There have been some great movies about the sport of football, but when it comes to films that actually involve the NFL, the selections are nothing to cheer over. Sure, we had wild Bulls from North Dallas Forty and the Miami Sharks from Oliver Stone’s ridiculous Any Given Sunday, but the pickings are slim due to the NFL protecting the shield. Recently, the NFL has let their guard down and we were treated to the charming, yet cheesy, true story of Vince Papale in Invincible. Luckily now, we get another flick with NFL presence felt more than ever before on film.
Draft Day is a film about real teams from the NFL, namely the lowly Cleveland Browns, that have to make some tough choices with their coveted draft picks. The story chronicles the life of the Brown’s General Manager over a 12-hour time period on draft day as he must decide which player will be their next franchise cornerstone. Who better to play the sporty role of GM than a man synonymous with great sports films? The resurgent Kevin Costner plays the embattled GM, Sonny Weaver, and proves that he is the man when it comes to great sports movies that audiences will love.
The heavy involvement of the NFL allows Draft Day to be a highly entertaining film, especially for NFL Draft junkies like myself. Seeing the back alley deals between teams where your word means nothing helps to keep the audience engaged and wondering who will come out on top. I also enjoyed the aspect of security with these NFL teams as they hunt down info on players – info that doesn’t always involve bench presses or how fast the player can run the forty. I applaud the NFL for lowering the shield and allowing fans take a look at what goes on in the war rooms during the draft.
One of the highlights of Draft Day is the cast of characters led by Costner. He proves that he can still carry a film, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the cast are busts. Jennifer Garner is cute and spunky as Sonny’s salary capologist and secret girlfriend. Frank Langella is stellar as the eccentric owner of the Browns who wants Sonny under his thumb. But the real scene-stealer is Denis Leary as Brown’s Coach, Penn. Leary does his best Jon Gruden impression and has some of the funniest and best scenes involving Costner’s, Sonny.
I know the field is small when it comes to great NFL themed films, but Draft Day was instrumental in laying the foundation. The cast and the inside look at the popular NFL Draft makes Draft Day the best NFL based film to date.
Overall, I give Draft Day 3 out of 4 stars.
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