This past weekend, my good friend Will Smith joined me in a private public screening (as in, we paid to watch the movie behind closed doors, but the theater was filled with strangers) of Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt.
However, I must say the film’s pace surprised me — the book Moneyball actually felt much faster-paced in its 301-page glory — and though I rather liked the film (see Rob Neyer’s review for an opinion much like mine), it never hurts to spice up a Hollywood movie with extra love and action scenes — and maybe a Michael Bay credit.
Suggested Change #1: Replace Jonah Hill with Danny Glover.
We all know Hill played a nerdier version of Paul DePosta, but why couldn’t Danny Glover have brought a little grit to the role?
Glover, instead of working with the Cleveland Indians front office, could have been a wise janitor for the Tribe who doesn’t take crap from the players and lives in a broom closet under the press box until Beane has a protracted, dramatic conversation with Glover in a rain-drenched Progressive Field. The conversation would go like this:
“You don’t need big names to win,” Glover’s character would say.
“What do you mean?” Beane would ask over the roaring rain.
“I can build you a team, using numbers, spreadsheets, and mother’s basements. But what do I know? I’m just an old, beat-up janitor.”
“If I gave the keys to my kingdom, what would be your first move?”
“An efficient manager,” Glover says, snatching his mop and turning away, “never gives out his secrets.”
“Well then you might as well tell me,” Beane says, tugging a fedora over his brow, “because I just hired you to be the Assistant GM of the Oakland Athletics.”
Suggested Change #2: Replace thoughtful pick-up truck driving with Ferrari chase scene.
Those who have seen the movie will already know there exists a good deal of thoughtful, wordless truck driving. It’s not a particularly useless or ineffective set of scenes, but they could easily be optimized with a high-speed chase through Manhattan. The bad guys (presumably from the comissioner’s office, looking to test Miguel Tejada for PEDs) will be lobbing high-explosive grenades and fruit carts at Beane as he eventually launches across Wallabout Bay and to the relative safety of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Also, in order to make the scene sensible and crowd pleasing, the A’s should be replaced by the New York Yankees and they should win the World Series at the end of the movie.
Suggested Change #3: Replace Jeremy Giambi’s character with an attractive female lead.
This an obvious one. Not only does this create a little on-screen chemistry with Brad Pitt (now playing Brian Cashman) and Giambi’s character (now played by Lucy Lui, who’s now playing Hideki Matsui), but it also creates the added tension of when Cashman has to tell Matsui that he’s not renewing his contract. That scene would have played out like this:
“I’m not renewing your contract, Hideki.”
“I knew you’d do this eventually,” she says without moving her eyes from her locker. “You want a DH who’s… younger.”
Cashman folds his arms and just waits.
“I’m sorry I’m not good enough for you,” she says, sniffling away a tear. After a moment of silence, she grabs her bat, flings it across the locker room and storms out of Cashman’s life forever.
These are pretty obvious and brilliant moves Moneyball could have made to vastly improve the movie. Did I miss any?
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