Kathy and I settled ourselves down yesterday evening for the 5.30 show of Moneyball at Cavendish Square. Kathy had got there early and had headed off to Woolworths for some "diet" chips, sparkling water, Miss Kitty paper cups AND a bottle of Pierre Jourdan Tranquille!!! We eagerly entered the movie house to find ourselves alone. Yeah!! What is it with the ticket sellers that when they sell only 12 tickets to an early show they have to seat you on top of each other? We decided to change our seats (as we were alone) to one row further forward and "in the middle" (as asked for) and not on the aisle. We brazenly took out our paper cups and wine and poured ourselves a drink while eating our diet cardboard over-salted chips (they got better as you got nearer to the bottom).
Suddenly there was an influx of about 10 others. All of whom seated themselves either in front of or behind us and one innocent, young Muslim chap was the proud holder of a winning ticket. A seat next to Kathy!! Lucky no-one wanted to or was brave enough to ask us both to stand up with our paper cups and packets to let them through to the other side of OUR row. Well, Achmat did not last long next to Kathy. I think she laughed out loud one time and he caught a whiff of the alcohol fumes (or maybe he saw me fiddling around on the ground trying to pour a second glass - Miss Kitty cups are pretty small, you know?). He headed south, asking a couple to stand up to let him out and kept twitching in his seat two rows in front of me throughout the movie.
Our Sundowner Movie episodes go back many years. Remember when there was a bottle store in Cavendish Square - near the lift at Monsoon? We used to pop in there and buy ourselves either a six pack of gin and tonic ready mixed cans (why did they stop selling them?) or if in an extravagant mood those small tequila marguerita cans (3 each, they were small half cans). Before Klippies and Coke came in a bottle we used to buy the sachets of brandy and then pour the sachets into the movie house Cokes (not ideal - horrible Coke). Not ideal either when you are trying to use your teeth to open the sachet and you spring a leak in a very full movie house and all you can smell is brandy, the chap in front of you puts on his raincoat (seriously not joking - we ended up sharing with him) (and you have Dalene and Lesley with you who once they start giggling, cannot stop). Once we so enjoyed our movie, we carried on the party at Trumps (remember that famous breakfast and cougar restaurant?). There was even a local GP who used to consult with his lady patients there. We spent all our money (on champagne cocktails) and our parking ended up costing R75 (we were out for so long). This is when Kathy taught us how to dovetail two cars through the booms on one ticket. Lesley has subsequently tried the trick again and it still works!!
Back to yesterday's movie though. Moneyball, the title of this post. If this song and the picture of Brad Pitt does not send you off to this movie immediately, then I don't know what will.
Kerris Dorsey (the daughter of Sarah and Brothers & Sisters) plays Brad's daughter in the movie and sings this song to her Dad. Brad Pitt is awesome in the movie - he has always been more "eye candy" to me than a serious actor but his role in this movie is understated and, I think brilliant (and he does have the most beautiful nose in the world - ears are cute too). Some of the tactics, stats and baseball stuff did not make 100% sense to me (but it did not need to). I loved the scenes from Fenway Park where Michael and I were taken to watch the Boston Red Sox by Derek and Judy. I know my boys will love the tactics and stuff because it is all about what these new computer fantasy league games are all about.
From The Guardian:-
"In a classic essay in his 1954 book God's Country and Mine, the French-born but American-by-choice Jacques Barzun wrote: "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball… That baseball fitly expresses the powers of the nation's mind and body is a merit separate from the glory of being the most active, agile, varied, articulate and brainy of all group games. It is of and for our century." This is probably one of the reasons why it has inspired so many remarkable Hollywood movies, a list now joined by the cynically or realistically named Moneyball.
Baseball is the quintessential national game, with its own mystique and built-in traditions, but it is also a cut-throat business where change and innovation are important. Moneyball brings these elements together in a manner that introduces that most romantic of baseball pictures, Field of Dreams, to that most 21st-century of films about technological and cultural transformation, The Social Network.
In one of his finest performances, Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, a real-life failed baseball player for the New York Mets. In 2001 he's the 44-year-old general manager of the Oakland Athletics (known as the A's), an underfunded team in the San Francisco Bay Area. His best players are constantly being poached by wealthier clubs, earning the A's the reputation of being "organ donors to the rich". During a moment of insight and despair after losing three major stars, Billy is intrigued by a quietly spoken, overweight, bespectacled adviser working for the Cleveland Indians.
The man is 24-year-old Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), an economist from Yale who's never played the game but keeps whispering obscure advice to the Cleveland pros. It transpires that he believes a winning team isn't necessarily made up of individual stars but of a combination of certain talents who together add up to runs. Such people are much cheaper to buy, probably easier to handle and certainly simpler to unload. Billy's immediately hooked on the idea that he might use Brand's complex formula to transform the A's into a truly winning combination rather than relying on luck, intuition and what JK Galbraith called "conventional wisdom". He hires Brand and sets about selling the idea to Oakland's old-fashioned scouts and coaches. The movie is a brilliant study of group dynamics. The chief scout goes, the chief coach (Philip Seymour Hoffman with shaven grey hair, pot belly and quizzical scowl) sticks it out but doesn't co-operate, and Billy doggedly pursues his new obsession, attracting ridicule and probably facing disaster and a one-way ticket to Palookaville. He wins in the end, though not in a triumphalist manner, and not permanently, but his life is changed.
The scenes between the wheeling‑and-dealing manager and his awkwardly nerdish young counsellor are superbly handled, and the picture is consistently exciting and highly intelligent, as you might expect from a script by Steve Zaillian, who wrote Schindler's List, and Aaron Sorkin, who created The West Wing and won an Oscar for The Social Network. Like Cobb (the ex-ballplayer Ron Shelton's devastating movie portrait of the monstrous baseball star Ty Cobb), Moneyball has few scenes out on the field, none of them sustained. It's a film about baseball that demands little knowledge of the game. In a marvellous exchange toward the end, the young adviser shows the manager a clip of film involving an elderly player's sudden, unexpected change of fortune. "It's a metaphor," he explains. "I know it's a metaphor," says Pitt wearily. Whatever else he is, he's nobody's fool.
And now, if you are still not that interested in this movie, I have another important bit of information for you. Kathy taught me another important trick yesterday. Did you know that when you go down the first escalator from the upstairs Cavendish movie house (near the toilets) there is a door that leads you straight into the parking lot?. OK, granted you still have to head to that Bidvest entrance to pay for your parking (NO, we did not dovetail) but how cool. All these times that I have gone all the way down to McDonalds, then across, past CNA and up to the top again and then have to find my car and all the time my car had been waiting right outside the movie house for me!! Silly me. Naughty Kathy for withholding life changing information.
Thank you Kathy for the wine. My round next time!!