The 'Moneyball' Movie: Less Stats, More Hugging

At least that's what the first trailer for the upcoming Brad Pitt baseball movie emphasized

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In his 2003 book Moneyball, journalist Michael Lewis examined how Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane used complex statistics to identify undervalued talent and turn the small-budget franchise into one of baseball's perennial contenders. Based on the just-released trailer for the long-delayed Moneyball movie, it looks as if star Brad Pitt, director Bennett Miller and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin adaptation are concentrating less on VORP and more on heart.

Around the Web, the trailer is reminding people of the trailer for pretty every other sports movie ever made. Not that that's a bad thing. "Maybe it's just the Friday Night Lights–ish score toward the end of the promo that's generating a root-for-the-underdog/family-man sensation," enthuses Vulture's Margaret Lyons.  "but either way: root root root!"

  • MSNBC baseball blogger Aaron Gleeman conceded the heartstring plucking moments seem "awfully silly if you’ve read the book or are simply a knowledgeable baseball fan." But if fans of the book can "suspend reality a bit and think of the whole thing as a Major League-style story about an underdog team of misfits and toss in Brad Pitt doing all sorts of Brad Pitt-like things playing general manager Billy Beane it might be decent."
  • And besides, a thorough cinematic examination of Beane's "contrarian new philosophy on scoring talent" wouldn't have much crossover appeal with "folks who don’t yet know what WHIP stands for," wnoted Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Labrecque. "[S]o Aaron Sorkin’s script delves deeper into Beane’s homelife and his relationship with his awkward baseball-geek assistant, the blandly-named Peter Brand (Jonah Hill)."
  • Slash Film's Russ Fischer particularly enjoyed Pitt's "Don't go on the Internet" line, calling it a "trademark Sorkin moment." "Also," continued Fischer, "does Brad Pitt look like he’s styled after Sorkin more than after the real Billy Beane?" (Our take: kind of. But we've also thought of Sorkin and Beane as being pretty similar.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.