October 23, 2011

Brad Pitt;  Philip Seymour Hoffman

Billy Beane is the Current General Manager of the Oakland Athletics.  And this is his story.  It is a baseball story, yes, but more from a behind the scenes, business – even political – perspective.  Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, is a type A personality who makes decisions based as much on confidence and strength of personality as rationality.  If fact, his rationality is questioned by several people during the course of the movie.

He learned of the sabermetric principle originated by Bill James, of maximizing payroll by buying undervalued players and was, apparently, the first to commit to the sytem.  Best available information is that his current salary is $500,000 as GM of the A’s, and the movie reveals that he was offered $12.5 mil by the Boston Red Sox to take over there as GM, an offer he turned down. 

But he took the 2006 Athletics to the fifth best record in the major leagues on a payroll which ranked 24th out of 30.  

The Red Sox adopted the principles pioneered by Billy Beane and won their first World Series since 1918 in 2004.

Pitt is a good actor, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a key roll as field manager adds greatly.  Well played, well directed.  Three ***. 

If you miss it in the theatre put  it on your Netflix list.