Is This Really A Good Idea?

>> Saturday

Just saw this story on Variety (via Deadspin) that director Steven Soderbdergh (director of the awesome and criminally underrated Traffic as well as other solid stuff like Ocean's 11) and Brad Pitt have announced plans to team up on a big screen adaptation of Michael Lewis' book Moneyball.

The book focuses on Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics who used a sophisticated computer analysis system to piece together a team that regularly contended for the World Series despite a payroll dramatically lower than such big-market rivals as the New York Yankees.

As someone with a (self-proclaimed) great deal of knowledge about both baseball and movies, I can't say this strikes me as the best idea for a movie. The book isn't really biographical, and the stories from Beane's past serves mostly as a justification for the overhaul of traditional scouting to incorporate elements of modern statistical analysis. Riveting stuff, really. Don't get me wrong, the book is excellent if you're at all interested in baseball and modern front office operations, but it seems like it would make a much more compelling documentary than feature film.

I can easily see Hollywood focus-grouping this movie into oblivion and attempting to shoehorn it into some sort of Beautiful Mind-style tale of genius unleashed. Having read the book, I can't honestly answer where the climax of the story is? Is it just the draft (off the top of my head, I think it's '03) where the A's ended up getting a bunch of guys they'd targeted? I can't really say, and I can't see that that would make for an exciting movie. Although, given Benjamin Button, I guess that a movie Brad Pitt doesn't need to have anything interesting in it to get made.


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