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Who knew statistical analysis could make you choke up with emotion? Surprisingly poignant for a movie that turns America's pastime into a card-counting experiment---and filled with crackling dialogue from Oscar winners Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian---Moneyball focuses on the essential issue of baseball and of life: How do you measure human value?

The Oakland A's general manager, Billy Beane (Pitt), thinks hard on the matter when his underfunded team's superstars get traded off for multimillion-dollar contracts. Left to pick up the pieces and scrape together raw talent, Beane eyes redemption in the shape of chubby pencil pusher Peter Brand (Hill), whose obsession with at-base rankings gives him a Rain Man--like ability to spot potential even in the most broken players.

At heart, this true story of a third-rate major league team's historic ascent during the 2002 season (adapted from Michael Lewis's 2003 best-seller) is yet another underdog tale with crippling setbacks and heartwarming cheers. But it's also a case study worthy of Harvard Business School, a potent rebuke to groupthink and an oddly touching parable about self-worth and second chances. Best of all, filmmaker Bennett Miller (Capote) uses this brainiac sports movie to remind viewers that money is neither the measure of a man nor the ultimate assessment of quality; it's a myopic metric based on past accomplishments rather than future potential. After all, success isn't always about the home runs so much as just getting on base---again, and again, and again.

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