At the festival to promote ‘Moneyball,’ Pitt confessed that his favorite sports movie is ‘The Bad News Bears’
TORONTO — When Brad Pitt (go here for more pictures) and George Clooney (go here for pics of his press conference) are in Toronto to promote movies, the media blitz hits the frenzy button and rarely dies down. I managed to get into a packed press conference featuring Pitt, his Moneyball costars Chris Pratt, Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and director Bennett Miller (who directed Hoffman in his Oscar-winning Capote performance).
The movie is about Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s GM who didn’t have a Yankee-sized payroll and had to use a new mathematical formula to field a competitive team in a small market. The movie is much more upbeat and amusing then that summary suggests
Here are few quick quotes from the first press conference of the festival.
On what attracted him to the project, Pitt says, “By necessity, these guys were trapped in an unfair game. They had to come up with something different. At the end of the day, it is a story about our values, how we value success, how we define failure."
And asked about his favorite sports movie of all time, he explained, “As a kid I loved The Bad News Bears – Bennett and I talked a lot about that. I loved North Dallas Forty with Nick Nolte. That was the first R-rated movie I saw so it has a special place. Sports movies work on some level at overcoming adversity. It’s something in our DNA."
I enjoyed Moneyball which is very much about baseball, but is also about our expectations in life and what happens when those hopes and dreams are crushed by reality. It is also surprisingly funny by depicting the clash between old school evaluations of minor league talent and the new stats and math formulas that were designed by Yale graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill).
My favorite film of the festival so far is The Artist, a black & white film about the era of silent movies when the talking picture came along and took over. It has been done as a non-dialogue movie (there is music, including Bernard Herrmann’s magnificent love theme from Vertigo), and stars the best actor winner from Cannes, Jean Dujardin, as a hammy silent film star, George Valentin. He should be in the Oscar talk, and his dog co-star should be given a special dog-shaped Oscar for supporting actor. The film is from writer-director Michel Hazanavicius and also stars John Goodman, Berenice Bejo as the star-is-born female lead, and James Cromwell.
The first major disappointment of the festival is George Clooney’s directorial effort, the political thriller The Ides of March. The cliché-ridden effort starring Ryan Gosling pales in comparison to even a so-so episode of The West Wing. The film reveals that most politicians and their handlers are soulless assholes. Is that revelation supposed to shock us?
A couple of other gems are the sweet and tart film by Finnish superstar director Aki Kaurismaki, Le Havre, about a crusty old Frenchman who helps a young black illegal immigrant evade the police with the help of his friends and neighbors in the port town of the title, and the drama from the award-winning brothers from Belgium, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Kid With a Bike. A boy filled with rage about the father who has abandoned him finds love and compassion from a kind stranger, a woman who takes a chance on him.
Here is a list of my 10 favorite films from the Toronto Film Fest...
After five days and 18 movies viewed at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, I’ve got a few favorites and a little Oscar buzz. David O. Russell, writer-director of Three Kings and more recently, The Fighter, introduced his latest, Silver Linings Playbook.
Brad Pitt: "As a kid I loved 'The Bad News Bears. I loved 'North Dallas Forty' with Nick Nolte. That was the first R-rated movie I saw so it has a special place. Sports films work on some level at overcoming adversity."
When Brad Pitt and George Clooney are in Hollywood North to promote movies, the media blitz hits the frenzy button and rarely dies down. And so it was on the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival with Pitt in town to promote the baseball movie Moneyball, and Clooney ...
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