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Out in theaters now, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill play employees of a Major League Baseball team in 'Moneyball' -- a movie about baseball that's not really a movie about baseball (even though it is a movie about baseball). Is 'Moneyball' about baseball? As a service, here's an answer to every question you could possibly have about 'Moneyball.'
Q: What is a Moneyball?
A: Moneyball is the term coined for an analytical strategy to building a baseball team through baseball statistics.
Q: I thought this wasn't a movie about baseball?
A: It's not a movie about playing baseball, it's a movie about how to build a successful baseball team with little money. Oh, and the human spirit. Or something.
Q: Wait, that sounds more boring than actually watching a baseball game.
A: Surprisingly, it's not. That's not to say there's no baseball action, but the focus of the film is definitely on Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his assistant, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill).
Q: If the focus is on Pitt and Hill, how does Woody Harrelson's character factor into 'Moneyball?
A: Woody Harrelson is not in 'Moneyball.' You're thinking of 'Money Train.'
Q: Who is Billy Beane?
A: Billy Beane is a former Major League Baseball player who never lived up to his potential. In the film (and currently) he is the general manager of the Oakland Athletics.
Q: Who is Peter Brand?
A: Peter Brand is a fictional character played by Jonah Hill. Brand is loosely based on Paul DePodesta. DePodesta requested that his name not be used in the film and the filmmakers obliged.
Q: What actor is mostly wasted in 'Moneyball.'
A: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Honestly, anyone could have played A's manager Art Howe -- which consists mostly of sitting in the dugout looking pissed off.
Q: Is this Jonah Hill's best performance in a movie?
Q: What percentage of dramatic movie goodwill will Hill lose once 'The Sitter' is released?
A: Fourteen percent.
Q: Why would I find it interesting to watch Billy Beane build a baseball team?
A: In 'Moneyball,' the Athletics -- who, in 2001, made the playoffs but lost to the New York Yankees in the first round -- lost three of their best players to free agency because they can't afford them: Jason Giambi, Jason Isringhausen and
Q: At what point do Beane and Brand buy a decrepit house in Long Island?
A: Beane and Brand never buy a house in Long Island during the events portrayed in 'Moneyball,' I believe you're thinking of 'The Money Pit.'
Q: When reporting on the film's box-office take next week, will you title your post, "The Money-Pitt"?
Q: How is Brad Pitt's performance in 'Moneyball'?
A: Honestly, it's kind of refreshing to see Pitt play a normal human being. You know, one who doesn't age backwards or have the ability to sh-t flowers. (I am assuming that Pitt has played a character who has the ability to sh-t flowers -- I could be mistaken.)
Q: Wait, didn't the A's have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball during those years with Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder? Are they a big part of 'Moneyball'?
A: Strangely, no. That trio is barely mentioned, if at all. (We see the back of Hudson's jersey at one point.) But, to be fair, they were not a major part of the book, either.
Q: Will Leitch said that the more you like baseball, the less you will like 'Moneyball,' and vice versa. Is this true?
A: With all due respect to Mr. Leitch, I was born and raised in St. Louis -- where there is a county ordinance that you must be a die-hard baseball fan – and I really enjoyed 'Moneyball.' (Full disclosure: I know Mr. Leitch well.) (More full disclosure: He's been wrong before -- ahem, 'District 9'.)
Q: What's the worst part about 'Moneyball'?
A: The ending drags on for what feels like an eternity. To be fair, without giving anything away, if you follow baseball at all, you know the end result of an important decision Beane has to make -- which does take away from the drama.
Q: What's the best scene in 'Moneyball'?
A: A scene in which Pitt as Beane conducts a trade over the phone while, at the same time, manipulating the trade by feeding misinformation to other teams. So, yes, for anyone who has ever said, "I'd be happy just watching Brad Pitt talk on the phone," here's your chance.
Q: Wait, who has ever said that? That seems very specific.
A: I am assuming that you could take the words "talk on the phone" and replace it with any action imaginable and it has probably been said about Brad Pitt -- I could be mistaken.
Q: Should I see 'Moneyball'?
A: Yes, you should. If you want to nitpick every historical inaccuracy, you might force yourself to hate it. But, if enjoyed as a stand alone film -- historical inaccuracies be damned! -- it's pretty fantastic.
Q: How many Academy Awards will 'Moneyball' be nominated for?
Q: Wait, isn't Moneyball the last name of the character from Monopoly?
A: No. The last name of the character from Monopoly is Pennybags.
Q: I thought Pennybags was M's secretary in the James Bond films?
A: No, you're thinking of Miss Moneypenny.
Q: I know what teams have won the World Series over the last ten years. How does 'Moneyball' build intrigue with its on-field action?
A: In 2002, the Oakland A's go on an unprecedented winning streak capped by a no-doubt-about-it homerun -- which is used to great effect in the film.
Q: If you're going to be blurbed in this weekend's commercials for 'Moneyball,' what quote do you think will be used?
A: "A no-doubt-about-it homerun!" Mike Ryan, Moviefone
Q: What percentage of movie writers submitted their film blurbs to Sony with some sort of double entendre that could represent a movie review and an event that happens during a baseball game?
A: Ninety-eight percent.
Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon/Columbia Pictures
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