Michael Lewis' 2003 book concerns Billy Beane, a former ballplayer-turned-scout-turned-GM, and Paul DePodesta, an Ivy League wonk, who transformed the Oakland Athletics. Turns out that adapting Moneyball for the cineplex was fairly straightforward after all: Like every other sports movie ever, it's the story of The Little Team That Could. Lewis' account is simply inspiration; director Bennett Miller and writers Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian boil down complex formulas to a single, simple thesis: Sign ballplayers who get on base more than anyone else. Then they hand over the movie to Brad Pitt as Beane, a former first-round draft pick exorcising his dashed-dream demons one trade, thrown chair, and turned-over watercooler at a time. Play ball. (R) ROBERT WILONSKY

Thursdays. Starts: July 12. Continues through Aug. 30, 2012

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