There have been sports films throughout the decades highlighting everything from underdog stories, life changing coaches, player dynamics, and the ability of sports figures to change patterns of society. But few go behind the business scenes.
There have been sports films throughout the decades highlighting everything from underdog stories, life changing coaches, player dynamics, and the ability of sports figures to change patterns of society. But few go behind the business scenes. American football is one of the most anticipated seasons in our country and the fictional, sports drama, Draft Day, gives a unique and interesting look at how the teams and players take shape. Think of Wall Street but with human lives instead of stock shares and you sort of get an understanding of the level of intensity the film brings.
Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) is the GM of the Cleveland Browns. It is draft day and he has the opportunity to rebuild his team. The choices and decisions are his but so much weighs in the balance. The head coach (Denis Leary) has one opinion, the owner (Frank Langella) just wants to keep the fans excited, and Sonny’s phone is ringing non-stop from agents and players hoping to gain one of those coveted first round picks; all of this compounded by a tense relationship with his girlfriend/co-worker, Ali (Jennifer Garner). The next 12 hours will literally make or break his career and set the stage for the entire season for the Browns.
This movie is a must see for those who follow the draft, keep up with their favorite players, and love the excitement of fast paced decision making. Though set in the arena of sports it is not just another sports movie. It is more about the business end of how things shake out on this one pivotal day. The behind the scenes contracts, deals, trades, and juggling of draft picks make this a fun ride. Costner is great in this role (which is rare to say lately) and does a solid job of balancing what his heart is telling him with the strategic moves that need to take place. Keeping everyone happy while at the same time doing what he knows is right is a struggle.
Leary is fun to watch as Head Coach Penn. Like most businesses he feels like he knows what his department needs and is willing to fight the corporate leaders to get it. He doesn’t think Sonny has what it takes and the two bump heads most of the film. Leary is sarcastic and braggadocios which make for an entertaining character to watch. Garner is the same as always which isn’t a bad thing. She is always likeable and easy to adore. Often we watch a game on Sunday and never consider how the players ended up wearing the jerseys of our favorite teams. The movie does a decent job of bringing in human elements to help portray that side of the story.
Draft Day is rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references. The language is the most prominent element for parents to consider. There are lots of expletives shouted in frustration. The tension in the film is needed and along with that does come the adult language. Granted the film is really geared for the older male audience. I give it 3.75 out of 5 countdowns. It has a lot of heart and is fast based from start to finish. You will not envy Sonny’s job but you will love watching him do it.
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