'Moneyball': How audiences fell back in love with screenwriting. Plus, Brad Pitt's sexiest dimension

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Image Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon

Moneyball, the crackerjack true-life baseball movie starring Brad Pitt as the quirky, embattled, visionary Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (a name born to be […] Read the full post.

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  • Ruth

    Watching Moneyball I kept thinking of Timothy Olyphant’s work in Deadwood and Justified–portrayals of complex, intelligent men who don’t talk about how they feel but let it leak through. The dialogue in Moneyball was great, but so were the silences. I’m all for more conversational movies–action scenes are boring.

  • Tiffany

    I agree with all of the comments above. I went and saw the movie yesterday afternoon because people were saying it was that good and it was. I understood all the material and since that was a Sorkin pen I thought that the whole film would have them talking and walking in circles(haha, miss you West Wing). Yes, adults want to be entertained as well and this did it for me. I just told by boss he needs to go and see this film himself. As for Pitt, always knew he had the talent, it just seem people want to make the excuse that he is an horrible actor because he is no longer with Anniston, whick is a shame.

    • janice kornas

      Yes it is a shame that there are some people out there who will say “I won’t go to see any movies Brad Pitt is in.” And it has to do with his failed marriage to Ms. Anniston. Since their marriage had nothing to do with me i say who cares if they devorice? I go see movies that i want to see and i could care less about someone’s personal life since it doesn’t effect me. This is a fantastic film that i think is for everyone, and i highly recommend it. I hope your boss listens to you and goes to see the film. My husband wants to go so i’ll see it twice. Yes everyone ,it was that good.

  • Jon

    I would love for the screenwriter to make a comeback. Screenwriters were big names at one point, but you hear less and less of guys like Scott Frank or Eric Roth. Hollywood really just needs a sense of balance. They shouldn’t stop making their loud visual-assault movies because obviously they can be hugely profitable. But why not focus a little more attention of story- and dialogue-driven movies? People are thirsty for them — it’s a common refrain when talking to people about movies. The thing is, they have to be GOOD story- and dialogue-driven movies… and quite frankly, Hollywood isn’t great at that.

    I don’t really agree about Brad Pitt. Good actor, but not a brilliant actor. I often still realize I’m watching Brad Pitt. I actually liked him more earlier on — way back in his “True Romance” days. He had much less awkwardness to his acting. Sometimes I just feel like I see him acting. He was very good in “Seven,” though, and he was really funny in the criminally underrated “Burn After Reading.”
    It’s hard to take “Moneyball” seriously if you’re a baseball fan. It’s just so completely inaccurate it become annoying. The portrayal of the A’s is total BS. They make it seem like the A’s were a lost franchise wallowing in mediocrity. That’s simply not true. And during the time the movie is set, their team was loaded with talent (people barely mentioned in the movie). I think they could have been a bit more honest and still made a decent film.

    • janice kornas

      Totally disagree with you. My husband and i are avid baseball fans. My husband and i went to nearly every week-end game in Chicago. After our daughter was born it made a huge difference as we had to travel nearly 200 miles to watch our Chicago White Sox games so we watched them at home. Did you read Billy Beane’s book? The A’s were the first team that did away with paying huge salaries, which by the way the Chicago Sox later carried through on with Bill Veck. at the helm. Brad Pitt is a great actor who is able to play many different characters. When in the heck did he have his early on True Romance days? Thelma & Louise was not his romance days and the one with Juliette Lewis wasn’t either. I doubt you have seen all of his movies. Did you see Legends of the fall?, The Ingorious Bastards? The one where he played Jesse James? , the one where he went fly fishing with his brother and father(Tom Skeritt).? Well these were his earler films and not what you would call True Romance. Even the Vampire movie with Tom Cruise wasn’t a romance movie. Yes Seven was very good but actually wasn’t what you would call a True Romance movie either as he didn’t have many love scenes with his murdered wife. Everyone in the theater we were in enjoyed the movie. We didn’t hear anyone pick it apart. We knew what we liked and that was it. Are you trying to suggest that Billy B. didn’t refuse the huge amount of money to manage the Boston Red Sox? Are you saying his daughter wasn’t the real reason he turned them down? You had better get Billy Beane’s book. Then call him a liar. I think he knows more about baseball then you do. I think you could be a little more honest and just come out and say i don’t care for Brad Pitt.

    • Angela

      I’m a baseball fan, and I know that it’s not 100% accurate. Didn’t stop me from enjoying the movie.

  • N

    I think Brad Pitt is an underrated actor and people are so focused on his personal life that they fail to see his great work. I saw Tree of Life and was blown away by his performance in a film I still don’t understand. In Moneyball he seemed at ease and magnetic at the same time. Definitely one of his best performances ever.

  • Ronald

    Quentin Tarantino’s films have been fairly profitable for years, and while they are a bit…action-y, I think his movies focus more on the talking than the action sequences. Like Pulp Fiction. Or, Kill Bill. The latter has some spectacular action, but the story and script really are very well-written.

  • Shannon

    While I appreciated “Moneyball” for its screenplay and performances, it didn’t rock my world…I thought it was a little boring. I did love the trading players scene but that was the most energy expended in the two hour film. Did anyone else find it slow in places, or is it just because I find BASEBALL to be boring?

    • Shannon Nutt

      It must be because you don’t like baseball…I had a big smile on my face throughout…I’m not sure there was a bad scene in the whole film.

    • janice kornas

      slow? no. There were even some in the theater that clapped during the film. At the end when you saw Pitt driving to his new gig in Boston while listening to his daughter’s tape his eyes started to tear up and my sister and i said he’s going to go back. Sure enough he did. He loved his daughter and wanted to be closer to her. That is wonderful right there. My husband, sister, brother-in-law and i used to go to watch our Chicago White Sox games nearly every week-end they were in town. It might be true that you have to know something about baseball or enjoy the game to enjoy the movie. I don’t know, as everyone we know, family and friends alike are either Cub fans or White Sox fans. I’m like Shannon Nutt. This was Brad Pitt’s best movie by far. Never a dull moment for me. My husband who has not been to a movie in years wants to go see it and i told him i would go see it again. That’s how good i thought it was.

  • Shannon Nutt

    My favorite movie (so far) of 2011, and my favorite Pitt performance in years. So, naturally, it will probably be totally ignored during awards season.

    • Liz Lemon

      I think Brad should get nominated for Tree of Life if not for Moneyball. Either way, he should get some recognition. And Moneyball should definitely be a contender for Best Picture and/or Screenwriting.

      • janice kornas

        Well said Liz. I agree with everything you said but if i know good old Hollywood they have favorites and since Brad, & Angie do not hang around the hollywood scene they are not likely to get the reconition either of them deserve.

  • PJ

    I have not seen a lot of his critically acclaimed stuff. However, I did like him in other films (Ocean’s 11, Seven)

  • Kali

    Brad Pitt is easily one of the best and smartest actors in Hollywood. He is often underestimated by critics but has held his own in many amazing performances over the years. I am sure sooner or later he will get an Oscar. They are just waiting for him to grow old so it’s not so painful that he is both so good-looking and talented.

  • Radzinsky

    Great article, but boy are you way WAY off on “Jesse James.” That film’s a masterpiece, and has what I think is easily Pitt’s best performance.

    Also let’s not forget “Burn After Reading” and “Babel.” So good in both.

    • janice kornas

      The critic’s or most of them anyway don’t agree with us on either Jesse James or Babel. I was blown away when i heard a critic praise Moneyball. That doesn’t happen too often, but i learned not to listen to critics. I go to any film i think i will like. I have to admit i have not seen Burn After Reading. It hasn’t come to our little town yet. My sister and i had to go out of town to see Moneyball as it isn’t here yet either.

  • Bonnie

    I agree. Brad Pitt has made great choices in movie selection and done amazing work in each one. I have all of his movies and am amazed at his growth as an actor. As far as looks, every time I see a Brad Pitt movie I have to watch it twice….I am mesmerized. At 47 he shows a little age but he is still the sexiest man alive.

  • Kelly

    I agree 110 % with your recap of “Moneyball” and Brad Pitt’s performance…awesome dialogue and a chance to see Brad Pitt as a very talented actor (not as much a pretty boy) was a nice September treat….he did look pretty good too (in a strong, cool and smart jock way).

    • janice kornas

      Kelly, I like your remark “In a strong, cool and jock way.”

  • Bonnie

    Just to add..I saw Moneyball this weekend and it was great. You don’t have to understand baseball to watch it.

  • Liz Lemon

    Brad Pitt is sexy and talented and one of a kind. The end.

    • janice kornas

      I agree.

  • Longo

    Great article and excellent analysis. Finally, a great actor is getting recognition for being just that-a great actor; and taking risks with the roles he takes on. I saw Moneyball with a friend, and both of us are not baseball fanatics, but we loved the movie. Academy award performance…after seeing Tree of Life this year as well, I am impressed with how very different the roles were, but still, how great his acting was in both of them. Well done Brad. Hope Oscar comes knocking this year! I’m seeing Moneyball again. You can’t help ending up rooting for Billy Beane…true story aside…the acting was that fine.

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