Dear Brad Pitt,
Hey man, congratulations on all the positive reviews of your performance in Moneyball! We all worked so hard on the film and you did a fantastic job. When you put your heart into something, it makes all the little people’s lives a hell of a lot easier, so thanks man. You were great to work with. A real guy’s guy. A true gentleman. Providing your props was our pleasure.
That being said: you owe us several thousand dollars.
Now usually the props department would never ask for compensation from an A-Lister such as yourself, but we feel that the amount and manner in which you used our work was, to put it delicately, excessive. During the course of the movie, you not only react to every bit of news you’re given by destroying something in close proximity, but you also never stop eating peanuts, popcorn and chewing tobacco. I don’t think you delivered one line without something in your mouth, and that’s saying something for a PG-13 film. And trust me, we didn’t start out doing props for major studios, if you know what I’m saying.
Anyway, for a movie about math, they sure didn’t spend any time teaching you that those baseball bats, desks and peanuts cost money.
The breakdown of what you ruined -- of the stuff that just made it into the final edit of the film -- is thus:
7 snapped baseball bats x $250 = $1,750
$300 (mahogany desk) = $2,050
+ $21.50 (orange water cooler) = $2,071.50
2,500 plastic water cups ($63.50) = $2,135
one (but really several) Micropattern Brooks Brother suits (Three-button wool suit ($623) by BR Monogram; cotton shirt ($80) by Brooks Brothers; silk tie ($98) by Theory; linen pocket square ($39) by J. Press; tie clip ($43) by Paul Stuart) = $3,018
50 lbs of peanuts ($56), 50 lbs. Gold Medal Top N’ Pop popcorn ($25), King Buffalo Chewing Tobacco ($57) = $3,156
Now, think about all the different takes you did, and multiply this number by at least fifteen. That’s how much we’re asking for in reimbursement. About $47,000.
On top of all this by-hand destruction, you ate the peanuts, popcorn and tobacco like a toddler who hadn’t yet developed the proper hand-eye coordination to meet food to mouth. Peanut shells and popcorn kernels were in every crevice of the North Face baseball jackets and monumentally expensive suits you wore during filming. Not to mention the tobacco juice stains. You spit everywhere. The wardrobe department may never recover -- and they’re not amateurs, dude. Some of those ladies did the costumes for The Dark Knight.
Seriously, why did you have to spit everywhere? Those plastic cups you hocked lugies into cost money, bro-bro. I mean, we all get it. It’s the character. You’re a baseball team manager. The only way that could have been clearer is if you’d literally just popped open the box of Cracker Jack’s every time you sat down for a meeting (which by the way, would have cost us another $200).
I don’t know if all this prop destruction was written into Aaron Sorkin’s script (with lines like [Billy Beane hears Art Howe isn’t going to put wildcard Scott Hatteberg in for Carlos Pena at first base and in a muted rage, he overturns his desk, destroying the prop department’s six weeks of work getting all the details right]) or if we’ve got Bennet Miller’s haphazard directing to blame. Either way, the tally of props you destroyed during filming was too high for a movie that wasn’t about destruction like 2012 or Cloverfield or Independence Day.
Look, we appreciate that this is part of our job, but we just thought, you know, you’re a skilled actor. Can’t you just use your facial expressions or words to show Billy Beane’s frustration with the Oakland A’s? Did every single scene need to be punctuated with the splintering of a baseball bat or desk or water coolor or some other carefully constructed prop? It’s not subtle writing or acting, to be frank with you.
So this letter is to request $47,000 be provided from you, Brad Pitt, to be divided among us guys in the props department.
After all, this movie wasn’t called Waste-Our-Money-ball, am I right? Just cut us a check, dude.
See ya at the Oscars!
The Moneyball Props Department