Moneyball (and the best crackerjacks you will find at a baseball game)
Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) challenges the system and defies conventional wisdom when his is forced to rebuild his small-market team on a limited budget. Despite opposition from the old guard, the media, fans and their own field manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beane – with the help of a young, number-crunching, Yale-educated economist (Jonah Hill) – develops a roster of misfits…and along the way, forever changes the way the game is played.
When I was very little, my grandpa took me on his knee and said, “Lauren, I will love you forever. You could make any mistake in the world and I would still love you. The only thing that I will not forgive you for is if you root for any other baseball team, but the Yankees.”
Therefore, you find me today a Yankees fan.
The problem is that I am not a big fan of actually watching the games. They take a long time. I am a fidgeter. I can hardly sit still long enough to watch a TV show, let alone a 3-hour long game. I can only manage if I have my computer, a book, or my knitting with me, so that I have something to do as well.
While I have some issues sitting still for an entire game, I am completely glued to my seat when that game takes movie form. Some of my favorite movies are sports-related. Who doesn’t love Rookie of the Year, Rocky IV, Rudy (Special Edition), or Miracle? What is your favorite sports movie?
Moneyball is another member of this class of movies. I became attached to characters, rooted for the Oakland As (sorry Grandpa), and held my breath in the final game. Not only is it based on a true story, it is also concerned with the idea of changing the game of baseball. Beane (Brad Pitt’s character) decides to play a different game than the Yankees play and use his lack of funding to his advantage. He does not focus on buying all-stars. Instead, he patches together a team of misfits and uses strategy to make each of them perform in their roles. This was cool.
One part of the movie that I would change would be the last 20 minutes. It drives me crazy when the movie is actionactionaction and then the last part of it is people talking, basically explaining what happened. We are smart people. We don’t need them to tell us what the point is, especially if they do a good job at SHOWING US! Grrrrrrrr.
Good movie? Yes. Oscar-winning movie? I don’t think so.
All right Academy Award nominees, bring it on! It is my goal to see, review, and invent a treat for every single one of you by Oscar Night.
The message I took away is that crackerjacks are greater than money. Think about it. Beane’s team resembles a box of crackerjacks. They are hard and crusty on the outside, but they have substance on the inside. And, it does contain a few nuts. Sure, you can spend a lot of money on some gourmet treat, but these are delicious, homey, easy, and cheap.
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 1 hour
For 10 cups…
10 cups of freshly-popped popcorn (or 3.5-oz bag of microwave popcorn, plain)
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup lightly salted peanuts
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Pop the popcorn. Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and then transfer the popcorn to the bowl; set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt and water, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat, and whisk in the vanilla and baking soda. Immediately pour the hot mixture over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn until all of the popcorn is coated. Gently stir in the peanuts, and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out.
5. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Gently break up the popcorn. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
(Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
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