A behind-the-scenes look at the life-and-death struggles of modern-day gladiators and those who lead them.A behind-the-scenes look at the life-and-death struggles of modern-day gladiators and those who lead them.A behind-the-scenes look at the life-and-death struggles of modern-day gladiators and those who lead them.
Oliver Stone began a wicked spell of filmmaking with JFK, evident in its editing style. Fast-paced, black and white mixed with color, documentary-like methods ensued in NATURAL BORN KILLERS, NIXON, and the ghastly U-TURN. Nothing is new here with ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. Football is a battlefield Stone chooses to depict and depict it he does. Even the most ardent fans of the sport do not really know what it is like for a quarterback to drop back and get rid of a piece of pigskin before 11 players maul him. You certainly get the idea watching this.
Al Pacino is the dried up head coach of the fictional Miami Sharks and he barks out the usual coaching cliches you hear in press conferences after real games. Pacino also seems to be sleep-walking through the picture. At times, he appears drunk even when he is not supposed to be. Cameron Diaz's character, a young chick owner, (yeah right) destroys any credibility the film may have had going in (Even the NFL would have nothing to do with this movie). Her constant bickering is so over-done, you almost feel like hurling much the way Jamie Foxx does every time he enters a game as the team's 3rd string quarterback. Realisticly speaking, this is not a very sane film about football. It is a maniacal celebration of the game. The scenes on the field are the ones I cherished. Beware of the locker room or domestic sequences.
No one has ever put such energy into football scenes in a film before. He definitely had some good consultants. There are some comical cameos - Johnny Unitas and Dick Butkus play opposing coaches. Lawrence Taylor can actually act a teeny bit and Jim Brown shares the film's best off the field scene with Pacino in a bar. Stone tries to show us how the game has changed. He resonates past glory with quotes from Lombardi, dissolves showing Red "the Galloping Ghost" Grange, and even Unitas handing off to Ameche. TV has changed everything, says the coach, and he is right. It seems to be all about the money nowadays.
That is the message, but you'll find yourself losing that idea in the lunacy of ANY GIVEN SUNDAY and the bone-crushing, ear-damaging football scenes. They are filmed and cut with such raw intensity, you feel like playing afterwards. This is definitely a film for football fans only unless you like big, sweaty men. Is there a big game at the end that needs to be won? Yes, and this surprised me considering how unconventional Stone usually is. Basically, surrender your senses and thought process to Stone's most entertaining film in quite some time.
- Jan 14, 2000