Category Archives: Film Reviews

Moneyball (2011)

“There are rich teams and there are poor teams,” Billy Bean (Pitt) declares to a room full of wrinkly, hearing-aided Oakland Athletics scouts, “then there is fifty feet of crap, and then there is us. It’s an unfair game.” As the General Manager of the team that just lost its three best players, and is operating with the lowest spending budget in the Major Leagues, Bean is faced with the problem of building a championship team with relatively no money. Though he is not yet sure how, he realizes that they must “evolve or die” in this dog-eat-dog world of professional baseball. Just when everything (including his job) seems lost, Bean inadvertently stumbles across a potential solution to his problem in the timid form of Peter Brand (Hill), an awkward, bulky young man and recent grad of Yale in economics. “Baseball thinking is medieval,” Hill’s character tells Pitt on their first paradigm-shifting meeting. “There is an epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening…. What I see is an imperfect understanding of where runs come from.” A new way of looking at and interpreting player statistics is the key to building a successful program. Under this impetus, Bean and his new advisor, the Rasputin of Ratios, set out to redefine the value system that has built up around the game of baseball during the last 100 years.


Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

While originally planned to be released in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the film adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s brilliant Sophomore novel, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close does not arrive too late to miss out on this year’s tidal wave of Oscar hopefuls.

EL&IC, while simultaneously touching and heart wrenching, is the story of 9-year-old oddity Oskar Schell and his search for the meaning of his now deceased father’s last encrypted message. Tom Hanks plays Oskar’s Father Thomas, whose didactic nature and keenly German attention to detail lead him to develop a series of scavenger hunts and puzzles intended to help his socially handicapped son break out of his intensely introverted shell (Foer’s selection of the descriptive homophone Schell for his hero’s last name is most defiantly not an accident). Oskar, searching desperately for some way to stay connected with his father after he is tragically killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center, stumbles upon a key to some unknown door/lock-box in his father’s untouched closet. With his only clue being the name “Black” written on the envelope in which the key was encased, Oskar becomes obsessed with the idea that his father meant for him to find this key, and solve this one last riddle. His odyssey takes him across all 5 boroughs of New York and to the homes of more than 200 residents with the last name Black.