Sidey's former life as a data analyst is probably one of the reasons why he loves this movie about baseball. Is there any other reason?
On paper a film about a sport he doesn't understand, based on granular baseball data analysis doesn't sound like something we'd line up to see. But here we are, five or six viewings to the good. What other factors have made this such a repeat viewing favourite?
The Bad Dads convened a (virtual) get together to find out why this is such a hit! Also, stay tuned to find out just how enthusiastic Howie is to watch Reegs movie nomination!
We love interacting with our listeners, so please get in touch with us - @dads_film, on Facebook or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or alternatively you can drop by our website - baddadsfilm.com
Until next time we remain...
Sidey: Midweek movie mentioned I'm going to talk about a film, which covers two of my favorite topics which is sport. So Dan will enjoy
Howie: I'm winking.
Sidey: yes, don't think there's any way in it, but also data and statistical analysis.
This is, this is the 2011 sport slash drama baseball film, Moneyball. First shocking revelation to disclose how are you? Haven't seen this
Howie: no, no. I know it's something that needs to be observed at some point, because it keeps coming up on my people recommended you watch this.
Sidey: it's on Netflix. And I've watched it over and over and over again. It's my kind of go-to. Well, I'm just need something on, in the background or I just, you know, started on the tele that isn't going to be obtrusive. I just stick this on. It's a bit of a question Mark is then I don't exactly know joking aside, quite white.
It such a hit for me by really, really love this movie. it's the sort of classic sporting underdog story, I suppose if you
Reegs: but not in a way you've ever seen before.
Sidey: but kind of flipped in the sense that. It's not just a team. That is shit. It's a team that sort of rewrites the, how you approach the game kind of story. So that the film opens with them being knocked out of the world series or the divisional fucking wherever is and it's baseball.
Yeah. And that's
Howie: sport, a sport that is defeating in its understanding of anything. I've I've tried. I love cricket. I love the scoring systems. I love all the bullshit's stats. I love it all. So I might like this film, but I just find baseball, such a hard game to interpret bottom on the ninth.
Sidey: it's a good one for the highlights. I would say that, I mean, I'm not anti, I'm not anti baseball, but it isn't a sport that I'm particularly big into I'm don't have a team that I follow or anything like that. But this film. Yeah. Like I said, it opens with them having just lost.
So they're approaching the new season with several of their best players leaving on a free. The challenge is that they have the lowest salary and professional baseball. And Billy Bean who's played by Brad Pitt is the general manager of the team. And he is charged with. Getting them back into the playoffs.
And the expectation from the owner is that they're going to challenge against teams that have 10 times the salary. And so he has to try and figure out a way they need to, they need to be able to compete against these teams, which just looking at it on paper. It's not feasible. So they there's a guy who's written a book which is all about the statistics of baseball.
And kind of saying that if you're able to do X, Y, and Zed, you will have a successful team. So through a kind of chance encounter, he meets a guy whose name they actually changed in the film. He's called Peter Brandt in the film, but he, he, that's not his real name. The
Reegs: this is Jonah Hill, right? You're talking
Sidey: Yeah. Yeah. So the guy
His name was Podesta. And he was really helpful and really good in the, behind the scenes making of the film. He was actually involved, but because they changed it a little bit, he said that actually that character didn't represent. The true nature of them. So they are, you did ask for the name to be changed.
And we can talk a little bit about this film did have quite a difficult gestation period. But they basically come up with this thing of all you need to do. In a very simplistic way as get people onto first, get people on base and then we'll have score runs at that. So they just basically looking at averages, they're going through statistically looking at the guys that they're losing, who can we get in on the cheap, who we can recreate the averages?
That sounds fucking shit as a concept for a film.
Howie: They're just trying to cynically, beat the system.
Reegs: it's not cynically. It's just that they're using statistics and computing to replace what was done just by eye and scouting basically before.
Sidey: And then, like you mentioned the scouting though, you've got some really good scenes of these guys, these old school guys, and they are old and they, a lot of the people in the film, especially, well, certainly the, the scouting guys were actual major league baseball Scouts that they, they had got these guys in as sort of consulting.
And how does the, how does the language work and how they speak and actually where they have to run the table? They're like, well, let's just have these guys. I mean, they know what to do. And so that's, I know you need to get this guy in because he can do blur in this. Guy's really athletic and Brad Pitt's guys just like don't know don't care.
How many times does he get on base? That's all I'm interested in. What's the percentage. We can get this guy for a quarter of a million gay men. That's all we need. I knew all these guys are like, that's not going to work. And they use some really. Sexist ways of determining whether a player is any good.
So, whereas Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are saying, no, this is the average we need to get base suggested player. I, one of the Scouts goes, no, his girlfriend's ugly. So we're not having them. Hey, if you've got an ugly girlfriend that you lack confidence and you're not good enough, he's not getting the team.
And apparently this was, you know, real dialogue that people were saying
Reegs: Accepted wisdom.
Sidey: Yeah. This was the thing like no ugly girlfriends, no fat chicks not happening. That's how you, that is how these guys would judge a player's ability. It's fucking mind-boggling. So. I guess when you drill down into the field, why it's so successful is you've got a script by Aaron Sorkin.
Although he only came in at the rewrite stage when he touches his script, you're going to get some magic in there. You've got brilliant performance by Brad Pitt brilliant performance by Jonah Hill.
Reegs: restrained performance from Brad Pitt who's, usually who is a very good actor, but usually his characters are very big, but he plays Billy Bean. Very small, actually.
Sidey: Well, he's kind of, he's a failed player is that he, he was, his history was could have been professional in any sport was meant to be the next best thing at baseball. It didn't turn out that way. A failed career. John you've been robbed the league. So that ended up as the general manager. he's also an underdog in his as well as the team is the underdog.
You've got Jonah Hill at his most rotund. In this film, he is almost unrecognizable compared to what he looks like now,
Reegs: well, and also character wise as well, because he's very. Restrained he's quiet and
Sidey: He's a nerd. He's a nerd in this he's, he's the one who really owns statistical side of it. He just wants to sit in the office to review stats and look at stuff. And then Brad piste, Brad
Sidey: did, you need to go fire this guy. You need to tell him he's getting, he can't do that. So you get these kind of funny scenes.
You've also got Phillip Seymour Hoffman who plays the coach art Howe and he is another old school baseball guy who doesn't want any part of this statistical bullshit. He wants to look at a player. Judging based on what he sees on the fields and pick his team like that. And so he, he rallies against the, the, this new approach
Reegs: they're both very good foils for Brad Pitt's character. They, you know, they, they sort of perfectly compliment him.
Sidey: the real life. Are he, he said that this was bullshit. He didn't he didn't there wasn't this confrontational relationship with 'em. With Billy Bean. It wasn't like that at all. And he was really fucked off with his betrayal. And also he, he was, I think he alluded to, if that's what they actually thought of me that it's pretty, he was pretty fucking devastated about it.
He said to be honest, cause he spent seven years there. And then when someone brings out their memos, cause this was based on the book of fuck, they actually thought I was a prick blood the whole time, you know? So he was quite upset about it. But you gather, then you get the story of the season.
You've got Chris Pratt who comes in Kind of before he hit big time. So he'd had his parks and rec days. Have you seen him in that? Because he was, it was a bit of a
Howie: Chunky monkey. Yeah.
Sidey: So he auditioned for this. And they kind of liked him, but they said you just to have a, like, you're too big to play a freshman athlete.
So he lost 30 pounds and he kept weekly check it back in. And if have you cast that role, have you cast it? And he persevered and eventually it did, it did get the role. So fair both to him. Cause this was one of the stepping stones to him, really making it, you know, making it big in Hollywood. And he's really good at it.
he can't play his normal position cause he's got a long standing injury. So they. They could, they can pick them up for nothing basically. Cause it's finished as a player and he has to retrain and he has all these crisis of confidence. And these funny moments where, what are the old process, Jim?
Like, what you watched your, what's your number one fear. You know, when you're out there, I says, well the ball coming anywhere near me the guys are lost. He goes, no, no seriously, like I'm fucking terrified. So you get that and then you do get the baseball story side of it. Of what happens to the season.
So they, they break a record along the way if the most consecutive wins and then you get into the post season. And I don't want to spoil it for you cause you're not seeing it, but it's the sort of underdog story, but not played in the sort of traditional way. This was originally going to be directed by Steven Soderbergh.
Reegs: but he couldn't get it off the ground.
Sidey: Apparently he made some late changes to the script, which didn't go down well with the studio and they were fucking raging and basically kicked him off it. There's various different versions of that story, depending on which side of the studio you're on. So to both sides, It wasn't going to get made the way he wanted to.
So he didn't waste any energy pursuing it. The, the other side is, is that Amy Pascal, who she cropped up in those Sony hacks there was some stuff that got leaked about her. She was apparently apoplectic with rage at the changes he'd made to the script because they'd obviously got Aaron Sorkin on it.
They pulled a lot of strings. This has been in production for a long little while. And by, you know, eventually thought they were going to get it made and he,
Reegs: a hard sell though. Isn't it? This is basic, you know, it's, it's not an easy pitch. Does anybody want to watch this movie? It's about spreadsheets.
Sidey: yeah, basically
Howie: date, it draws you still backside eighth, the data draws you back.
Sidey: I love this film. I've watched it so many times. It's Brad Pitt has this thing about eating and films as well. If you ever
Howie: So it was an ocean's 11. It was a big joke. Wasn't it?
Sidey: does what he does, it loads in this as well. He's like, the several scenes where he's in his office, phoning different managers around the league, trying to trade players and in-between.
these sort of 32nd calls where he'd just bark orders down the phone to some GM, hang up the phone, grab some fairy throat. And his face changed her to pick up the, do another one. You're like, he really does like this eating on screen thing. I don't know anyone else who does that? Are you really? And even sometimes he writes, he gets to the pen, you know, the marker pen, but bites the lid off spits out and he writes it like, I'm pretty sure most people would be told.
Don't do that sort of shit on the screen. It looks weird. He's good. And the relationship that he has with Jonah hella, this is great. They have this role kind of buddy dynamic it's it's it's works really well on screen
Reegs: for a movie that's about sports. There's. Surprisingly little actual baseball in the movie
Sidey: hardly any.
Reegs: I remember. And I think that's probably why it's able to strike a chord. I think with most people, because there isn't actually any intrinsic understanding of the game of baseball really required.
You're just watching an innovator doing something different.
Sidey: There was a fair amount of artistic license used in how the season actually went and there was a few other players. That don't get mentioned that film that had a big influence on the season as it turned out. Interestingly, well, for me anyway, is it it's Chris Pratt who hits the winning run to break the T the 20 consecutive win record in real life.
He wasn't supposed to be batting that day. I don't know exactly how baseball works. Am I. Massively ignorant understanding. I would have just thought everyone had a, but obviously doesn't work like that. Our, our American listeners are just thinking what a bunch of practices out there, what they're fucking talking about.
And in any case he did end up cause you, you P he pinch has it. You just get, they change.
Reegs: for somebody else. Isn't
Sidey: Yeah. They change it up. So he knows a bunch where you just dig the board, but this is where he wasn't supposed to be batting that night, but they changed it up and said, right, go on, go out. You know, you get a feeling or.
You against a certain kind of picture they think like put him in. So anyway, he went out, he hit the home run, but because he wasn't supposed to bag, he didn't have a bat. So the bat that he was using was not by the manufacturer that he had to deal with. So he actually got fined him for hitting the run that broke the record
Reegs: I would just like to point out that this summer we, for a brief moment did have a, it's probably not a professional level, but we had a game of softball down at the school with the parents in the class inside of you were there weren't you? I think
Sidey: Probably the best buy that
Reegs: Well, but who was, he personally hit two home runs and caught out.
Whoever I caught out who was really lifted it.
Sidey: Oh yeah.
Sidey: I wasn't as professionally set up as I'd liked, to be honest, there was too many kids plan as well.
Reegs: there was a lot of kids. Yeah.
when I first heard it was called Moneyball. Did you think it was going to be like roller ball or like, you know
Sidey: Driver's come
Reegs: yeah, the James calm one. Exactly. But instead they were like roller skating, round a big thing with money, but like,
Sidey: I can't remember where I first saw it. I don't think I saw this at the cinema. I don't even know if it came to, so my overhead to be, to be
Howie: was it, was it an extra download with your Microsoft Excel updates?
Sidey: this, this, they were screaming up some tricks on this movie. I tell you that What I also didn't realize. And I didn't even till today, when I was looking up about this movie is how many awards it was certainly nominated for. It was, this is nominated for best picture, best actor, Brad Pitt, best supporting actor, Jonah Hill, best adapted screenplay, and then the big ones, best sound mixing and best editing.
I don't know that it actually won any of those, but
Reegs: Oh, Brad Pitt was very good. I didn't necessarily notice the editing, but it must have been good to make a movie like this, which has very, you know, Nisha peel on paper something that a lot of people can enjoy. And I think a lot of people can enjoy this.
Sidey: Yeah. And when I think about it, it's a film in a long line of baseball movies that I enjoy field of dreams.
Howie: yeah, yeah.
Sidey: Both Darren major league.
Reegs: Major league.
Howie: What about the one with Madonna?
Sidey: No, don't like that one league of their own.
Howie: Yeah, that's the
Reegs: you get there. Right. And that's right. Yeah.
Sidey: Not because I'm a massive sexist. I just don't really like Madonna or it's Tom Hanks as well. Isn't it? I'm not a huge fan of him. Yeah, exactly. Pizzagate. So what I would say in summary is that. Despite sounding like the most boring film concept on the planet.
This is a film I've seen probably six or seven times now. And I still enjoy watching it and I would definitely recommend that you give it a whirl.
Reegs: Yeah, I've only seen this once, but I, I think don't be put off by the subject matter. It it's really fantastic.
Howie: Well, I don't get put off by the subject matter. Like this week's film that you've got me fucking watching it. You twice.
Reegs: Sneaker head for Friday's episode.
Sidey: bit apprehensive now that you mentioned it, but Hey, ho.