Sunday, May 31, 2020

Don't Make a Scene: Moneyball

The Set-Up: I miss baseball.

It's a metaphor.

The Story: Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) didn't have the budget to buy all-around "all-stars" for the season, so he hired Pete Brand (Jonah Hill), who is good on stats and spread-sheets and is more concerned with on-base percentages than home runs. Although slow to start, the A's end up with the American League West title, but lose the American League Division Series. Beane, who dreamed of going to the "Series" is disappointed, despite an offer from the Red Sox to become the highest paid general manager in sports. He still sees the season as a failure.

To Brand, he's not looking at the stats. Needs coaching.

Let's Roll the Tape.

PETE It's not much more than a home movie but you'll get the idea
BILLY Who is it
PETE The Visalia Oaks... 
PETE ...and their 240 pound catcher, Jeremy Brown, 
PETE(who as you know) is scared to run to second base. 
PETE This was in a game six weeks ago. 
PETE hits the remote and the tape starts. The quality is poor and the camera is focused only on Jeremy. 
PETE This guy's gonna start him off with a fastball low and in because he hasn't read the book on our guy and doesn't know that low and in is where he eats. 
PETE Jeremy's going to take him to deep center -- 
We see JEREMY BROWN connect and the ball fly off the bat but the camera stays on JEREMY running to first.
PETE slows down the picture with the remote
PETE -- and he knows that if he runs it's a stand-up double and he's running
163. 163. 
PETE And here's what's really interesting...
PETE And now he's because Jeremy's gonna do...
PETE ...something he never does.
PETE  He's gonna go for it. He's gonna...
PETE ...round first base, he's gonna go for it. take the turn.  
PETE Okay?
BILLY Please tell me he's safe at second
PETE No. Because right here -- 
JEREMY slips and stumbles to the ground. 
PETE This is... 
PETE ...all Jeremy's nightmares 
PETE ...coming to life. -- is what he's always been afraid of. It's all he can do to get himself back to first. 
JEREMY has been scrambling in the dirt to get safely back to first base. 
BILLY What is that
PETE That's the first base coach
BILLY Why's he laughing? I'm gonna fire that guy, why the hell is he -- 
BILLY Aw, they're laughin' at him...
PETE And Jeremy's about to find out why...
PETE Everybody's laughing
JEREMY's looking around the field now, looking at his own dugout. We can't see what he sees but he's confused. 
PETE And now Jeremy finds out why. Watch his face because this is art. He's just found out 
PETE Jeremy's about to realize...
PETE ...that the ball went 60 feet over the fence. 
PETE He'd hit a home run and didn't even realize it. but he didn't know it
And JEREMY's face explodes into a smile. 
He slaps hands with the first base coach and begins his trot around the bases. 
BILLY stares at this. 
He takes the remote and backs it up a little so he can see Jeremy's face again. 
BILLY How can anybody not be romantic about baseball? 
PETE (PAUSE) It was a metaph-- 
BILLY I know it was a metaphor.
PETE That was a hell of a baseball season, boss

BILLY The Island of Misfit Toys. Okay.
BILLY Pete, you're a good egg. 
BILLY I'll call you.
And with that, Billy's mind begins to go elsewhere. No resolution, no decision, other than to get up and wander on.


Words by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin

Pictures by Wally Pfister and Bennett Miller

Moneyball is available on DVD and Blu-Ray on Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.