The Filibuster

The rumor mill abounds with talk of Brad Pitt and Demetri Martin
starring in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film adaptation of Michael
Lewis’ Moneyball.  Movie buff and baseball lover that you are, does this project even have a realistic chance of being good?



moneyball.jpgEvery year movie studios sink millions of dollars into adaptations of books that received either critical or commercial acclaim. This year alone we’ve already seen Watchmen hit the big screen and Dan Brown’s prequel to The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, comes out in the next couple weeks. However, the one thing that most of these adaptations have in common is a plot, some sort of narrative device to push the story forward.

I enjoyed reading Moneyball. Michael Lewis, although I may not always agree with him, has a Malcolm Gladwell-ish quality about him in that he is able to present a quantitative side of a game that often goes unnoticed. But I have no idea how you turn that into a movie. It’s like Fast Food Nation. It’s an interesting book. It has interesting ideas. But a movie? No.

Now, the wild card here is the artistic team. I do love me some Brad Pitt and I find Demetri Martin amusing in small doses. Soderbergh obviously has legitimate directing bona fides. But how do you turn a book like Moneyball into a movie? I suppose you could have David Mamet rewrite the script and turn it into some profanity-laden, baseball-centric version of Glengarry Glen Ross but I don’t see that happening.

No, most likely they’ll strip all the baseball egg-head information from the story and make it into a movie about the unlikely but ultimately successful partnership between a former jock and an up and coming nerd. Throw in a little Brokeback for good measure and maybe they strike gold. But I doubt it. Let’s just say that this project is a little more Shelley Levene than it is Ricky Roma.



  1. roundrock15

    I tell you, I’ve bounced back and forth on this movie. At first, I thought it couldn’t work. But I’m a screenwriter, so my first thought generally turns to: “Could I write it?”

    And the more I thought about it, the answer is yes (granted, I studied with Dr. Mamet, and it wouldn’t be terribly unlike a baseball Glengarry Glen Ross). Think about it: It’s Bad News Bears. It’s a book about a bunch of people that baseball gave up on. People who aren’t supposed to be successful, but here they are – being very successful at the time.

    Demetri Martin’s casting confused me. Made me wonder what direction they were going to take it in. DePodesta, though an integral part of the book, doesn’t exactly steal any scenes. You imagine Beane throwing chairs, running on the treadmill so that he doesn’t have to watch the game. You don’t think of DePodesta with his spreadsheets.

    So yes, it could work. But I doubt it will.

  2. Jane Heller

    I agree with Roundrock. It’ll be old-school baseball guys versus the geeks. It’s not an obvious baseball movie, but it could work. The one I can’t see is HBO’s upcoming movie about the Balco scandal. Who cares?

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