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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HardballTalk: Gleeman at the movies: “Moneyball” review

A Gleebert-length review.

As a hardcore baseball fan who paid close attention to Billy Beane and the A’s during the period portrayed in the film there were a lot of specifics that stood out as questionable, particularly in terms of the movie’s time lines and exaggerated portrayals of certain characters (although the book is guilty of the latter as well).

However, what the movie lacked in historical accuracy it made up for in witty dialogue, likable characters, and a surprising amount of humor. I saw the movie in a packed theater and there were at least 8-10 moments where the entire audience laughed out loud, which certainly isn’t what I expected. ...

While creative license was taken with plenty of time lines and specifics, the film also does an excellent job of staying true to the most minute details. They mention dozens of actual players, mostly in situations that actually existed, and all of the recreations of games featured the players who were truly involved. When you see the A’s playing the Royals and Luis Ordaz is on second base, you know they combed through the boxscores in order to get every little thing correct.

Greg Franklin Posted: September 13, 2011 at 04:43 PM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, baseball geeks, books, business, media, reviews

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   1. AROM Posted: September 13, 2011 at 06:42 PM (#3923595)
Is Royce Clayton playing Miguel Tejada anywhere near believable? Even after catching Tejada's real age, Clayton is 4 years older than Tejada. And on top of that he's playing Tejada 9 years ago. A 41 year old man playing a 28 year old.

In addition, Clayton is listed at 6'0, 175, which is probably pretty close to what he was most of his playing career, never a big guy. Maybe Clayton has bulked up since his career ended, but he's playing a guy who was seriously roided up back in 2002.
   2. TomH Posted: September 13, 2011 at 06:48 PM (#3923601)
well, at least he would look more like a ML infielder in action than a 30-yr old actor who LOOKED like Tejada!
   3. Jon W Posted: September 13, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#3923607)
Here's my take on the movie:


The realism of the baseball scenes isn't the greatest, but it's also not particularly consequential - not very much of the movie involves newly shot baseball scenes.
   4. JJ1986 Posted: September 13, 2011 at 06:53 PM (#3923609)
well, at least he would look more like a ML infielder in action than a 30-yr old actor who LOOKED like Tejada!


He also probably looks more like a ML infielder than a 37-year old Tejada.
   5. Shredder Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:05 PM (#3923618)
A 41 year old man playing a 28 year old.
Which is rare, because in Hollywood, no one ever plays a character who is younger than the actual actor.
   6. OsunaSakata Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:07 PM (#3923622)
My take in the other thread.

Summary: It will probably make Primates happy. Whether or not you hate the movie will probably depend on what you think of Billy Beane's daughter. It's one of the ten best baseball movies ever.
   7. WSPanic Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#3923630)
When you see the A’s playing the Royals and Luis Ordaz is on second base, you know they combed through the boxscores in order to get every little thing correct.



I remember attending a game in KC back during the Ordaz Era (that's what we call the early 2000's here in KC) - and someone acutally had a sign at the game that said "Luis is Ordazzling"
   8. Gamingboy Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#3923654)
When you see the A’s playing the Royals and Luis Ordaz is on second base, you know they combed through the boxscores in order to get every little thing correct.


Okay, this is awesome, that they'd go back and do something like that.


It's one of the ten best baseball movies ever.


Out of curiosity, what are your other nine?
   9. esseff Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3923663)
Why does the movie use a fictional character named Brand for Beane's assistant instead of DePodesta?
   10. boteman is here Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#3923664)
It's one of the ten best baseball movies ever.

You must have missed the part in that other thread where it clearly states IT IS NOT A BASEBALL MOVIE!!!11!! What must a director do to get this point across?
   11. JJ1986 Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3923665)
Why does the movie use a fictional character named Brand for Beane's assistant instead of DePodesta?


I think Paul didn't want his name used.
   12. OsunaSakata Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:48 PM (#3923669)
Other nine-

Eight Men Out, Bull Durham, League of Their Own, Field of Dreams, Major League

After that I'd be splitting hairs depending on mood - Bad News Bears, Damn Yankees, The Rookie, Angels in the Outfield, everything else I'm meh or less on.
   13. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#3923670)
Is Royce Clayton playing Miguel Tejada anywhere near believable? Even after catching Tejada's real age, Clayton is 4 years older than Tejada. And on top of that he's playing Tejada 9 years ago. A 41 year old man playing a 28 year old.

After "Grease," anything is possible.
   14. OsunaSakata Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:50 PM (#3923671)
Are we sure Tejada was actually 28 then?
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:54 PM (#3923675)
Why does the movie use a fictional character named Brand for Beane's assistant instead of DePodesta?


Brand to Johnny Damon while touring the Coliseum after Damon was traded from Kansas City: "This is a picture of Mr. Beane with Nancy Reagan, taken when she was first lady of the nation, not California. Don't touch that"
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#3923679)

Brand to Johnny Damon while touring the Coliseum after Damon was traded from Kansas City: "This is a picture of Mr. Beane with Nancy Reagan, taken when she was first lady of the nation, not California. Don't touch that"


PSH is manager Art Howe. Jonah Hill is "Paul Brand."

Billy Beane: Paul, get me those stat sheets up for our conference call with Kenny Williams.
Paul Brand: Sure thing Mr. Beane. [phone rings] Hello? Well I would love to sell you some weed, Jeremy, but I'm at my ####### job right now. Obviously, because you called me at work, you know that I'm at my place of *work,* so I can't just leave here and sell you some weed. I can sell you some weed when I'm done.
   17. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 13, 2011 at 08:13 PM (#3923698)
Other nine-

Eight Men Out, Bull Durham, League of Their Own, Field of Dreams, Major League

After that I'd be splitting hairs depending on mood - Bad News Bears, Damn Yankees, The Rookie, Angels in the Outfield, everything else I'm meh or less on

IMO it's pretty hard to come up with ten good baseball movies. Still, Angels in the Outfield but not Pride of the Yankees?

(I'm no Yankee fan, but I'm still a sucker for PotY.)
   18. Greg K Posted: September 13, 2011 at 08:15 PM (#3923701)
I believe it's more like

Paul Brand: I'm over here with my laptop, isolated and alone, looking at this terrible baseball-reference team page, and I have to look over at that. That looks like the most fun I've ever seen in my entire life, and it's B.S. - excuse my language. I'm just saying that I cut and paste; I'm like an accountant. Look, we all know sabermetrics is a joke—no offense—it's just that everyone uses payroll disparity as an excuse, and it's bullshit—and I'm sorry. I'm not putting down your profession, but it's just the way I feel. I don't want to sit here, all by myself, re-sorting this shitty roster on Excel—no offense—and I just think that why the hell do we have Terrence Long. When is Terrence Long going to win anything? Is he going to be an MVP? No. There's three weeks left 'til we lost in the playoffs, give me a ######' break! I'm sorry for cursing.
   19. Greg K Posted: September 13, 2011 at 08:24 PM (#3923705)
Or Scott Hatteberg:

A week ago, I had nothing. Now I'm a major league first baseman, I'm gonna make 32 bucks tonight. I owe Mr. Beane everything I have. Which after tonight will be 39 bucks.
   20. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 13, 2011 at 08:31 PM (#3923710)
why the hell do we have Terrence Long. When is Terrence Long going to win anything? Is he going to be an MVP? No. There's three weeks left 'til we lost in the playoffs, give me a ######' break! I'm sorry for cursing.

Yes.
I will be hearing this, in Jonah Hill's voice, all day now.
   21.   Posted: September 13, 2011 at 08:36 PM (#3923714)
Jonah Hill is the movie’s second lead and plays the A’s assistant general manager, which is a position that Paul DePodesta actually held at the time of the Moneyball book. DePodesta reportedly refused to let the movie use his name and it’s easy to see why, as the “Peter Brand” character out-weighs him by about 150 pounds and is essentially the stereotypical stat-head, whereas DePodesta played both baseball and football at Harvard and had a completely different and less cliched backstory.


This is the most disappointing-sounding part to me. I am so tired of this cliché...
   22. Greg K Posted: September 13, 2011 at 08:47 PM (#3923720)
Ouch, I didn't realize that was the reason DePodesta gave. I'm guessing he's off Jonah Hill's Christmas Card list. For what it's worth even the negative reviews seem to be impressed (or maybe just surprised) with Hill's performance.
   23. JJ1986 Posted: September 13, 2011 at 08:48 PM (#3923722)
Ouch, I didn't realize that was the reason DePodesta gave. I'm guessing he's off Jonah Hill's Christmas Card list.


It's not. He praised Hill and explicitly said that he wasn't the reason; it was the script.

That Hill looked nothing like him – DePodesta is trim and somewhat bookish in appearance, Hill is not – was of little significance to DePodesta. That he would be portrayed as an Ivy League-bred assistant GM-o-tron, an amalgamation of the computer-wed stat-heads who’d foisted their fancy theories on a perfectly archaic segment of the game was vexing.

Believing the script’s image of him was inaccurate and unable to convince the filmmakers to alter the depiction, DePodesta requested his name be removed from the character. “There were a handful of things,” he said. “Some were factual, others were more ephemeral.”

...

“Jonah was awesome,” DePodesta said. “He was so respectful of me and my time. It would have been flattering to be portrayed by someone of his expertise.
   24. Greg K Posted: September 13, 2011 at 08:50 PM (#3923724)
Ah, then Christmas Cards for all!
   25. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: September 13, 2011 at 09:00 PM (#3923731)
We should all go see this together at midnight on the 22nd.
   26. JE (Jason) Posted: September 13, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#3923736)
Summary: It will probably make Primates happy. Whether or not you hate the movie will probably depend on what you think of Billy Beane's daughter. It's one of the ten best baseball movies ever.

IMHO, the best one since Bull Durham. Funnier too. Pitt will probably receive an Oscar nomination.

EDIT: And like "The Blind Side," you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy this film. Of course, Joe Morgan will stay away. (He doesn't watch movies written, produced, and directed by Billy Beane.)
   27. boteman is here Posted: September 13, 2011 at 09:14 PM (#3923740)
We should all go see this together at midnight on the 22nd.

East coast bias?
   28. OsunaSakata Posted: September 13, 2011 at 10:37 PM (#3923784)
In the podcast, Gleeman or one of his cohorts complains about a scene where Beane goes to Cleveland to discuss trades with Shapiro and later meets Peter Brand. GMs don't fly to each other just to talk trade. In retrospect, this scene could have been set at the winter meetings in the Indians hotel suite. Beane could have talked to Brand at the hotel bar instead of in the cubicle farm.
   29. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: September 13, 2011 at 10:49 PM (#3923794)
Brand to Johnny Damon while touring the Coliseum after Damon was traded from Kansas City: "This is a picture of Mr. Beane with Nancy Reagan, taken when she was first lady of the nation, not California. Don't touch that"


Haha, PSH's character in The Big Lebowski was named "Brandt" and said something nearly identical to The Dude. Dropping Johnny Damon in for Jeff Bridges is a nice touch.
   30. deb Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:14 AM (#3924231)
The nerds around here need to be camping out at the theaters already

Reasons it won't matter if you camp out
1) You already don't bathe
2) You have no social life to miss while in line
3) You will be able to talk to fellow linesitters in acronyms
4) You already own the latest and greatest electronic stuff to keep you occupied
5) Your mom will be happy to have you out of the basement for a few days.
   31.   Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:28 AM (#3924267)
Why the hell would we go outside when we can download bootlegged copies from the internet and watch them in your mothers basement? Idiot
   32. Darren Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#3924270)
I think a meetup for this would be good, but where?
   33.   Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:34 AM (#3924274)
Id be in for a vancouver meetup...anyone? Anyone?
   34. hokieneer Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:45 AM (#3924282)
18 is great.

I never once thought this would work as a movie until I saw the trailer. Now I'm moderately excited to go see it.

Not as excited as I am to go watch Real Steel and laugh for 2 hours. Movies like that make me wish I still smoked pot. That is just the type of movie I used to get baked and go watch
   35. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:58 AM (#3924294)
I think a meetup for this would be good, but where?

New York, obviously.
   36. NTNgod Posted: September 14, 2011 at 03:05 AM (#3924297)
A 41 year old man playing a 28 year old.

Redford was pushing 50 when he did THE NATURAL (Hobbs certainly wasn't supposed to be THAT old), so there's precedent.
   37. shea80 Posted: September 14, 2011 at 03:49 AM (#3924314)
Royce Clayton is playing Tejada in Moneyball, but he didn't get to play himself striking out against Jim Morris in The Rookie.
   38. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:22 AM (#3924336)
Royce Clayton is playing Tejada in Moneyball, but he didn't get to play himself striking out against Jim Morris in The Rookie.


Yes he did.
   39. Joe Kehoskie Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:31 AM (#3924342)
I've always been looking forward to seeing this, but the wide range of reviews has me even more curious. I've seen early reviews ranging from "top 10 baseball movie" to "not recommended."
   40. Something Other Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:37 AM (#3924345)
And like "The Blind Side," you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy this film. Of course, Joe Morgan will stay away. (He doesn't watch movies written, produced, and directed by Billy Beane.)
God, I hated The Blind Side with a passion. Talk about saccharin, unsurprising drivel. Oh, and that scene direct from Satan's School for Film, where Bullock's character rattles on about how the young man has 'a 97% score on the Thor-Heimlich test for protecting puppies!' I mean, when a script is so ####### bad, and so ####### weak at revealing a character that they have to persuade me by giving me a percentile? Holy ####. Burn the script! Burn the actors! Then serve up their charred flesh on an Oscar Melt!!!

I saw it with a woman I was dating. It wasn't a deal breaker that she thought it was a good film, but damn, it was close. To anyone who would like me to cede the point, yes, Sandra looked lovely. I enjoy many of her films.
   41. AROM Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:58 AM (#3924355)
Redford was pushing 50 when he did THE NATURAL (Hobbs certainly wasn't supposed to be THAT old), so there's precedent.


And only 2 years younger than his manager, Wilford Brimley. Brimley's only 77, but has looked 70 since he was 40.
   42. Walt Davis Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:34 AM (#3924365)
I've seen early reviews ranging from "top 10 baseball movie" to "not recommended."

Alas it's not clear these are mutually exclusive categories.
   43. Joe Kehoskie Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:44 AM (#3924366)
And only 2 years younger than his manager, Wilford Brimley. Brimley's only 77, but has looked 70 since he was 40.

Similar to James Gammon in Major League; he was less than a decade older than Berenger but I would have guessed the age difference was 20 years or more.

Speaking of The Natural, it was on the tube here in Mexico last night, but with the title El mejor (The Best). Just doesn't have the same ring to it.
   44. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 07:20 AM (#3924386)
Speaking of The Natural, it was on the tube here in Mexico last night, but with the title El mejor (The Best). Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

I saw a poster for The Hangover 2 in Paris, except it was titled "Very Bad Trip 2".
   45. Joe Kehoskie Posted: September 14, 2011 at 09:13 AM (#3924392)
I saw a poster for The Hangover 2 in Paris, except it was titled "Very Bad Trip 2".

In Mexico, it was ¿Qué paso ayer? (What happened yesterday?), which was odd, since "hangover" translates easily.

In other news, Keith Law absolutely crushed the Moneyball movie last night on Twitter and his personal (i.e., non-ESPN) blog. Like the Astros sale, opinions are all over the map on this movie.
   46. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 10:30 AM (#3924402)
I think quite a few of Law's criticisms are about how it would be impossible to make a realistic movie about a GM rather than how Moneyball itself isn't a good movie (if that's a meaningful distinction).

He complains that watching a guy talk on the phone swinging a deal makes for a boring scene (to which I agree)
Then later complains that a GM flying half-way across the country to discuss a trade for a reliever with another GM face to face is unrealistic (also agreed)
But it's a movie, you're going to have to make some kind of compromise there.
   47. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 11:12 AM (#3924409)
Dammit, now there's a Keith Law Moneyball review thread and no one is going to read my dangerously insightful comments.
   48. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 01:55 PM (#3924512)
Are there even 10 good baseball movies? Bull Durham, Bad News Bears, Major League... Cobb and Eight Men Out are OK. Even if I grant Field of Dreams, we're nowhere near 10.
   49. shea80 Posted: September 14, 2011 at 03:20 PM (#3924629)
Royce Clayton is playing Tejada in Moneyball, but he didn't get to play himself striking out against Jim Morris in The Rookie.



Yes he did.

No he didn't
.

According to a Jerry Crasnick column on espn.com last fall,

"Moneyball" isn't Clayton's first foray into cinema. In the 2002 Disney film "The Rookie," which chronicles pitcher Jim Morris' improbable journey from Texas high school science teacher to Tampa Bay Devil Rays reliever, Texas shortstop Royce Clayton strikes out in a climactic scene at the end of the movie. The Internet Movie Database says that Clayton played himself in an uncredited role. In reality, Clayton spent some time on the set, but was portrayed by an actor whose name he can't recall.



"He took some of the worst hacks I've ever seen," Clayton said. "I was like, 'How hard would it have been to find somebody who had actually swung a bat before?'"
   50. shea80 Posted: September 14, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3924642)
Sorry for the messed up code in 49, but the point is Clayton didn't play himself in the Rookie.

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