Field of dreams

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH www. money­ball- movie. net/

Di­rec­tor: Ben­nett Miller ( Capote) Stars: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man, Chris Pratt, Robin Wright Some fig­ures don’t add up. And they’re the fig­ures that count ‘‘ IT’S an un­fair game,’’ says Billy Beane, gen­eral man­ager of per­pet­ual base­ball brides­maids, the Oak­land Ath­let­ics.

‘‘ There are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s 50 feet of crap. Then there’s us.’’

The year is 2001, and the As have just low­ered their colours at the end of a hard­fought World Se­ries to the il­lus­tri­ous New York Yan­kees.

The frus­tra­tion of Beane ( Brad Pitt) to­wards the fi­nan­cial in­equal­i­ties rife through Ma­jor League Base­ball – the Yan­kees’ line- up is val­ued at a whop­ping four times that of the As – takes him right to the very brink of walk­ing away.

So with all the ro­mance gone, is there still a place for Beane in the sport he loves?

You bet. Based on a true story, Money­ball is the in­spi­ra­tional tale of Billy Beane’s search for a rea­son to stay in base­ball.

What will hap­pen when he finds it? That’s not for me to say. But if you’re ex­pect­ing a tra­di­tional, un­der­dog- bites- back- atad­ver­sity sports movie in Money­ball, you’re go­ing to be very sur­prised.

Suf­fice to say we’re not head­ing to­wards one of those corny end­ings of a tri­umph cap­tured in freeze- frame.

With base­ball ruled by those bear­ing the big­gest cheque books, Beane needs to come up with a game- chang­ing gam­bit fast. Those leath­ery old coaches and scouts – whose sea­soned eyes have seen too much – are not go­ing to be the an­swer.

By chance, Beane stum­bles upon a ques­tion­ing mind with a rad­i­cally fresh take on the game: a be­spec­ta­cled young stats man named Peter Brand ( Jonah Hill).

The res­o­lutely un- ath­letic Yale grad reck­ons he has iden­ti­fied a cru­cial er­ror in the way team play­ing lists are as­sem­bled.

Too much em­pha­sis has been placed on a per­cep­tion of base­balling skill, rather than its ac­tual ex­e­cu­tion.

What if a team could be brought to­gether on the ba­sis of the pure sta­tis­ti­cal per­for­mance of its play­ers?

Throw­ing aside more than 100 years of tra­di­tion, Beane backs Brand’s plan to the last let­ter.

Mean­while, Oak­land’s head coach Art Howe ( Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man) blocks the pair’s at­tempted progress at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

Adapted from the best- sell­ing book by Michael Lewis, Money­ball is­sues a sub­tly stir­ring cry against the cashed- up crass­ness of all modern sports.

Beane and Brand might be churn­ing through reams of data to chase a new dream for the Oak­land As, but they can never be ac­cused of do­ing any­thing by numbers.

The story of the un­prece­dented quest of Beane and Brand ( beau­ti­fully played by Pitt and Hill) speaks a uni­ver­sal truth to any­one who still wishes their favourite pas­time was no more than a game.

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