Any Given Sunday

Al Pacino .... Tony D'Amato
Dennis Quaid .... Jack "Cap" Rooney #19
James Woods .... Dr. Harvey Mandrake
Ann-Margret .... Margaret Pagniacci
Bill Bellamy .... Jimmy Sanderson #88
Elizabeth Berkley .... Mandy
Jim Brown .... Montezuma Monroe
Cameron Diaz .... Christina Pagniacci
Aaron Eckhart .... Nick Crozier
Jamie Foxx .... Willie Beaman #13
Charlton Heston .... Commissioner
Lauren Holly .... Cindy Rooney
LL Cool J .... Julian Washington #33
Matthew Modine .... Dr. Allie Powers
Lela Rochon .... Vanessa Struthers
Lawrence Taylor .... Luther 'Shark' Lavay #58
Directed by .... Oliver Stone

        On any given day of the year, someone might see a movie. This person will look and hope for something entertaining, smart, and original. When you add in that the film is a sports flick, you must add in parts that appease the lovers of that sport and you must be true to that sport, keep it real. In all these responsibilites for a good sports film, Any Given Sunday goes above and beyond its duty.   

        The story is not very original. It's a common clash of the new guy versus the established guy. The new guy being quarterback Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx) as the established guy being the coach (Al Pacino). Beaman also offends the rest of the team by changing the established ways, the classic clash of the titans. Pacino's ageing star quarterback (Dennis Quaid) goes down and Beaman is put to the test and passes with flying colors, except that he vomits during each game he plays. It gets the nerves out of his system. Beaman and his coach must find a compromise, the American way, or one or both of them would be gone by next season. Jamie Foxx wants to create so he doesn't have to sit on the bench any longer. The coach just wants to keep his team together. Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz), owner of the Sharks, just wants results at any cost. 

        Most football movies I've seen seemed to have been played too much off the field or just pathetically on the field (remember Necessary Roughness with Sinbad and Scott Bakula, well I do it is one of my guilty pleasures). If a movie is about football let's get down on the field. How about another so called "football" movie Rudy? He spent the whole movie pathetically watching the games and just playing in practice. The movie is corny and it works in it's own way. But as a sports movie it doesn't cut it. A sports movie is Hoosiers and . Not movies like The Scout and Little Big League where they just give you enough of the sports so they can further the rest of the story. In Little Big League's case it was a very poorly told story. Any Given Sunday showed as much football as possible. The games seemed real. They were very intense. 

        The only thing that was somewhat fake and kind of gay were the names of the teams. I mean the Sharks, the Americans, the Crusaders, the Knights, these names were just outright blasphemous. I felt like I was watching Canadian football when those names came on screen. But the style of play was not Canadian, it was definitely the hardcore American stuff. In your face football that we do the best. Oliver Stone does an amazing job with the scenes showing the high octane sport of football. The football scenes were definitely the best part of the film even though at times I felt like I was watching The Blair Witch Project with the camera twisting and turning at a high velocity but it worked. 

        The movie works on a few levels. It appeases the males with the high action football scenes. It appeases the people who want a story by supplying us with many sub plots such as the loneliness of Coach D'Amato and the fall of a team from glory, and the start of a new legacy. I'm not saying this movie is only for people who like football but it would sure help. I don't think most females would be interested in this movie unless they like watching women force men to do things. Diaz forces her ideas on the old style coach and Holly screams at her high profile aging quarterback husband (Dennis Quaid) for wanting to retire. All the women in this movie are basically mean, stupid bitches. 

        I enjoyed the performances. Jamie Foxx puts in a sort of serious role with Beaman. It's a good change of pace from his TV series and movies like Booty Call. LL Cool J also did a good job as the veteran running back who is also the representative of the anger of the team towards Beaman's changes. The most surprising performance in the movies was by Lawrence Taylor. I'm not going to go as far as to say he is an actor but he portrayed an aged defensive player. His shark character was very important and convincing. I've seen much worst acting out of athletes. I didn't like Cameron Diaz in the film but I guess you're not supposed to like her. It reminded me of her in the terrible Very Bad Things. She was a stonehearted football team owner only in it for the money. She was the pharaoh of the league but everyone gets there in the end and so does she. 

        The film is based on a book by Rob Huizenga called “You're Okay, It's Just A Bruise: A Doctor's Sideline Secrets About Pro Football's Most Outrageous Team”, nice title. The book is about, obviously by looking at the title, the practices and ethics of doctors of professional sports team. This story is portrayed by an underlying subplot, which constantly popped up. This subplot involved James Woods as the head doctor who did what it took to make the team win and to fatten his wallet and his struggle with his pesky understudy played by Matthew Modine. This subplot seemed to be shortened a little due to time constraints. The film was already pretty long and this was the part that got cut too make the movie keep a reasonable, but a bit too long, running time

        The movie shows that everyone receives a reality check at one point in his or her life. Either they will rise or they will falter and bring down others in the process. The team mentality versus the individual and also dealt with is the question of what does the world need aged football players for. What happens when the fame disappears? When should you call it quits? It's a very intense and meaningful movie that keeps on hitting you.


Rating: 3.25 out of 4/ B-/ 79 out of 100
Reviewed by: Joe Soria
Running Time: 2 hours and 42 minutes

Rated R for strong language, sexuality and some nudity.



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