Friday, September 30, 2011

Deadspin: Undervaluing 'Moneyball'

The new Brad Pitt vehicle based on Michael Lewis' bestselling book and a script by the authors of Schindler's Facebook has been getting unfairly blasted by exactly the sorts of people who you'd think would be in love with it: sports nerds. The negative reactions seem to come down to upset superfans, churlish nitpickers and cynics who see the movie as a chance to pimp their criticisms of the book again.

They're all wrong, of course, but funnily enough this was a lesson I learned because of — not in spite of — old people. Find out what you can learn about movies from sitting in a flickering antechamber to the hereafter with a bunch of people whose eternal Subway Club Cards are just one punch away from the big freebie.

Click the East Coast Bias-Sized Jeter to take this incredible journey:

Also, please come back this week as we recommence the annual death march into the 2011 MLB Postseason. Until then, feel free to check out the playoff and Series blogs from the 2010 MLB Postseason and the 2009 MLB Postseason.


  1. Interesting column slightly marred by bad crypto reference.

    "U-571's entire premise was the 1942 Allied capture of a German enigma machine, when the Poles had built a working copy as early as 1939 and then supplied the British. There was literally no point to the movie."

    That's wrong in so many ways...

  2. Hi, Anon,

    Really, it's not. I think it's a perfectly apt dismissal of a movie made in an absolute vacuum of cryptological history and with only a selective awareness of it. I mean, if you want to take umbrage with the categorical aspect of my saying, "There was literally no point to it," I'd understand, since finding any point at all impeaches it. But it's a silly movie made in total ignorance of not only Anglo-American codebreaking, but also the exigencies of materiel, aviation, HF/DF, manpower and changing focus that makes no allowances for numerous factors that undermine its purpose. It crowns an achievement that's absurd without reference to those issues, and doubly absurd in light of them.

    The very end of the movie does it better than I ever could: after the heroic capture of an Enigma machine and codebook, it notes other Enigma machines (and, if I remember correctly, codebooks — although this is correct historically and is only in dispute, in my memory, in terms of the film) stolen by the Allies years earlier. Neat.

    I have this deep dread that you're going to want to pursue this, though, and I'm going to sincerely ask that you do not, because it's going to result in my writing a shitload more words on this subject that's already consumed ungodly amounts from me over too long. And while I would like to think that I could eventually persuade you, it's an argument primarily about a bad movie and only secondarily about signals intelligence. So that's a Pyrrhic victory at best. More likely, we agree to disagree, which we could both do now, without all the writing, and instead have a sandwich.

  3. Also, I'm glad you found the column interesting, historical disputes aside.

  4. sandwiches For the Freaking Win.. .


Et tu, Mr. Destructo? is a politics, sports and media blog whose purpose is to tell jokes or be really right about things. All of us have real jobs and don't need the hassle that telling jokes here might occasion, which is why some contributors find it more tasteful to pretend to be dead mass murderers.