Tag Archive: moneyball


Alright, let’s look at the biggie:

Best Picture

  • Who I Want to Win: Hm.  Good movies this year, but nothing that feels like ‘I’ll stop whatever I’m doing when this comes on cable next year’.  I’d say ‘Moneyball’ but now I want to pull a ‘reverse jaded’ move (yep, made that word up) since Pitt was there after the screening to charm us up.  So let’s say ‘Hugo.’
  • Who Should Win:  To steal a phrase I’ve heard Bill Simmons say, ‘When we look back at the past 12 months, what’s the movie historically that we’ll say, ‘Oh yeah, that was what happened in 2011?’  And the answer is ‘The Artist’, right?
  • Who Will Win: Yep, ‘the Artist’.

Last note for the weekend, you can expect the rare weekend post from me since it’s going to be Oscar Sunday.  I talked to my partner in crime today, and he’s down, so at the moment we plan to do one of our Martin & Lewis style, ArtFradieu live running commentaries of the show Sunday.  Hopefully the All-Star Game will be over by then!

Anyway, for some politically incorrect, bridge burning comedy, come back Sunday night!

 

Let’s start the run toward this year’s Oscars with a look at a few behind the scenes categories:

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Who I Want to Win: Don’t really have a dog in this fight, I think they were all pretty well written.
  • Who Should Win: I’ll lean toward ‘Moneyball’ here as the least cinematic idea (building a baseball team with statistics) and turning it into a good film.
  • Who Will Win: I think this is the first of many awards that the Descendants will be taking home.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Who I Want to Win: ‘Bridesmaids’.  Hard for comedies to get props with this group as it is. Kind of surprised it got a nomination to be honest.
  • Who Should Win: The most purely original idea to be honest was ‘the Artist’, but I’d defer to one of my screenwriting friends to tell me if the screenplay was up to snuff.
  • Who Will Win: I think Woody gets some love here…

Best Direction

  • Who I Want to Win: The hardest film (in my opinion) to direct was ‘Hugo’ by a landslide, so I’d say Scorsese.
  • Who Should Win: I’ve said it before but this is as strong a top five as I can remember.  Now if we’re talking personal preference, don’t get me started on ‘Tree of Life’…
  • Who Will Win: Probably the director of ‘the Artist’. Probably…

Tomorrow we’ll cover the Actress categories…

 

Moneyball

As far as book to film translations go, Moneyball is an entertaining movie that keeps the spirit of the book.  ‘How does a small market team compete/win in the imbalanced world of modern baseball?’  Brad Pitt produces and stars as Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s GM who ‘revolutionized’ the game by incorporating new math formulas into figuring out how to build a good baseball team for little to no money.

Now, that plot description is not remotely cinematic; what the film does well is frame the story as a forward thinking man (Beane and his mathematical genius sidekick played by a still portly Jonah Hill) who comes up against friction at every turn.  The old school scouts whose years of expertise are being thrown out; the players who have been conditioned to believe they’re washed up, Beane’s own self doubt at knowing this is his ‘last chance’ to make something of himself.  I’m enough of a sports fan to know (SPOILER ALERT) the Oakland Athletics haven’t won a World Series in this timeframe.  I won’t ruin where the film ends, but I thought it was satisfying.

So does that make it a good film?  It is.  But like making a crime film, the bar is impossibly high for what makes a ‘great sports film’.  During the Q&A after the screening I attended, someone asked the filmmakers how they felt their baseball film stacked up against Field of Dreams or 61*.  Whether you feel the question was a little rude or not, the filmmakers said they only focused on making the film they were making (good answer).  And the film they made was entertaining.