Thursday, April 10, 2014
They say that baseball is our national pastime. I am here to tell you, that ain't true anymore. America is all about football. People follow the sport in the off season more than any other. The NFL has made it's draft an event. ESPN devotes hours of time to coverage and fans pay a premium to jam Radio City Music Hall to see it live. Hollywood has now decided to spend a day in the life of an NFL franchise and give us all a peek into the draft process. Welcome to Draft Day!
We take a trip to Cleveland to spend some time with the Browns. A franchise that hasn't won in a long time. Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) is a GM in the shadow of his fathers legacy. He has what some believe was a solid quarterback (Tom Welling) who was injured the year before. Interest in linebacker that no one else wants (Chadwick Boseman). A secret relationship with one of his employees (Jennifer Garner) and an owner who demands that he make a splash in this years draft (Frank Langella). Sonny has two choices, trade his future to take the hottest player in the draft or build the team that he wants at the cost of his respect and job.
Dennis Leary is the head coach that is at odds with all of Sonny's decisions. He is everything you would expect from Dennis Leary and it works. The right amount of sarcasm and attitude. We never see him actually coach, but he still has the commanding presence that you would expect. He blends well with the room full of pretend football coaches.
Chadwick Boseman is the next big thing. He took on Jackie Robinson, will take on James Brown, and is probably five minutes away from becoming the next Will Smith. He balances the right mount of heart and charisma. The guy is a star. He and Costner border a little on Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. If he would have screamed," show me the money," it would have been fine.
The cast really makes the movie work. Jennifer Garner is believable as a Midwest football girl. She is tough and whether she truly knows the game or not, plays it off very well. The rest of the cast is full of people most of us will remember from movies and TV. They blend nicely with NFL players like Arian Foster, Bernie Kosar, and the commish Roger Goodell. The film is stacked full of cameos from ESPN personalities, but it's Tom Welling as the Brown's lame duck quarterback that shines. He looks the part and seeing him made me wish Warner Bros would have considered him as a big screen Superman.
The only real let down is Diddy. He isn't bad, but really had potential to be move vibrant. He is definitely not Bob Sugar and he should have been. The fun comes in the actual war room. The brief time that we spend seeing the draft process is awesome. We get a glimpse of what teams go through and in the end, I wanted to see how far this fictional Brown's team goes.
Kevin Costner is great in sports movie. Bull Durham, Field Of Dreams, and For Love Of The Game. He gives us his first run in pro football and delivers. It's a football movie that we barely see any football and that is fine. It's a couples movie that guys will be in for. I made a lot of Jerry McGuire references and it's because there have been a lot of comparisons.I cannot say that it is that good, but Draft Day is definitely a first round pick.