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Moneyball Redux

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 3, 2009 at 1:30AM

Speaking of embattled auteurs, David Poland asks more questions about Sony pulling the plug on Moneyball and what it means. So does Jeffrey Wells. I've also heard that Soderbergh wanted to make a responsibly budgeted commercial movie with MLB approval, and that Sony was backing James Brooks' baseball movie over his.
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Soderberghscot190

Speaking of embattled auteurs, David Poland asks more questions about Sony pulling the plug on Moneyball and what it means. So does Jeffrey Wells. I've also heard that Soderbergh wanted to make a responsibly budgeted commercial movie with MLB approval, and that Sony was backing James Brooks' baseball movie over his.

Point is, Soderbergh is being penalized for not always making commercial movies, for being an indie at heart. Execs feel that they can't count on him. They fear that he might go off the reservation. You get so many times at bat with big-budget movies and when you fan too much, the financiers lose confidence. For Soderbergh's sake, I hope The Informant! is a hit.

Prolific to a fault, Soderbergh inspires in me equal admiration for sticking to his guns and having cojones, and anger that he squanders opportunities for all filmmakers trying to make smart movies for adults when he indulges himself and ignores the audience. That's fine when you're making little movies, not so good at the studio level. Solaris, The Good German and the foreign-financed $60 million Che are wiping out the wriggle room earned by Traffic, Erin Brockovich and the Ocean series.

Finally, Michael Mann, who has never been willing to go indie, is far guiltier than Soderbergh of recklessly spending studio money.

This article is related to: In Production, Directors, Steven Soderbergh


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.