No one has ever made a major motion picture, or even a minor one, about Norwich City. Were it to happen it would not have a script by Oscar-winning screen writer Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, West Wing). The putative film would not have stars of the stature of Brad Pitt, or the ability of Philip Seymour Hoffman. The cinematography would not be handled by Wally Pfister (Inception, Batman Begins). There is a movie, Moneyball, released last week, based on the Oakland A’s 2002 season and among the creative talent is the aforementioned luminaries.


It is a Hollywood truism that baseball movies do not play well outside the US; probably for the obvious reason that the game is not a big deal outside the Americas and Japan. In the UK particularly it is unfairly seen as a derivative of a children’s game. Moneyball adds to the baseball appeal by adding the sure-fire winner subject of statistical analysis. It opened at number two in the US box office; I doubt it will make such an impact back in the UK.

Readers may have gathered that I have become fascinated with Baseball in general and the A’s in particular. I think, however, that my bias aside, this is a fine movie. It has a script that sparkles with the sharpness of Sorkin’s wit; tells a story of an underdog, and wraps the desires of childhood into the mix. It tells of how using new methods of analysis, Oakland found undervalued players, to replace those poached by the moneyed East Coast teams; teams with a payroll more than three times that of the A’s.


The film is based on a book whose subtitle was The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.  I read the book a couple of years ago and loved it. I would say it was one of my favourite baseball books, but since the only others I have read are The Boys of Summer and Lost Season; I am not sure that is as strong a recommendation as I wish to imply. I had been looking forward to the film ever since and it did not disappoint.

Published in: on 28 September, 2011 at 19:43  Leave a Comment  

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