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“MONEYBALL” Chicks dig the long ball movie!

Where have you gone, Scott Hatteberg?

You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy “MONEYBALL.”  If you are a baseball fan, you should appreciate this semi-accurate story of the Oakland A’s and their low budget division winners.

The movie is better than the book.  The book was ostensibly factual reporting.   The movie, thanks to talented screenwriters, takes many liberties with those facts and adds in some good laughs.

Brad Pitt stars as real life Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane.  He gives Beane emotional depth, to go with his seemingly reckless personnel moves.  His relationship with his non-custodial daughter adds a sweet note to his character.

Jonah Hill continues to improve his acting with each role.  He plays Beane’s designated number cruncher whose input leads the A’s to sign washed-up catcher Scott Hatteberg and convert him into a first baseman.  (Guess which player hits the home run that keeps a 20-game win streak alive?)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was an odd choice to play the A’s manager.  He’s immensely talented, but not well suited for this role.  Other than this miscasting, the film’s only significant flaw is its run time—a bit too long.

“MONEYBALL” will fuel more off-season discussion about who can best judge baseball talent—an old-fashioned scout or a laptop-toting stats analyst?  The movie is also likely to stir debate when it’s time to pick nominees for filmmaking awards.  Best movie?  Best actor?  I’d say “yes” and “maybe.”

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