TAG | Moneyball
If nothing else Andrew Dominik wants at least one concept to be on your mind when you walk out of KILLING THEM SOFTLY- economy, economy, economy, economy. Never mind the fact that Brad Pitt is chewing up scenes and trying out his anti-Anton Chigur performance- the real issue we should all be focused on is that it is damn tough to make an honest living, hell, even a living as a hitman isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The truth of the matter is that as much as I really loved Dominik’s film, it is impossible to walk out of it without rolling your eyes at least once at the constant onslaught of political messages regarding the state of the economy- for me, by the end it became somewhat of a reflex.
It’s not even that I don’t agree to a certain extent- I even nodded in agreement at the end of the last monologue in the film, but to a lot of people the persistence of the message is extremely heavy handed. I also can’t say that it isn’t a breath of fresh air to see the glitzy Hollywood-ized vision of a contract killer/hitman lifestyle scrapped for something a little more stripped down and “realistic.” This isn’t dime store shoot em’ up cinema by any means, but there’s definitely something about it that’s easier to digest and gritty at the same time.
The plot is simple- two guys knock over a secret Mob enforced poker game and the Mob subsequently send, Jackie (Brad Pitt), in to track down and take care of everyone responsible. With a premise that light it takes a pretty sharp script to keep the energy flowing and that’s exactly what Dominik’s script- adapted from George Higgin’s novel “Cogan’s Trade”- excels at. There does tend to be an excessive amount of needless storytelling in a couple scenes involving James Gandolfini’s character, but the dialogue in those scenes is funny enough and interesting enough to overlook. A special shout out to Ben Mendelsohn for solidifying his place as the single most disgusting looking character in any movie I’ve seen this year.
Pitt stands out from the rest of the cast-largely because he’s Brad Pitt, but also because he does a pretty great job with the material. At times he employs a lot of the same mannerisms as his Billy Beane performance in MONEYBALL yet he still manages to pull off a hitman that, while predictable at times, has hints of being genuinely threatening and darkly comedic at the same time. Every role in the film is laced with extremely dark humor and it all shines because the dialogue flows so well- and in a film with this much talking, that’s an extremely important piece of the puzzle.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY isn’t action packed, but it’s exciting to watch- the violence for the most part is quick, but packs a punch and it is more than a tad alienating in its political approach. Dominik’s script is fantastic and the performances are great, but somewhere along the line someone should have stepped up and said, can we maybe cut out a few of these radio/TV economy speeches? In the end that was my biggest issue with the film- excess does not enhance and in the case of KILLING THEM SOFTLY it hinders its own message. In spite of my reservations over the abundance of money talk, I really love this movie and found myself constantly loving the extended scenes of dialogue and the pitch black moments of humor. A crowd pleaser this is not so be warned before buying those tickets based on the Pitt factor.
Moneyball landed itself a Best Picture nomination for the Academy Awards and it could not be more deserved. When we caught up with Brad Pitt, the film’s star and producer, in Toronto he told us that his movie works beyond the sports genre because “it’s complicated material. It’s not your conventional story or story line, with conventional character arcs.” That’s the beauty of the film. We believe that is central to why it is nominated for Best Picture.
If you haven’t seen Moneyball, do so before Oscar night. The story of Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane and how he shook up the over-a-century-old sport transcends sports to the very heart of human nature.
Check out our exclusive video interview with Supporting Actor nominee Jonah Hill on why he felt the film was one of his career best experiences.
Director Bennett Miller (previously nominated for the directing category for Capote) adds his two cents on the subject of Moneyball in another of our Movie Fanatic exclusive video interviews.
Moneyball has made fans out of audiences that would not normally see a sports movie. Between the stellar performances, expert direction and the screenplay writing collective led by Aaron Sorkin, the film is not only one of the best films of 2011, but one of the best sports films of all time. That is because it is so much more than a film about athletes.
Parks and Recreation star Chris Pratt welcomed the opportunity to flex his muscles, both on screen and on the field. He has a moment in the film that caused many in our screening to leap out of their seat and that magic moment clearly resonated with the actor in his exclusive video chat with Movie Fanatic.
Of the nine films vying for Best Picture, Moneyball may not have the best odds to win. But then again, neither did the Oakland A's! It is an important film and a must-see for any Oscar fan, whatever genre of movie is your favorite.
As the cinematic year 2011 comes to a close, we gave your our Top 10 Movies of 2011. Now, we give you those moments of brilliance from films big and small, funny and serious… Yes, that’s right, Movie Fanatic presents the best movie quotes of 2011.
Peggy Carter: How do you feel?
Steve Rogers: Taller. | permalink
Miss Piggy: There’s only one Miss Piggy, and she is moi! | permalink
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Ethan: Mission Accomplished. | permalink
Breaking Dawn Part 1
Billy: Jacob, keep your shirt on.
Jacob: No! | permalink
Puss in Boots
Humpty Dumpty: You got any idea what they do to eggs in prison? I'll tell you this. It ain't over easy. | permalink
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth Salander: I've never done this before. Hold still or it'll get messy. | permalink
Aibileen Clark: You is kind. You is smart. You is important. | permalink
Thor: I have no plans to die today... | permalink
Paranormal Activity 3
Julie: Who's Toby?
Young Kristi: He's my friend.
Julie: I don't see him.
Young Kristi: He's standing right next to you. | permalink
Dr. Ian Sussman: Blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation. | permalink
The Hangover Part II
Mr. Chow: Holla, City of Squalor! | permalink
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Jacob: The skin under your eyes is starting to look like Hugh Hefner's ball sack. | permalink
Moneyball has charmed critics and audiences alike, both finding themselves leaping to their collective feet. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the real life General Manager of the Oakland A’s. After free agency has stripped his team of All-Stars, Pitt as Beane tries to reinvent the game with the help of Jonah Hill’s Peter Brand, a Yale educated statistics man.
So, without further ado, here are some inspirational and memorable Moneyball quotes.
Peter Brand: Your goal shouldn't be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. In order buy wins, you need to buys runs. | permalink
Billy Beane: There are rich teams, and there are poor teams. Then there's 50 feet of crap. And then there's us. | permalink
Billy Beane: How can you not be romantic about baseball? | permalink
David Justice: What's your biggest fear?
Scott Hatteberg: A baseball being hit in my general direction. | permalink
Billy Beane: We are card counters at the blackjack table. And we're gonna turn the odds on the casino. | permalink
Billy Beane: If we pull this off, we change the game. We change the game for good. | permalink