Movie review: Moneyball

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

From a cultural perspective, "Moneyball" is a historic summit between jocks and nerds.

It's a sports movie, yes, but it's also a math movie. And - to toss in what I promise will be my only baseball metaphor - it throws nearly a perfect game.

Based on the nonfiction bestseller, "Moneyball" documents Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his efforts to assemble a title-contending baseball team on a shoestring budget.

Realizing he can't compete financially with the big-market teams, Beane decides to embrace a complex computer analysis of players created by his new assistant GM, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill).

Yes, this sounds like a plot only a fantasy baseball freak could love. The fact that it's an intriguing and truly entertaining drama is testament to the people involved.

In fact, "Moneyball" is pretty much this year's "The Social Network," a surprisingly engaging and human story from seemingly dry source material.

A lot of credit goes to "Social Network" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who co-wrote this script. It's funny and moving in all the right places, brilliantly paced and sprinkled with perfectly used subplots that don't distract.

Director Bennett Miller ("Capote") is solid and confident in his direction of a great cast, including Philip Seymour Hoffman as reluctant skipper Art Howe.

"Moneyball" is a great sports movie, yes, but it will also cross audiences. It's one of the year's finest.


Opening Friday

4 stars out of 4