It’s pretty obvious that the sports genre has a tendency to revel in formulaic inspirational storytelling. But, when you’ve got a true story with a happy ending, isn’t that effect almost inherent? According to Moneyball, no. Is that a good thing? It depends what you’re looking for.
Brad Pitt is Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s coming off a hot season. However, as Billy frequently says, nobody remembers you when you lose your last game of the season and in 2001, the A’s lost to the New York Yankees in the playoffs. And that’s not even the worst of it. Billy is about to lose his three hottest players and has just $38 million to recoup his losses, a fraction of the budget of most MLB ball clubs.
In comes Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, a Yale graduate with a pension for baseball. Billy snatches him up from an entry-level position with the Cleveland Indians and makes Peter his assistant GM. Together they use Peter’s computer-based system to put together a championship team on a budget. While most look at players like the injured catcher, Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt), and 37-year-old David Justice (Stephen Bishop) as liabilities, Peter and Billy see them as cheap grabs with promising skills.
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