Moneyball is Brad Pitt At His Best and is Also Just a Great Movie

Moneyball is Brad Pitt At His Best and is Also Just a Great Movie

9 min read

For reasons that baffle and elude me, Moneyball has become one of my go-to comfort movies.1

Moneyball is based on a nonfiction book of the same name. The story follows Billy Beane's (Brad Pitt) use of data analytics to improve the Oakland Athletics, an approach that revolutionizes baseball. That probably makes it sound like a sports flick, or worse, a movie about statistics, but it's actually an uplifting story of underdogs and also just a hell of a good movie.

I have lots of thoughts about why this movie is as good as it is. Let's start with the obvious one.

I like Brad Pitt as much as the next guy—by which I mean I recognize he's the physical ideal toward which most men aspire, and if you doubt me on that, go rewatch Fight Club—but I'm not a Brad Pitt truther.2 He tends to be underrated as an actor, which is a weird thing to say about someone who won an Oscar. It's just that his other qualities tend to outshine his acting. I think people view him as a handsome celebrity actor, in that exact order. His profession often seems like the least notable thing about him.

But there's no denying he's part of why I'm drawn to Moneyball.

I've noticed I tend to prefer Brad Pitt movies in which it feels like he's playing some version of himself—Ocean's 11, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Moneyball—as opposed to when he disappears into a role and suppresses his God-given charisma. I can think of a dozen actors who could've been just as good in Ad Astra. You don't lose anything swapping Pitt for Christian Bale or Bradley Cooper.

There aren't many actors who can come into a movie like Moneyball—which is about baseball statistics—and just take over the film through the sheer force of their personality.