On “Any Given Sunday”, gladiators clash and hearts are broken. Life is a contact sport.
Any Given Sunday gives us a behind the scenes look at professional football as an aging coach (Al Pacino) tries to hold a franchise team together.
As he embarks on that quest he must deal with a hotshot rebellious third string quarterback (Jaime Foxx), an ailing veteran quarterback who is practically he adopted son (Dennis Quaid), a vicious young owner of the franchise (Cameron Diaz), and his own personal demons.
As I tried to watch this film I found I couldn’t see the players on the field half the time. As the metallic grunge blasted in Dolby surround sound I found a second to ask the question are we watching a two plus hour rock video of staged football follies.
What shined through during the time that my head wasn’t pounding was the dramatic scene clashing between Diaz and Pacino. Diaz does show signs of breaking the pretty girl mold.
Oliver Stone’s cast in this film is breathtaking and should have been used as just that. Wasted here are such actors as Ann Margaret, James Woods, Matthew Modine, and Lauren Holly.
Oliver Stone’s main focus is on the coach who seems to be on the verge of a major collapse as he one more time tries to fight the war.
This film is frazzled and drives the audience to wear earmuffs and goggles to see the actual hi-lights. There are some shiny moments and if the football wars were trimmed and muted then we could have had a great football movie. But for now I think I will stick with other football movies I enjoy like “The Program” and “Varsity Blues”.
(2 out of 5)
So Says the Soothsayer.