Draft Day (2014)
Aside from the Super Bowl, Draft Day is one of the biggest days of the NFL season. This draft day, Cleveland Browns GM Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) has the opportunity to make a splash when he trades for the number one pick. The owner and fans are thrilled but Sonny isn’t so sure he wants the player that is suppose to go at number one. He spends a grueling few hours debating on what he wants to do in order to build a team that he wants and one that can be the future of the franchise. Starring Jennifer Garner, Patrick St. Esprit, Chi McBride, Chadwick Boseman, Terry Crews, Arian Foster, Frank Langella, Denis leary, Timothy Simons, David Ramsey, Griffin Newman, Josh Pence, Sean Combs, Chris Berman, Mel Kiper, Jon Gruden, Deion Sanders, Mike Mayock, Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Goldhammer, Ellen Burstyn, Alex Mack, Tom Welling.
Draft Day won’t be a universal success because of its niche appeal but its slow burn plot and jargon packed dialogue is sure to please the millions of football loving fans who are bound to see this film. Like its predecessor Moneyball which covered baseball, Draft Day is one of the rare films that focuses on the behind the scenes of the most popular sport in America. It’s appeal comes from how it pulls back the curtain to give fans an insider Hollywood look at what goes into their favorite pastime. It carries the “insider” feel well and will hold any football fan’s attention for that sheer reason alone.
Costner who has always been comfortable in the Hollywood sports scene fits in well as the GM of the Browns. It certainly won’t crack the top ten for his best films but it will fall comfortably in the middle somewhere. The rest of the cast delivers nicely although I wouldn’t venture to say any of the performances are stellar. The real treat is seeing people like Berman, Kiper and Gruden. Plus there is the added bonus of Arian Foster playing the coveted running back Jennings. Okay for those not sports fans those are all real sports people who hold sway with the more than casual football fan.
Draft Day is a fine film. Not high praise I know but considering how the early previews looked it could have been far worse. The problem is that the film is like a long fuse on a bomb. You light it, plug your ears ready for it to explode but then when it doesn’t right away you have to double-check that you actually lit the fuse. All the excitement of the film is packed into the last 20 minutes or so. Now this makes sense from the standpoint that the actual draft is where the majority of the drama is but it doesn’t make for a thriller first half to a film. Ultimately Draft Day is for the sports fans. Anyone who isn’t a fan of football or doesn’t know anything about it should steer clear. Although ladies if you go with your significant other I will say you won’t be entirely bored because there is an okay emotional side story to keep you interested. And hey Brown’s fans perhaps Draft Day will inspire your GM for the upcoming draft this year. Who knows!
6/10 Stars – Informative and interesting but not as riveting and compelling as say running my fantasy football team!
I didn’t realize until the credits rolled that Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Animal House, No Strings Attached) directed Draft Day. Had I known that, I may have gone in with more expectations than I did, but that is ok because I liked Draft Day nonetheless. Now don’t get me wrong, Draft Day isn’t Earth shattering or anything special, but for a football fan like myself, seeing what could “possibly” go on behind the scenes is fun. I think the movie is dumbed down enough for casual fans to understand, but I will say that non-sports fans will not understand most of the terminology or reasoning behind most of the decisions. What I mean by this is no one outside of sports will know the magnitude of draft picks or where a player “should” be drafted. For a movie about the interactions of players/coaches/general managers before an NFL draft (and might I add, actual NFL personnel make appearances), this is a pretty engaging and entertaining movie. My only beef is that you don’t get to see how all the decisions play out… maybe a sequel will come – “Game Day.”
7/10 Stars – Nothing captivating by any means, but as an NFL fan, I was entertained!
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