Okay, so I really need a break from all the politics I've been obsessed with on here lately even though in my real life I always find room for poetry (read some every night) and all the books stacked next to my bed, and music and always movies.
I haven't been posting about some great old movies I've been watching on the usual cable channels, TCM and Retroplex (or whatever it's called) etc. But I also have to catch up on all the discs I've been sent for the movie awards season that I haven't really been that into this year. Maybe it's the films, maybe it's me, but it seems like there just wasn't a lot to get crazy excited about.
But I haven't seen some of the ones getting a lot of attention so I started tonight by watching MONEYBALL, the baseball flick that's really not a baseball flick but a statistics and emerging male midlife crisis over missed or blown or confused or misled or...opportunities...flick.
Brad Pitt is getting most of the attention, as well as the movie itself, as important and award worthy. Pitt's always fun to watch, for me, both as a fan of real movie stars and of great movie acting and the combination of the two, which is perhaps rarer than you'd, or I'd, expect.
Pitt often takes chances (one of my favorite risk-taking performances was his secondary role—to Bruce Willis's—in TWELVE MONKEYS, one of my favorite sci fi flicks, a genre I don't have that many favorites in). But this is one of his less risk taking performances. He may be a little too cute, and incredibly well-preserved, for the role in some ways, that can be distracting, as in what's this guy got to complain about etc. But he goes for it, as he always does, and has moments where he nails a guy who can't get over some wrong choices or failures or missed opportunities or blown opportunities, depending on your perspective and the moment.
But the direction and writing don't support the obvious depth of his character's interior struggle, so all Pitt gets to do is throw things and look like he's trying to control himself when he isn't. But he also looks a lot like he doesn't care which doesn't work and isn't probably what he's going for.
The film has moments that got me feeling that great elation inspiring movies about underdogs winning, or going for it, do, but it also had a lot of flat moments where you wanted something, anything, to happen to fill in the lag. In the end, for me, it didn't live up to its potential. Pitt was like the character he played, Billy Beane, who almost did what he intended and wanted to do but just missed.
Jonah Hill has a role almost as big as Pitt's so it seems like it should be almost equally as important. But except for his usual I'm just a self-conscious guy who didn't mean to say/do/etc. that kind of mannerism and line reading, and a few moments that were beautifully realized, his character is basically boring.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is completely wasted as the coach. He has about two or three scenes with a few lines and the rest no lines, and there's no writing or acting to explain what he's doing in the film to move it along. It seems like there's going to be some sort of dramatic conflict with Pitt's character but...it's more of a whimper than a bang.
And Robin Wright has one scene with a couple of lines. One of our greatest film actresses and that's what she gets to do? The girl who plays her character's and Pitt's twelve-year-old daughter, Kerris Dorsey, is terrific, though she isn't really given a lot to work with, and the young actor who plays a catcher turned into a first baseman, Chris Pratt, was a revelation and deserves more recognition.
Another older actor, Vyto Ruginis, was really compelling and so in the moment, any scene he was in came alive in a way the rest of the movie never did. So in the end, it's not a great flick, doesn't deserve any awards unless for the three actors who aren't stars I mention above and even they don't deserve awards but maybe nominations.
But the film, no, shouldn't be nominated for anything in my opinion, nor Pitt's performance, as much as I like watching him. An E for effort for him, but no award or even nomination. there's too many other unrecognized performers who deserve it more this time.
My humble opinion.