At the NFL Draft, General Manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must decide what he's willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with NFL dreams.
Jim White moves his family after losing his last job as a football coach. He sees that some of the students are worth starting a cross-country team and turns seven students with no hope into one of the best cross-country teams.
It's draft day in the NFL, and as General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, Sonny is forced to come up with a big move. After trading for the number one pick, Sonny has to choose between a lower-ranked linebacker with a questionable past, or a celebrated quarterback with a questionable future. All the while, Sonny is walking in the footsteps of his father, and personal complications force their way to the surface.Written by
In Rescue Me (2004) season four, episode eleven, "Cycle", Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) debates with cast "What's the best Kevin Costner movie not including Field Of Dreams?" See more »
When Coach Penn flashes his Super Bowl ring at Sonny (from Sonny's POV), Penn has his fist palm side up. When the camera switches to Penn's POV, the fist is palm down. See more »
Thirty-two teams, seven rounds, 224 young men who, today, are about to become players in the National Football League. A day where lives are changed. fates are decided, dynasties are born, and the clock is always ticking. Of course, I'm talking about... Draft Day.
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Hollywood's Mr. Baseball, aka Kevin Costner, walks off the diamond and onto the gridiron (or, more accurately, into pro football's corporate offices) in "Draft Day," Ivan Reitman's entertaining tribute to the wheeling-and-dealing that goes on behind the scenes at the NFL draft.
Costner plays the fictional Sonny Wheeler, Jr., son of the equally fictitious Sonny Wheeler, Sr., who has recently died and in whose shadow Sonny perpetually toils. You see, Wheeler, Sr. was a legend at the Cleveland Browns franchise, and, in his two years as general manager for the team, his son seems to be having a little trouble living up to the old man's reputation. To further complicate Sonny's life, his "down low" girlfriend, Ali (Jennifer Garner), who works as the lawyer responsible for making sure the team doesn't bust through the salary cap, has just announced that she is pregnant with the commitment-phobic Sonny's child. Amid all this personal turmoil, Sonny launches into full negotiator mode, making deals and forming alliances with other general managers in the league while working to assuage the concerns of the team's owner (Frank Langella), its coach (Dennis Leary), an assortment of high strung and disgruntled players (Tom Welling, Chadwick Boseman, Arian Foster) and even his own mother (Ellen Burstyn) who has views of her own that need to be taken into consideration before he can arrive at his final decision.
Although it probably helps to have some familiarity with how the draft pick works in order to fully appreciate some of the finer points of the narrative, writers Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman do a good job clarifying the big picture even for the less sports-oriented members of the audience. The movie proceeds at a breakneck pace as the clock ticks down to the moment of truth for Sonny. Will he accept the Seattle Seahawks' offer of the #1 draft pick, Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), in exchange for the Browns' #1 first-round draft picks for the next three years, or will he reject the offer in favor of some less stellar but still promising players? "Draft Day" is at its best when it's exploring the various and often contradictory interests - of players, coaches and owners, not to mention the millions at stake in salaries and corporate sponsorships - that those in Sonny's position must consider before rendering their final verdicts. Talk about pressure! The filmmakers establish a nice balance between the sports aspects of the tale and the personal moments between Sonny and Ali and Sonny and his mom, never allowing the latter to detract from the former. As a result, we care about the characters without losing our focus on the real reason we've come to this movie.
Reitman has come up with an interesting split-screen technique that helps to weave together a story that takes place over a wide range of geographical locales simultaneously. What might have been a mere gimmick in less capable hands becomes an indispensable narrative device here.
A few weeks back, while writing about "3 Days to Kill," I lamented that Costner desperately needed to find some quality material worthy of his talents to work with, and he seems to have found just that in "Draft Day." Costner has a core of quiet stillness that lends a genuine gravitas to his performances. Because he can appear both confident and insecure in the same moment, he makes us want to root for the character he's playing. He's also blessed with a super supporting cast that includes, in addition to all the aforementioned, Terry Crews, Rosanna Arquette, Sam Elliot, and Sean Combs.
"Draft Day" proves that not all the competitiveness and excitement of professional football takes place on the field.
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