Saturday, July 4, 2009

'Moneyball' Down The Drain

A friend of mine, Louis Pantelakos, Jr., shared with me today an article from a Los Angeles Times blog about the recently-eighty-sixed baseball movie, Moneyball, based on the best-selling book of the same name (Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game) by Michael M. Lewis, published in 2003.

News has been wide-spread of late about the plans to adapt the book - a story about Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics baseball team's general manager, and his rebellious-yet-successful approach to the business of the game - into a feature film, starring Brad Pitt as Beane and directed by Steven Soderburgh (
Ocean's Eleven, Out Of Sight). But even more recently, the bombshell was dropped that Sony Pictures Entertainment - a mere 5 days before production was to begin in Arizona - pulled the plug on the $58 million project.

Louis sent me the article, which discusses the reasons behind Sony's unconventional cold feet, and asked me to tell him what I thought when I was done reading it. Here is my reply:

Honestly, I'm not a huge Soderburgh fan. Out of Sight was great and all, Sex, Lies & Videotape was too. But, well... he's just not really my kind of director. I think there are a lot of guys out there who could direct this flick, but with Pitt getting a deal of director approval in his contract, it may be hard to find anyone. But that's a great argument for the opinion that Sony may very well be better off without him, too.

I like the A's - that's all. I just want a movie to be made about my team - my classic early 2000's Oakland A's. I think almost any director worth his salt could make a good flick out of this seemingly terrific script. (Hopefully it will leak out on the Internet and we can at least read it someday.) Maybe Billy Beane would be better played by a smaller-scale star. I know that Pitt is a huge draw for the project, (he'll bring in millions that few others could,) but it wouldn't be impossible without him.

Who else could play Beane? Hmmm... I really like Sam Rockwell. Or perhaps Christian Bale could pull it off. (I'm thinking box-office draws here as much as I am performance - "curb appeal" is pretty important for a smaller flick like this.) I think even someone like Ryan Renolds could be good. You know who would be great and is getting really hot right now? Bradley Cooper! That guy would rock a role like this! Could make him a mega-star!

And as far as directors, I think almost anyone from Allen to Zemeckis could do a decent job with this flick. Hell, Ridley Scott did stuff like Matchstick Men - he could do it. So could Gore Verbinski with films like The Mexican and The Weather Man under his belt. And I loved the way Oliver Stone tackled football with Any Given Sunday - let him take a swing at baseball!

All I want to see is my home team's stadium - The Oakland Colosseum - immortalized in all its grime and glory on the big screen with a good story. I want to see that "Green & Gold" shining down at me, 30-feet high, and a chance to show my kids - someday - a good film about the glory days of their old man's favorite baseball club.
That's my two cents. Thanks for reading, and...