What Makes “Moneyball” Unusual

This is a guest post by Rebecca Cusey.

At The Daily Caller, Rebecca Cusey writes:

“Moneyball,” the new movie about baseball, does something that few Hollywood films do: It respects and celebrates innovation and entrepreneurship.

Hollywood sends us lots of movies full of battlefield honor and dishonor, sagas of heroes in funny costumes, silly yarns about slackers, quests for love and/or sex, and any number of inspiring sports stories. But rarely does it produce good movies about the workplace. For something that occupies a third of our lives and much of our waking energy, the workplace is relegated to a depressing backdrop or screwball setting.

Where are the profiles of men and women compelled by a mixture of ambition and madness to create something great and change the world? …

The desire to build something great and to leave a professional legacy motivates Americans of all walks of life. We’re all about self-made men and rags-to-riches women. We love stories of the high school dropout who became a millionaire or the single mom who now runs a multimillion-dollar company.

But where are these movies? Where is the story of Henry Ford, who made a fortune while changing the world? To bring it closer to home, no one has had more impact on our times than Bill Gates. The world would not be the same had he not chased his Big Idea from his plucky garage workshop to global dominance to charitable giant. Talk about a story!

Most of our working heroes in film, however, are determined underdogs taking on capitalists, like Erin Brockovich and her crusade against pollution, or “Tucker,” chasing his dream while fighting big auto corporations. We have lots of movies about the dark side of capitalism — and there certainly is a dark side — but the world isn’t all sweatshops and corporate liars. Truly good films respect ambition while fearing the depths to which it might lead. The film widely considered to be the greatest ever, “Citizen Kane,” ably shows the glory and the madness of chasing a Big Idea.

The irony is particularly rich because filmmakers are some of the biggest capitalists in the world. Anyone who has ever negotiated a film contract knows everybody wants more than their fair share of the pie. But the Steven Spielbergs, James Camerons and George Lucases of the world want more than cash. They come to Tinseltown chasing a Big Idea. They certainly want to make money, but they also want to advance filmmaking, make something great and change their part of the world.

They’re not all that different from a guy who starts a fast-food chain or an airline or figures out a way to win baseball games.

Hopefully there will be more movies like “The Social Network” and “Moneyball” coming down the pike. After all, isn’t it a little sad that the greatest American business family portrayed on film is the Corleones of “The Godfather” trilogy?

Read the entire piece at The Daily Caller.

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