character striving to rediscover the love of the game, but simply a man who is playing the game of management in a new way.

Pitt’s wise-ass questioning of the principles of modern baseball is placed cleanly next to a group of old-minded ball club advisors who challenge his new approach. Jonah Hill also steps out of his chubby loudmouth niche to portray statistics analyst Peter Brand, the brains behind Beane’s operation. His character is subtly funny as he contrasts Pitt’s cavalier mannerisms with a demeanor ruled by logic.

The film places Beane and Brand’s undertaking against a backdrop of television clips showing criticism of their plan, haunting memories of Beane’s athletic decline and constant phone calls from across the league.

In the end, “Moneyball” rips down the romantic idealism often portrayed in sports movies and shows how brains in an organization can outweigh a hefty wallet.

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