At the Moneyball movie premiere, we received kudos from the stars. Brad Pitt, who plays Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, declared “Man, I hope [all Oaklanders] like it. I think it’s a love letter.” His Oakland A’s number-cruncher, played by Jonah Hill, added “I love the Bay Area, I love Oakland.” That’s great, but we needed to see the love letter for ourselves.
After watching Moneyball this opening weekend, we felt uplifted about the A’s and pretty good about Oakland. The Coliseum is a central backdrop, where Billy Beane places his bets on affordable hitters and their performance plays out. Other city locations were used sparingly, and here’s the line-up:
- The Coliseum – Yes, it appears realistically during most of the movie. You see the playing fields, the locker room, offices and entry ways. We think the locals who filled the place did a great job. The real footage of the decade-old games looks just fine, too.
- The Home – Billy Beane lives in a quiet, nice home. The scenes take place in a comfortable-looking kitchen that would fit well in our Montclair homes. One misfire? There are collectible plates on the walls, which seems strange in an earthquake-prone locale.
- The Port – Of course, when Beane is trying to figure things out, he goes for a drive and ends up in an open, empty lot. The Port’s cranes are right there, trying to tell him that he’s protected in Oakland.
- The Bridge – Yes, our Bridge just had to be in the movie, with the lights twinkling from San Francisco. (We can’t wait until the new bridge emerges and there’s a view of our hills in future flicks. Wishful thinking here.)
- The Airport – There are a couple scenes at the gate, when Beane collects or drops off his daughter. These small bits could have been filmed at Oakland or anywhere, and thus were too neutral for our tastes.
Moneyball primarily sticks to its Oakland A’s storyline, including the immediate business and sporting activities at hand. There were no place-setting efforts to show off downtown landmarks or other great spots around the city. Beane could have taken his daughter to Chabot Science, Lake Merritt or even the Zoo. Alas, this movie isn’t a Oakland tourism promotion. As Brad Pitt promised, it’s a true-love note to the Oakland A’s.
P.S. Did you see District 4 Rep Libby Schaaf’s recent love letter to Oakland? It does articulate the charms and challenges of Oakland quite well. Check out Oakland: The Self-Made City and find Schaaf’s letter in the right hand column.