I don’t think Brad Pitt gets as much credit as he deserves as an actor or a person. Seeing Moneyball only reinforced that. Not only does he turn in his second award-worthy performance of the year (Tree of Life being the first) but there is no way this film gets made or more importantly puts people in seats without him on the poster. That in itself is slightly ironic since the film is all about winning without the guys on the stadium-sized banners. Pitt turns in a charming, natural performance as a highly scouted big league failure turned GM who embraces the statistics-driven theories of his young protege Peter Brand, played to perfection by Jonah Hill. Pitt as Billy Beane assembles a team that resembles “the Island of Misfit Toys” and tries to lead his underfunded A’s team to a championship against baseball’s big money giants facing overwhelming doubt and scrutiny from baseball purists in the process. The script got a late assist from Aaron Sorkin and his trademark dialogue and ability to find the dramatic in the mundane are big reasons why the film works as well as it does. You don’t need to be a baseball fan, a sports fan or a man to enjoy this movie. It’s smart, engaging and entertaining. They wisely avoid tapping into the sports movie cliches to get their points across and the film’s pacing couldn’t be better. I was also quietly blown away by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s transformation into an old, grizzled dog of a manager. Between the buzz cut and the posture I didn’t doubt him for a second. People are comparing this film to The Social Network because of some obvious similarities, but like David Fincher’s cerebral masterpiece Moneyball deserves to be on the winning side of the year end awards but I could see it losing out to some of the more showy pictures currently in theaters. Highly recommended.

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