Back to The Best Movies of 2011
There was some debate at Moviefone HQ about whether 'Moneyball' should be this high on the list because of what some describe as a lackluster finale. Final answer: it should, especially since the finale -- which follows Michael Lewis's source book almost to the letter -- ties up the themes of 'Moneyball' even if it doesn't offer a traditional sports-movie ending. (That being: changing an industry is not usually met with a victory parade, but a stone wall.) Directed with an old-pro's hand by Bennett Miller (his first film since 'Capote' in 2005), 'Moneyball' is one of the best baseball movies ever simply because it stays true to the game itself: it's filled with tiny failures, small successes, and doesn't conclude with a World Series title. Brad Pitt gets the role of his life as Billy Beane -- his golden hair and skin recalls a younger Robert Redford -- but the real surprise of the cast is Jonah Hill as Pitt's onscreen apprentice. By dialing down his previously rambunctious nature, Hill succeeds in doing what most actors and major leaguers have difficulty accomplishing: reinvention in the face of age. -- C.R.