April 22, 2012 - Build a winning baseball team without spending a lot of money. That's the mission Oakland A's General Manager, Billy Beane, sets out to fulfill in this fact-based, Oscar-nominated film from 2011. Brad Pitt got a nomination for his portrayal of Beane. Co-star Jonah Hill also got an Oscar nod for his supporting role. The rest of the cast includes plenty of familiar faces including Robin Wright and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

As the movie opens, the A's are coming off a successful 2001 season in which they made the playoffs but were eliminated early on by the New York Yankees. Because the A's have a limited payroll, they can't afford to keep three of their big-name players. So, Beane must find a way to build a winning team for the 2002 season without spending cash that he doesn't have.

Enter Peter Brand (Hill), a special assistant with the Cleveland Indians. He shares with Beane his belief that players can be evaluated using mathematical statistics. Beane hires Brand and, together, they crunch the numbers to identify productive players who are generally undervalued. In other words, they get decent players at bargain prices. The question now is will all these pieces add up to a winner? Beane and Brand believe so, but first they have to convince manager Art Howe (Hoffman) to buy into the system and actually put those players in the game.

Overall review: **** I'm a baseball fan, but I don't think you have to be one to appreciate this movie. Moneyball is really a character study of Beane as he commits to an untried strategy knowing that if it doesn't work he may very well be out of a job. There's not a lot of action here, but the script is snappy (Aaron Sorkin co-wrote it), and there's plenty of tension as you wait to see how Beane's game will play out.