This week I watched Moneyball again for the first time since seeing it in the theater. If you haven’t seen it yet and you love baseball I definitely recommend it. It’s an excellently crafted story based on the 2002 Oakland A’s and their general manager, Billy Beane (Former Twin). It’s really a David versus Goliath tale that shows how low-payroll teams try to compete against high-payroll teams.
While it uses real footage, real names, and real events from 2002, the filmmakers take liberty with many of the details. Many events simply did not happen and some things are completely left out to accentuate the storyline. For instance, when the lowly A’s lose a playoff series to the Twins, the movie neglects to mention that the Twins were also a low-payroll team. It also forgets that the team was loaded with quality starters (Zito, Huson, Mulder) and great hitters (Tejada, Dye).
I try to remember that “Based on a true story” is a fancy marketing phrase that’s really saying, “This film is historical fiction and much of it is fabricated.” I love movies based on a true story, but I always try to give the true story justice by researching what really happened. It always gives me a different level of appreciation to find out the whole story. While the movies are compelling, I find deeper meaning and connection to the true story.
I write to remind us as new waves of these movies arrive in 2012. Though it will mostly likely be moving, don’t settle for Hollywood’s version of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter… do your research and find out what really happened.