I had never heard about “MoneyBall” until I heard a story about it on NPR yesterday morning.
Then last night, I heard Terry Gross interview Brad Pitt about it. OK, they talked a lot about “Fight Club,” with Ms. Gross asking the star how many people come up to him and say, “The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.” Not that many, actually. But the bottom line message of his being there was, “See ‘MoneyBall.”
Then this morning, I hear a review, also on NPR, from Kenneth Turan. Again, the message is to see the movie.
Also this morning, the teaser across the top of The Wall Street Journal (you know, the space devoted to football, year-round, in The State), was all about “MoneyBall.” It referred you to a big story headlined, “Baseball After Moneyball,” and a review by Joe Morgenstern, which says this film “…renews your belief in the power of movies.”
Then, in my email this morning, I get a link to the Roger Ebert review:
In the 2002 season, the nation’s lowest-salaried Major League Baseball team put together a 20-game winning streak, setting a new American League record. The team began that same season with 11 losses in row. What happened between is the stuff of “Moneyball,” a smart, intense and moving film that isn’t so much about sports as about the war between intuition and statistics.
OK, I get the message: I want to see this movie. Not only because I like good baseball movies, but because I’m very interested, as readers here will know, in “the war between intuition and statistics.”
But I have to say, I’m also quite impressed by the hype. Not just the volume of it, but the quality.
Note this isn’t your usual slam-bam action movie kind of promotion, that washes over you like a tidal wave and either pulls you into the theater or makes you run, screaming, for higher ground. The kind with lots of stuff blowing up. The kind that would never concern itself with “the war between intuition and statistics.”
This is targeted. This is more subtle. And it grabs people who are into baseball as a Thinking Man’s Game. Grabs them every which way.
Nice job by whoever was handling the media relations on this. I mean, everything they did was rather obvious, but I don’t remember the last time I saw these particular venues flooded this way for one movie. The buildup, from my perspective, was last-minute, but compete, and effective.
I may even shell out money to go see it in the theater. Which for me would be remarkable.