DVD Review: Moneyball

Moneyball DVD boxSTUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Bennett Miller | CAST: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, Brent Jennings
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 1/10/2012 | PRICE: DVD $30.99, Blu-ray $35.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $40.99
BONUSES: blooper reel, featurettes, deleted scenes
SPECS: PG-13 | 133 min. | Sports drama | 1.85:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 Dolby Digital audio | English, Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Moneyball looks at a time when the institution that is baseball got shaken up by statistics, and not the kind fans usually like to look at. Based on a true story, it’s an underdog makes good film about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s (Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life) attempt to build a winning team with a fraction of the budget of competitors. He finds inspiration in analyst Peter Brand (Jonah Hill, Cyrus), who posits that players should be hired based on runs, not batting averages.

MoneyballOf course, there’s plenty of pushback, from the team’s scouts, coaches and especially the manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Ides of March), plus the media, which is quick to criticize anything new. Even Beane’s daughter (Kerris Dorsey, TV’s Brothers & Sisters) is scared.

Moneyball is sentimental — what sports movie isn’t? — but it flows well and gets viewers cheering for the underdogs. And, it makes a case for why the strategy used by Beane and Brand (not the name of the real man) worked (the same strategy helped the Red Sox break their curse).

But the strength of the film, as in any good sports tale, is its portrayal of the struggles of the people. It’s David and Goliath, the poorest team against the whole of baseball. And Beane, Brand and the undervalued players they give jobs to make great Davids. Pitt’s performance as the battled Beane is admirable, as is Hill in one of his most understated and most meaningful roles yet.

Beane’s strategy and the accomplishments of the Oakland A’s are explored in the featurette “Billy Bean: Re-Inventing the Game.” The filmmakers and others, including author Michael Lewis, who wrote the book on which the movie is based, discuss the real-life events. The piece doesn’t offer much insight that’s not in the film, but it’s an interesting companion.

The filmmakers are also shown in the making-of featurette “Moneyball: Playing the Game,” which looks at the movie’s locations, product placement and the choices made by director Bennett Miller (Capote), among others.

Perhaps the best special features on the DVD are the deleted scenes, which offer more with Pitt and Seymour Hoffman, expanding their relationship, and gives a lot more depth to the end of the movie. These scenes could easily have been part of the film and made it even better, so it’s great to see them here.

The only other extra is a blooper appropriately titled “Brad Pitt Loses It.” The roughly two-minute piece shows Pitt and Hill shooting a scene while Pitt tries to fight a case of the giggles.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.