LowComDom Performances Presents
Film Review - Any Given Sunday
You think you're going to the theatre to see a movie about football. You get a little more than you bargained for.
Any Given Sunday is a football soap opera. It details the emotional roller coaster of professional sports from the unique perspectives of each character.
Al Pacino plays Tony D'Amato, the coach who has decades in the game. He worries about holding the team together. He is pulled in opposite directions from his desire to win, to the wants of a fairly new owner (Cameron Diaz).
Diaz's Christina Pagniacci inherited the team from her father. She is eager to make her own mark on the game. To do this, she and D'Amato are almost constantly butting heads. Throughout all of their arguments, the spectre of Pagniacci's dead father looms. One gets the impression that Pagniacci is afraid that she can not live up to his name. An interesting twist on the traditional father-son rivalry.
D'Amato is saddled with Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx), a third string quarterback, after he looses his first and seconds strings in two consecutive plays. Beamen is completely un-tested. He throws up on the field. This later becomes his trademark. If he pukes in the game, the other team is in for a whooping. Fame goes straight to Beamen's head, and almost all by himself he tears the team apart.
What works about this picture is that there really aren't any bad guys. We can identify with the emotions of all of the characters. We understand why they are these people. It's easy for a sports movie to become monotonous in shots on the field that look just like every other shot. It's the story and characters that keep Any Given Sunday from falling into this trap.
Oliver Stone has also made the picture very easy to look at with a combination of TV-style coverage of the games, as well as some very creative montage shots of characters which accurately depict their emotions. This is film making that has been properly planned, shot, and edited.
I often criticize Stone for the long lengths of his pictures. I'm not going on this one. It's as long as it needs to be. The quick pace of the film helps it through the length without us sitting back and asking, "When is this over?"
If you're into football, you like nicely shot film, or want to see characters fully portrayed on the screen. These are the reasons to see Any Given Sunday.
Directed by Oliver Stone
Released in 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo