Movie Review

Any Given Sunday

MPAA Rating: R for strong language and some nudity/sexuality

Reviewed by: Andrew Hager
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adult
Genre:
Drama
Length:
2 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
1999
USA Release:
_____
LL Cool J in Any Given Sunday
Featuring: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, James Woods
Director: Oliver Stone
Producer: Clayton Townsend, Lauren Shuler Donner, Dan Halsted
Distributor: Warner Brothers

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.


Viewer Comments
…my husband is an avid football watcher, player and all around lover. He walked out with me. He said if he was a Pro-football player he would have been offended that they are made out to be like this…
—MD Abram
“generic”… The movie was satisfying enough for avid football fans, but yet it had a generic quality to it. It was like watching footballx10, much rougher than the actual game is or appears to be. It could be offensive to the easily offended. My Ratings: [3/2]
—Jack, age 19
“shocking!”… Watch out for this movie. I went because I was feeling sentimental over our city’s recent loss of a well-liked football player. Instead of finding a movie that made me feel great about this sport, I was shocked—SHOCKED—at the full-frontal male nudity and graphic sex scenes. (If this is “R”, I can’t imagine what NC-17 is.) The whipping camera angles and loud music literally made me feel nauseated and by the time I left the theatre, I had a pounding migraine. Christianity was bashed several times (“My mother won’t come see me play; she says Sundays are for church…”) and the language was unrelentingly crass. I can’t think of a single redeeming quality. My Ratings: [1/1]
—Cheryl Gochnauer, age 41
The hits were hard to watch, but powerful. I think I even felt my back start to hurt. Make sure you stay until the very end. And good man gets the last word. In the end greed is beat-out, by a good man.
—VSB, age 38
featured Christian music… Although I haven’t seen the movie, and from what I’ve heard it’s a pretty offensive and vulgar film, I did find it encouraging and pretty interesting that P.O.D (a Christian hard-core band) did not only have three songs in the film itself, but is also featured on the movie sound track.
—Chris, age 15
“offensively crude and vulgar”… I think the reviewer must have seen a different movie than I did! I couldn’t disagree with his review more! As a Christian, I felt extremely uncomfortable while watching this movie. This movie went out of its way to be offensively crude and vulgar. The language went way over the top for even an R-rated movie. The nudity was completely uncalled for. There were no redeeming characters. Every time a character spoke it was a big speech… I expected to see the words “Oscar Clip” flashing at the bottom of the screen. The camera work was enough to literally give me a headache! The camera was shaken and spun more than my washing machine on the spin cycle. My eyes literally hurt afterwards. You couldn’t see what was going on in almost all of the big plays during the football games, and the camera didn’t stay still for longer than a few seconds during the regular scenes either! It’s given in this movie that being an alcoholic, visiting a prostitute, and deserting your family for your career are all noble and wonderful things to do. The main character, the coach, did all of these things and was held up to be a great guy. None of the characters in this film were realistically written. All were over the top characterizations without any depth or humanity. I did walk out of this movie after 2½ of its 3 hours. I regret not walking out after the first ½ hour. We were with a group and my husband stayed on to the end of the film and has regretted it ever since. If you are a football fan, watch it on TV on Sunday afternoon and save your money. My Ratings: [1/1]
—Tonia, age 30
“not recommended”… I totally agree with Tonia about this movie. It was offensive—I felt uncomfortable the entire time. I left many times because I was uncomfortable. My children were next door watching “Toy Story 2.” I could not believe that a professing born-again believer was in this movie, Clifton Davis. And that Claire Danes stood in his face and took the Lord’s name in vain. I would not recommend this movie to anyone. And we only paid a dollar for it at the dollar theatre and I wanted that back. It was a ridiculous movie… My Ratings: [1/1]
—Vanessa, age 29
“not for the family / difficult to watch”… Oliver Stone has produced a very dramatic movie with excellent cinematography and choreography, but this is not a film for the family! Stone shows us his perception of football in the near future. The film has an accomplished cast and the acting is good and sometimes even excellent. However, the nudity, profanity and strong subject matter make this a movie that can be difficult to watch at times. I had hoped that my 10 year old son could see it, but there is no chance of that. I felt the movie portrayed the intensity of the game and the players who live it, in a realistic manner, but I would like to think that the situations portrayed off the field were sensationalized for the purpose of increasing box office ticket sales. My Ratings: [2/4½]
—Ron, age 35
won’t miss anything by skipping this one… I had told myself that I was going to quit watching R-rated movies and this show convinced me to stick with that conviction. I didn’t like any part of this show. The language was so offensive, as were the nudity scenes. The music was grating, although I did notice that they played part of a Christian song. I didn’t like the camera angles on the game shots, too close. It gave me an insight into pro football that I’m sure goes on, but that I didn’t need to see. It makes me pray for the Christian players and coaches and the struggles they must have to live their faith in such a sometimes vile atmosphere. In my opinion, Christians won’t miss anything by skipping this movie. My Ratings: [1/2]
—Judy, age 24
“entertaining to football fans”… Despite containing some scenes offensive to most Christians, the film “Any Given Sunday” was very entertaining to football fans. Guys, this is not a movie to take your wife or a date to. It is very hard to understand unless you have played football on at least the prep level. It made you think about whether or not there is something behind football or if is a matter of going out there and playing. The film brought up questions like should we fight to keep football “old-school” or accept the change. …the film shows more of the life-style of a professional football player [than] you need to see. The main characters find that what they really want is to go back to the family life they once knew. The movie is not by any means as motivational as “Rudy” or “Rocky”, but should be enjoyed by most football players. Again, I do not suggest this movie for everyone, because you have to have played football to really get the whole picture. My Ratings: [2/4]
—Wyatt, age 15