Justplainwill will now take your questions.
Every time I turn on the TV I see Brad Pitt promoting his new movie, Moneyball. The guy must think that he’s God or maybe even that Sarah Palin because lately he is everywhere: the Late Night with David Letterman… Jay Leno… the Today Show…the Tonight Show…the Day After Tomorrow Show and that ridiculous “Who-dat and Kathy Lee”. You name the TV time slot and that Brad’s been on it promoting that damn movie.
I like Brad and all but I’ve got other things to do and I am just wondering if it’s worth my time to go and see Moneyball? Have you seen it Justplainwill? What do you think?
When you see an actor and a studio guy promoting a movie this much, something is up. It usually means that the movie turns out to be ‘a hot mess.’
As you may know, Moneyball is the story of how Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, used new theories of baseball statistics to almost win the 2002 American League pennant by employing a bunch of no-name, under paid and misbegotten players.
It is not a terrible film, Angie. Believe me, I’ve seen worse. Much worse. Rocky III, IV, and V immediately come to mind. So does any movie with Keanu Reeves anywhere in the cast. I love baseball as much as the next guy and probably more than most but when you get down to it, this movie is not really about baseball. Rather it’s about business, statistics and math. Math, Angie. Math! In the whole two hours or so that this movie is on the screen, there are no fast cars, no naked women, no gratuitous sex and no senseless violence unless you count Brad Pitt showing off by braking obviously fake baseball bats over his knee and spitting chaws of tobacco into a Styrofoam cup. On top of all of these disappointments, Moneyball is G –rated. What the hell kind of Hollywood effort is all that these days?
I will give Ol’ Brad credit for trying his hand at job creation in a tough U.S. economy though. That’s the only possible explanation as to why he made this movie in the first place. With the exceptions of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Brad himself, there is absolutely no one else in this movie that you, I, or anybody else has ever heard of except for possibly the parents of the actors. (I figure that Hoffman consented to be in the movie because he owed Brad money. He must have.)
Math does not translate well to the silver screen, Angie. If it did, a couple of my old college professors would be Hollywood icons instead of still doddering around the classroom and annoying students in Calculus 102.
The movie is also about the ‘science’ of scouting baseball players. To be honest, as much as I like baseball as a sport, a bunch of old men baseball scouts sitting around a table, drooling over the body measurements of virile young men and day-dreaming about how good those bodies might look and perform in tight-fitting baseball uniforms is more than a little creepy in my book.
Nevertheless Angie, I tried to like Moneyball. I really did — even though Brad hasn’t made a good movie since the Coolidge Administration. The movie just wasn’t that interesting though. I tried.
It could have been MUCH more interesting if Billy Beane could’ve been played by say, Robert Duvall or maybe even Morgan Freeman, two guys who can really act. Yeah, I know that Billy Beane was a young white man in real life, Duvall is in his dotage and Morgan is an old black guy. But I figure that any guy who can play the President, God and also put up with ‘Miss Daisy’ can play anybody. If Robert Duvall had played Beane the Oakland A’s would have won the World Series in the movie even though they did not in real life. That’s just how good of an actor Robert Duvall is.
Angie, I’d pass on Moneyball if I were you. That now old movie Major League is essentially the same story. It’s also a lot more entertaining — and funny. Besides seeing Moneyball, I can think of about a hundred other better things to do, like maybe adopt more kids.
Dear Mr. Justplainwill:
As a scientist, I am very worried. A few days ago, a bunch of those hooligan scientists over in Europe announced that while working in the lab, they had just clocked some neutrinos –sub-atomic particles — at speeds exceeding the speed of light!!!!
As every one knows, nothing can go faster than the speed of light. Nothing, Justplainwill. NOTHING! Einstein said so and he knew everything. If what the Europeans say is true, it will change the whole theory of physics and everything that we scientists have ever believed in. What are we going to do, Justplainwill? What are we going to do? Please help us.
Dear Mr. Wizard:
First, I’ve always been under the impression that “Neutrinos” were a breakfast cereal or possibly something that came in a can, like say Spaghettio’s. But since you say that neutrinos are sub-atomic particles, we’ll go with that. After all, you’re Mr. Wizard.
Anyway, Wiz calm down. You have no problems.
For one thing, those scientists who were bragging about having clocked neutrinos that moved faster than the speed of light were more than likely dead wrong. Probably they were drunk and/or distracted when they were doing their speed of light experiments. I have it on good authority that those leggy European supermodels like to hang around physicists. The guys were likely partying with the supermodels during the proceedings and all of them were drunk. Of course, you know how guys can get when they get all liquored up and start bragging about their accomplishments, especially when there are pretty women hanging around. (The last time I was around a supermodel, I tried to impress her by telling her that I, Justplainwill, was much smarter than that high priced advice columnist, ‘Dear Abby’.)
Wiz, it could also be that the European scientists weren’t European at all and were say, ex-cops from the famous speed trap town of say Heflin, Alabama. This is one of the more famous speed traps around these parts and home training goes a long ways –even to CERN and Europe; you know what I’m sayin’, Wiz ? In any event, if these scientists were formerly ex-Southern small town cops with bad radar guns… well, you get my drift. (And God help those poor neutrinos if they happened to be ‘black’ neutrinos doing more than the speed of light .)
Of course, if re-doing the experiment proves beyond any doubt that neutrinos are faster than the speed of light, you still have no worries. As an American scientist, you can bet that the Congressional Republicans will once again, ignore science, truth and all reason and remind everyone else that the U S. Constitution mandates the speed of light to be 299, 792, 458 meters per second, just what Jesus and the Founding Fathers said it was in the first place —and intended for it to remain.
All in all, Mr. Wizard, I think that you have nothing to worry about. Having to change everything in physics could be really bad news. Worse news would be that Keanu Reeves would make a movie, say Speedball, about the lab work leading to the new discovery.
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