Any Given Sunday
Reviewed by: Andrew Hager
2 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
Oliver Stone has always been innovative in the world of cinema. “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July” were moving films that helped open up national understanding of the Vietnam Conflict while at the same time using new techniques to capture the insanity of war. “Natural Born Killers” was his most artistically astounding film, telling its story through a myriad of high-tech wizardry and social commentary. Now, he has taken his signature quick-cuts to the world of football, directing “Any Given Sunday”.
“Sunday” is a film about the pressures of aging. Coach Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) has been coaching for nearly four decades. Though he has been successful in the past, Tony is now at the helm of a losing team, the Miami Sharks. The Sharks are run by Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz), a young woman whose only goal is to turn a profit. She has inherited the team from her father, a man who admired and respected Tony and loved football. She, however, could care less about the game. All she wants is for Tony to win games so that she can make money from television. In the meantime, she angles for a new stadium from the city by threatening to move the team to Los Angeles. On the field, Tony’s trusty quarterback has been injured, and he is forced to play Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx), a third-stringer whose success goes straight to his head. Along the way, a dozen sub-plots are encountered. The film is long, allowing for an epic scope.
The film’s length is its primary problem. Some of the football scenes drag on too long, and parts of the script are cliched.
From a Christian standpoint, the film is pretty rough. Over 100 f-words, plus occurrences of brief female and male nudity. God’s name is used in vain dozens of times. The violence is low, unless you are shocked by the brutality of football, shown up close and personal.
Oliver Stone is a masterful film director, and this film is technically good; very good. The script has its poetic moments, particularly when Tony gives a speech. The acting is wonderful, especially by football great Jim Brown. Stone uses football as a metaphor for life and shows the importance of teamwork, regardless of age, color, or salary.