Undervalued

I just finished watching Moneyball. Great movie! I always undervalued it though. When it came out, I gave it a hard pass. I avoided it even.

It’s about Baseball and I hate sports movies. This one was different because it told the story of undervalued players. 

Spoilers if you plan to watch the movie.

The protagonist is played by Brad Pitt. His character was once an overvalued baseball player. He was caught up with all of the hype and joined the major leagues fresh out of high school. He didn’t perform. The movie starts years later when he is working a job as a scout for the Oakland A’s. They don’t have much of a budget. 

Long story short, he teams up with an average Joe who doesn’t look the part but has a degree in economics. They start ignoring the way players look. They go for the stats. They build a misfit team on a shoe-string budget that ends up winning 20 games in a row.

I have to add this. The actor playing the average Joe is over-weight. Were did they find him? This actor is mostly known as the fat guy in comedy movies. He’s currently lost the wight and looks good today. But the point is, the producers of the movie purposely chose him to prove a point. Baseball teams were looking for good-looking jocks and paying them millions. Anyone who didn’t meet their qualifications were overlooked.

The world undervalues people all of the time. Gatekeepers pride themselves at judging excellence and create self-fulfilled prophecies.

Let me ask you a question. Out of all of the movies you’ve seen, how many had good-looking actors in them? Even the movies that cast a quirky character for a part use a good-looking actor to play it. Everyone must pretend that she or he isn’t good-looking at all. It’s in the script and they are payed to act it out. Where are the average Joe actors?

Question #2: How many bad movies have you seen with good-looking actors in it? These are called B movies. You go into one expecting the acting to be poor and the effects to be cheap. They’re almost made to be made fun of.

Question #3: How many movies have you seen with okay-looking actors who are very good at acting? Not just as side characters but in the leading role.

Why don’t we see many movies like this?

Most movies fall into the categories of good-looking and well acted or good-looking and poorly acted. The movies expected to perform well are called A movies. They hire A-list actors. B movies hire pretty-actors who don’t act as well. They are just cheaper to hire. So, to make it in Hollywood, well there’s a lot of chance going on, but you at least have to look good.

But what do we mean with “look good”? Beauty is defined by the gatekeepers. It has to have that polished, model look to it. Anything less than that is undervalued.

How many people out there act very well, but their seen as, “too old for the part,” or, “Wong type of cheakbones,” or, “He could stand to lose a few pounds.” Now, action movies need fit actors, but anything else, well, romances, dramas, and comedies… It’s all about pacing and timing. Deliver the dialogue of a well-written script and you’ve got a well-acted movie. Who cares if he’s a little pudgy. Wait I forgot, pudgy actors are accepted in comedies. Just be sure they perform some slapstick. The audience loves to watch a fat guy falling down the stairs.

A-list movies have a lot of big money surrounding it. Pay this actor millions to get people into those seats! This means, large budgets of 200 Million with half of it for the actors and the marketing and the other half for the effects. It better at least break even.

B-movies have a smaller budget with most of it spent on the one A-lister they hire who might help it out. But, you’re making it on the cheap. The purpose is to make money back on a shoe-string budget, and well, the actors at least need to look good.

I imagine that many fine actors are undercut and undervalued because the people making the decisions are biased.

If you have ever felt this in your life, I want to encourage you. God does not undervalue us. We are fallen sinners in need of a savior. If you are humble enough to admit that, and you consistently produce good and godly fruit by obeying the Lord, then you are seen by the Creator of all things as a good and faithful servant. 

Matthew 25

21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Continue to follow Him as a disciple and do what He commands, He might just even call you friend.

John 15

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Fame and fortune are worthless without love and friendship. Those are the types of movies Christians should be making.

Forget the handsome A and B-listers. Search for the rejected average Joes and Juliets who act well. Write well-written scripts with good theology. Find good actors to play them (no listers please, let’s keep the costs reasonable). Make good movies. Change the world. 

God willing, such a thing can be done!

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