Projections - Movie Reviews

Any Given Sunday

Oliver Stone's razzle dazzle direction confuses things in a run of the mill football film.

Al Pacino plays Tony Damato, a 30 year veteran coach of the Miami Sharks.  His four straight losses get an added blow when his two star quarterbacks are hurt in the same game.

Tony has to resort to calling in Willy Beamen (Jamie Foxx) a third stringer, who's so nervous on the field, he throws up before the first play.

There's a whole lot of characters to keep track of, and Stone's use of pieced together scenes might be interesting for a while, but makes it more difficult to follow without a scorecard.

Cameron Diaz plays the obnoxious team owner who inherits it when her father dies, Ann Margret plays her alcoholic mother, Dennis Quaid is the laid up quarterback, ex-footballer Jim Brown is an assistant coach and L. L. Cool J is a player.  Stone casts himself as a sports announcer and even Charlton Heston makes an appearance.

The football scenes are in-your-face, close-up pictures of flying body parts.  Male anatomy is dissected so an arm, leg or bloodied lip is thrown on screen for seconds, only to be replaced by another.  The whole thing is backed up by rap music which adds to the kinetic feel.  It resembles a music video shown in warp speed.

The one great scene has Pacino explaining that the role of quarterback is much like that of a gladiator while the chariot race scene from Ben Hur plays on his big screen TV in the background.  It's compelling cinema.

What falls short is a cohesive, interesting story line.  The action is the main thing, leaving character development in the wings.  Yes, this is a sports film, but if I wanted to be engaged by just a game, I'd stay home and watch one.

It is rated R for violence, nudity and vulgar language.

Any Given Sunday

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