Brad Pitt stars as Beane, the Oakland Athletics general manager, who manages to create a winning team at a fraction of cost. His system, which is also explored in the 2003 book with the same title as the movie, is believed to have offered a ray of hope for low-budget professional teams from all major sports.
When put another way, no money doesn't necessarily mean no wins. But the road to victory is paved with numerous setbacks.
Early in the film, Beane offers a frank assessment of his team.
"There are rich teams, then there are poor teams, then there's 50 feet of crap, then there's us." Helping Beane is assistant manager Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill). Working together, they believe the key to the teams' success is looking past players who are high priced stars.
Or, for baseball geeks, Beane's theory in a nutshell states this: Instead of paying big salaries to players with high batting averages, you get players who get on base a lot. The distinction may seem minor, but can make a world of difference when a small market team is faced with opposing teams that are dishing out million dollar contracts.
Jonah's character is also derived from real baseball man Paul DePodesta, who excitedly wanted to gather up under appreciated players onto the team, "like an island of misfit toys."
Directed by Bennett Miller (Capote) the all star cast is rounded out by Robin Wright, Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who plays manager Art Howe) and Stephen Bishop as the legendary David Justice.