Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz
Director - Oliver Stone
Writers - Oliver Stone and Daniel Pyne
Running length - 2 hr. 37 min.
Any Given Sunday
is a vicious and accurate commentary
on the state of professional football
in the United States, as well as professional sports in general. The story centers around a mythical football franchise, the Miami Sharks, and their veteran (and somewhat deityesque
) head coach - Played by Pacino
. In writing the film, Stone
tried to mix his Natural Born Killers
style of cinematographic imagery with the social consciousness of Platoon
or even Scarface
(also with Pacino
, which he wrote).
The problem with the film arises when Stone tries to round up all of the good points he made in the film about what is so wrong with the egoist image of professional American athletes and turn the message into one that is akin to "Teamwork is Important", an obvious departure for the gifted social misfit and conspiracy theorist that we had all grown to love (or hate, depending on who you ask).
Diaz is absolutely detestable (and quite good) as the team owner. Jamie Foxx plays a cocky prick (in a real departure for him - Booty Call, anyone?). James Woods is brilliant (as always) as the egoist team physician. Even Lawrence Taylor showed that he's good for something other than smoking crack by playing (you guessed it!) a defensive tackle. Running back great Jim Brown seems to stand in the background for the entire flick, but somehow manages only about three lines. LL Cool J plays an muscle-bound rich dude with an attitude problem. There was undoubtedly much preparation in his trailer for the role.
The film's shining star is, of course, Pacino. Seriously - this guy could act in dinner theater and folks would love it. Without him, the movie is nothing. Pacino was so convincing as the head coach of the team I almost think NFL team owners and directors (i.e. Bill Parcels) should sign him to a contract - if for nothing else than to put butts in the seats. Pacino proves again and again that no matter how mediocre a movie may be, he will turn it into gold - or at the very least silver.
This isn't to say that the film is terribly mediocre. Stone just goes too far, and tries to rip on too many things (including the beloved Jim Rome with a very undeserved parody named Jack Rose). If Stone had spent more time on the script (and a few minutes teaching Foxx how to act) and less time tripping on psychotropic drugs while putting shots together, Any Given Sunday could have been something more than just a "decent" movie:
It could have been a contender.
Authors Note: Deityesque is not an actual word. It's a forestism, thankyouverymuch.