October movies!

I do like the occasional sports movie – especially, of course, if there’s an underdog involved. I really liked Moneyball despite it being a little longer than necessary – I don’t think we really needed Billy Beane’s backstory to understand why he wanted to win, though I guess it explained why he was willing to move away from the scout system and give this statistical method of fielding a team a try (though I would have bought that he was just so desperate to win that he was willing to try anything) and I think we could have done without the scenes with his daughter and ex-wife (they didn’t take away from the movie, I just don’t think they really added anything except maybe 10 minutes or so).

It’s shot in an interesting way – because the As are relying on statistics over pure talent, the movie is really not about the games or how they’re played. There aren’t any spectacular plays or inspirational moments (okay, there’s one and it works, but that’s not what the movie is about) – just workhorse players that do their jobs and get on base. Many of the games are screened as just a play or two and in silence with just snippets of radio announcers – because that’s not the point of the movie. So really, it’s not a baseball movie, it’s a statistics movie and, surprisingly, it’s not nearly as boring as that sounds. Quite the opposite.

As an aside, I have to admit that I don’t quite understand how it’s not a flawed method – there’s a voiceover that sums up my questions pretty clearly. I’m not going to get it exactly right, but it’s something like:

Over the course of a season, statistics will hold true, but in any given game, what you need is talent.

I guess I’m not sure I understand how statistics, something collected after the fact and extended over the entirety of a season, can create a winning team. But what do I know? It worked for the Red Sox a couple of years later.

At any rate, I may not understand it, but I certainly liked it.

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