Moneyball pitches a solid strike

Moneyball is the story of how Oakland A's manager Billy Beane successfully turned around his baseball organization by changing up the traditional standards of drafting players and utilizing a new statistical analysis of crunching numbers with computers in order to recruit the best players for his team. The movie begins with Beane selecting new business partner Peter Brand, a college grad and economics genius, and the pair take off on a mission to build a winning organization.

Defying convention, this new strategy puts Beane at odds with everyone from the field manager, the fans, and even the media who fail to understand Beane's actions of wanting to reinvent the game, cutting costs, and changing the traditional standards of baseball forever.

By skipping the fluff found inside of so many sports films, "Moneyball" works by focusing on compelling discussions and legitimate meetings between the characters involved.

A good balance is maintained inside "Moneyball" between making it simple enough for many who are unfamiliar with sports jargon to understand what is going on.

It also looks past the numbers and the sport painting a more meaningful portrait of someone who has experienced disheartening setbacks trying to not only win at the game, but also trying to win the game of life.

Backstory of Beane is told using poignant flashbacks from his younger days that show why he possesses fire and drive as an adult.

Beane eventually succeeds as a general manager by keeping a cool head yet was still vulnerable to a few emotional flare-ups during his low-points.

A better way to construct the script may have been to see what initially led to the outbursts instead of just dropping flashbacks at random points in the movie.

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill make an odd but successful team driving the movie "Moneyball" forward with their excellent performances, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, as Art Howe, seemed to be the only one marginally displaced.

The role was ill-suited for Hoffman that only had a few appearances in the film and no major character development ultimately not using the actor's talents nearly enough.

Nevertheless, the film makes good use of its strong main cast based on an inspiring true story.

Baseball fan or not, “Moneyball” is a solid film worth seeing.

Directed by Bennett Miller and adapted for the screen by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, it stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, and Kathryn Morris.

Rated PG-13, Moneyball opened in theaters Friday, Sept. 23, 2011.

My Grade: B