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Any Given Sunday (1999)
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Review Date: December 21, 1999
Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Oliver Stone, John Logan
Producers: O. Stone, D. Halsted, L. Donner, C. Townsend
Actors:
Al Pacino
Cameron Diaz
Jamie Foxx
Plot:
An old-school football coach is faced with the possibility of ending the season without his number one veteran quarterback. Luckily for him, a younger, cockier QB is ready to take his spot in the limelight, but as per his ego, the strappin' lad cares little about the sport, his teammates or anyone else for that matter. And as the playoffs approach and the team's headstrong owner looms overhead, the coach must figure out how his team is going to overcome the odds to win the big game, win each others respect and ultimately win as men.
Critique:
Football fans rejoice, this film is tailor-made for you. Everyone else, uhhmm....well, close your ears and get ready for an overlong, over-stylized humpty-dumpty ride of loud banging music, loud crashing football players and a loud, but surprisingly predictable, script. Stars galore, many wasted, this film offers more names than any recent Woody Allen flick. Check Pacino, as the old school coach, tough, rugged, chips on his shoulder but still ballsy enough to get shit done. Good job. Check Diaz, going against type as a strong-willed woman fighting to make her voice heard in a sport run wildly by men with giant egos and wallets. Solid effort. You can even check Jamie Foxx, last minute replacement for Puff Daddy, as the cocky, new kid on the block, looking fine, feeling fine and acting, well, pretty damn fine. The rest, uuuhhm, James Woods, pretty one-dimensional, Lauren Holly, even more one-dimensional, Elizabeth Berkley, looking the mess, LL Cool J, underused, and Matthew Modine, wow, what an insignificant career move, my friend.

The story, you ask? Well, the story is so-so interesting with much of it predictable to anyone who has seen any other Hollywood sports movie done in the past 50 years or so. Does Stone bring an extra stick of hot-peppered pinnace to the proceedings? Sure, but unfortunately it materializes itself mostly in many ridiculously overdone "symbolic" camera shots inter-spliced between characters speaking to one another (Can anyone please explain the whole Ben-Hur thing to me? Deeeeeep?), and some really cool scenes featuring bang-up football at its best, but very little "insight" into the game itself. I mean, by now anyone with a remote control knows that YES, some sports doctors do allow their players to go on playing injured, YES, most modern sports athletes think a lot more about the money than they do the game itself, and YES, owners are generally cold-hearted pricks with very little more on their mind than the bottom line. Nothing new here, folks. Unless of course these accepted stereotypes were new to you, than oops, I guess you might find something a little fresh in this story.

So why do I still rate this film as a "good movie"? It's simple really. It's one great big kickass rock n' roll rappin' ride through the wonderful world of professional football, including its rough and tumble menageries on the green, its extra-curricular partying with the booze and the drugs and the whores, and its ultimate high of winning the big game, teammates strapped by your side. Basically, it's your ultimate testosterone rush, and unless you spend your Sunday afternoons meditating over the "golf" channels, or you get bored seeing football scene after football scene being followed by a party scene and a "time to move the plot forward dialogue scene", this film should blow your eardrums and eye-sockets right out of your ass! Wham-bam, thank you man! (Bring your own condoms)
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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