Any Given Sunday
Runtime: 2 hr 40 min
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, James Woods, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Elizabeth Berkley, Charlton Heston
The owner doesn't care anything about the game.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
Absolutely infuriating. In ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, Oliver Stone assembles a large, stellar cast and then undermines their performances with his directorial grandstanding. The camera is brought in so tight that we usually have little clue as to what is happening. Stone uses hyper-fast pans and microsecond editing to dazzle us with his artistic skills, all to the detriment of his own story. On the field and off, the movie is an uninviting mess.
Telling a tale of exploited millionaire football players, the movie doesn't have many subtle moments. In a typically didactic scene, the high octane, but perhaps over-the-hill, coach, played with an endearing gusto by Al Pacino, is serving dinner to his black, starting quarterback, Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx). The coach just happens to have the gladiator chariot racing episode from BEN HUR playing on his large screen television.
Willie complains that 75% of professional football players are black, but none of the owners are. "In the pros the field hands are paid," Willie says to liken his labors with those of farm workers. In order to reinforce this notion of exploited (millionaire) athletes, Stone keeps cutting back to BEN HUR's galley slaves rowing the boat as they are whipped into submission.
The extremely simple story has two other subplots. One involves a ruthless team doctor, played in his usual flamboyant and volatile style by James Woods, who is willing to send men to their deaths if it gets him a bonus, and another, Matthew Modine, who is purer of heart and won't play along.
In a miscast role, a glamorous Cameron Diaz plays the team's owner, who likes to scream at the coach and try to order him around. The owner doesn't care anything about the game. For her its all about power and money. In the movie's most unbelievable sequence, she goes into the dressing room to talk to her naked football players, who just let their private parts hang down in front of her with no attempt at modesty.
The unoriginal and predictable script by John Logan and Oliver Stone, based on Rob Huizenga's novel, concerns a team that used to be great and that now is trying to fight their way into the playoffs. After hundreds of blocks and tackles, choreographed to loud explosions, the movie finally comes to the ending at -- surprise! -- the big game. Think it will go down to the final seconds before the victor is decided? Think they'll win?
The movie contains a single small twist, but you have to wait for the closing credits to see it, so if you haven't walked out from disgust or boredom before then, do stay through the credits.
The big surprise is why this skeletal story takes almost 2 and 3/4 hours to tell. If ever a film should have been brought in at an hour and a half, it is this one.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY runs 2:40. It is rated R for drug usage, nudity, sex, football violence and language and would be acceptable for older teenagers.