Brad Pitt put his heart and soul into this film. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Billy Beane, the real-life general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Unfortunately, his close buddy George Clooney won the Golden Globe for his role in The Descendents.
Billy Beane was a former baseball player who gave up a scholarship to Stanford to play for the New York Mets. The scouts were wrong about him and he did not play good ball. He stayed with the game he loved by becoming the General Manager of the Oakland A’s, a team that was strapped with a low budget for recruiting the best players.
The story is based upon the book of the same name written by Michael Lewis and revolves totally around the A’s 2002 season and the unorthodox way that Billy Beane, with the help of Yale economics graduate Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill), chose the members of the team. Peter Brand’s theory was to look closely at a player’s “on-base percentage” through a statistical method known as sabermetrics rather than his play in the field or any other conventional method of choosing a team member. This revolutionary method is looked at askance, particularly by the team’s manager Art Howe (portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman), who does his best to discredit the duo.
After an extremely slow start in the A’s 2002 season, the team turned around their game and succeeded in winning 20 consecutive games which were an American League record. Sadly, their winning streak did not continue and the team seemed to fall apart in the first round of the playoffs, knocking them out of the possibility of winning the World Series that year.
It would not be fair to reveal Billy Beane’s decision on how to play out the rest of his career, whether to stay with the A’s or to move on to a more lucrative position. You will have to watch this blockbuster movie to learn the ending.
We are introduced to the personal life of Billy Beane, mostly through his relationship with his 12-year-old daughter Casey since Billy is divorced from Casey’s mother who has remarried. Casey, played by young Kerris Dorsey, shows a remarkable facility with the guitar, accompanied by her singing of the tender number called “The Show.” She has a talent that we will no doubt see more of in the future.
You may not be a baseball fan, but the presence of Brad Pitt is enough to make up for that. Brad Pitt has yet to win an Academy Award although he has one Golden Globe Award under his belt (for Twelve Monkeys).