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Any Given Sunday (2000)

 

Starring: Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, et al.
Director: Oliver Stone

Rating: R

Studio: Warner Bros.

Review Posted: 12.28.02

Spoilers: Minor

 

By Christopher T. Bryan.

 

The Movie

 

Any Given Sunday stylishly turns the game of football into an MTV music video. I started this movie with some reservations, after all, football and sports movies in general are a dime a dozen. They all follow the same formula of movies like Rocky and The Karate Kid without rising to their greatness. Any Given Sunday adds a few ingredients to spice things up, and serves a dish that left me asking for seconds.

 

At the core of the movie is the coach Tony D'Amato (Pacino), quarterback Jack Rooney (Dennis Quaid), 3rd string quarterback Willie Beamen (Foxx), team owner Christina Pagniacci (Diaz), and Dr. Harvey Mandrake (James Woods). D'Amato is dealing with a failed married life and a failing career when Pagniacci inherits ownership of the Miami Sharks from her father. During a four game losing streak D'Amato loses both his first and second string quarterback. He is left then with Willie Beamen who until this point might as well have been the towel boy. In spite of throwing up on the field and defying his coaches, Beamen plays an extraordinary game. Jack Rooney must now wrestle with the fact that he is yesterday’s news and Wheaties boxes are no longer in his future. Meanwhile, Dr. Mandrake has an intern who refuses to stand silently by as the good doctor gives false evaluations of teammates.

 

I was surprised that only about half of the movie’s two and a half hour running time was spent on the field.  Questions are raised about race, gender, and ethics.  Oliver Stone, co-writer, director, and executive producer of Any Given Sunday, intelligently weaves a web that deals with the intricacies of life. Packaging it in a football movie with a soundtrack including Missy Misdemeanor Elliot, Kid Rock and LL Cool J brings his strong message to the masses.

 

The cast is tried and true. Stone gets the usual great performances from Pacino, Quaid, Diaz and Woods. The surprise was Jamie Foxx who winningly portrays a complicated character. It is through Stone’s bravery however, of taking the focus of the movie off the field that we get a truly great movie about football. Football fans may be surprised to see what is happening in the locker rooms. The seemingly untouchable players are constantly inflicted with emotional and physical pain from the sport. These players face fame and fortune and all of the problems they bring with them. We inadvertently become more involved in the football sequences because we actually care about what happens to the characters.

 

Any Given Sunday is a football movie with enough story to make it enjoyable for the people who aren’t fans of the sport. If you want to see a great football game turn on the television and let your mind rest, but if you want a good story sprinkled with some football, pop Any Given Sunday in.

 

The Video

 

Visually clear. Choppy scenes and cuts make for a music video feel, but it is overall very engaging.

 

The Audio

 

The DVD offers only Dolby Digital and English and French subtitles.

 

The Extras

 

- Full Contact: The Making of Any Given Sunday

This documentary gives behind the scenes looks at what went into the making of the movie.  If you liked the movie you’ll want to see this. It offers commentary from the cast and from Oliver Stone.

 

- LL Cool J's Shut ‘Em Down Music Video

You’ll enjoy this if you like the song and like LL Cool J.

 

The DVD is enhanced for those who have DVD-ROM PC

Includes web events, chat room access, web site links, movie review scoreboard, original theatrical web site and sampler trailers.

 

Overall

 

I thought this was a great movie that I would recommend renting. Buy it if you have a DVD-ROM computer and really want to get into the movie.

 

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