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MONEYBALL – Aka…Frank Costanza’s Stop-Short Move

By Old Dan Cedar - Posted on 12 January 2012

So, there’s this little trick that the Impossible Moviewriter’s Federation (IMF) doesn’t think we, the Impossible Moviewatcher’s Federation (IMF), are aware of…

The Mission IS NOT Impossible…it would NOT make for a good ending.

THEY just think that WE are Little Johnny Fuckfaces that don’t know any better.

So…Uncle Old Dan Cedar is going to give you a little IMF learning…just sit down on my new leather couch…be careful not to shard yourself. Didn't Scotch Guard her yet.

When watching a movie…the audience hopes the mission LOOKS impossible…but is actually only implausible. That would be the case in the case of a movie or series like, say…Mission Impossible.


In lieu of that…or when one is pressed with daunting facts that are too difficult to hurdle… like the facts in Moneyball…one can change the ending by prematurely snatching away the failure that is SURE to be headed our way…and pre-emptively conclude the movie…synopsizing the actual failure in the written epilogue during the last 24 seconds of our 2 hour and 7 minute movie.

The trick is in the slight of hand.

How deftly can we apprehend our happy ending with nary a sole being the wiser?

This trick being all the more difficult given the sentimental downtrodden earth that makes up Moneyball. The “underdog baseball story” killing fields are littered with the mutilated forlorn sob stories of losers young and old.

If they are going to make Old Dan Cedar weep…they better have something a little better than that David Puddy move. Which, if you’ve forgotten… “Ohhh, it’s a lot of fancy-schmancy stuff. You know what it’s like? It’s like a big budget movie with a story that goes *nowhere*.”

In Moneyball the mission DOES seem impossible…i.e. for the cheapskate Oakland Athletics to figure a way around those Goddamn Free spending New York Yankees.

But, no worries, we have an adept screenwriter in our midst. Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The Social Network) who is, once again, writing his buttocks off!!

HE IS, Aaron Sorkin, ASSMAN!!

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is reinventing the way baseball thinks about baseball. And how success is measured by using on-base-percentage (simplistically) as THE way of measuring a team and/or player’s success. There are a number of problems with the story that don’t completely jibe with reality, but we are here to be entertained.

And if reality is an impediment that must be overcome…so be it.

By focusing on details that are peripheral to the story…Moneyball deftly navigates around the on-field failures of Billy Beane’s cheap ass losers. And just like Frank Costanza…Moneyball, with the help of Sorkin, knows the well placed, but lost art, of the Stop-Short move.

And gives us a nice nipple pinch that we never see coming.

I worked with a dumbbell yesterday. I feel vigorous.


Old Dan’s tear drop wells up…just before the epilogue rolls up on screen…

Even though I prefer a swirl.

Should have seen it coming.

4 Naybobs

Old Dan Cedar

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