Today I went to Ides of March and was told that with my ticket I could also go to Moneyball for free. It seems excessive to go to two movies in the theater in one day I know, but what the heck. And I must say I enjoyed myself a lot. Both movies are good.
Ides of March has everything I like in a movie: politics, character-driven drama, and, of course, Ryan Gosling. And it is also unpredictable. In the beginning Ryan Gosling’s character is idealistic claiming he has to believe in the candidate he’s working for. Gosling’s character Stephen Meyers, is working for presidential candidate is the seemingly virtuous Governor Mike Morris played by George Clooney. The outcome, I thought, will be obvious: something will happen to shake his belief in the governor - - he will betray him (et Brutus, anyone?) and then come out the other side scathed but repentant having learned a valuable lesson. But, happily, the end came as a surprise when our dear campaign worker takes an unexpected turn, and it’s fascinating to watch. The movie is a bit too long, but overall a great story with great acting.
Moneyball, the movie I was not intending to watch (It’s rarely my first choice to watch a sports’ movie), was unexpectedly charming and equally as compelling – and too long in parts too! Why are movies these days always too long? Anyway that’s another topic. I liked Brad Pitt in this movie – He plays the general manager of the Oakland As who employs a nerdy statistician from Yale to help him hire unappreciated but potentially valuable players. The movie has its sports clichés for sure – underdogs get beat up but triumph against all odds, blah, blah … but the character that Brad Pitt plays, Billy Beane who is based on a real guy, is given more to do than give inspirational speeches and look pretty; he makes the character believable and real.
On a side note, the commonality between the two movies, besides being two well acted realistic dramas, is Philip Seymour Hoffman. In Ides of March he plays the campaign manager who’s jaded but has integrity and in Moneyball he plays the constantly pissed off manager of the As who’s made to look like a jerk. He’s good in both and his presence always a good sign in a movie, I think.