Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Draft Day

    Kevin Costner and sports films always make a great combination and "Draft Day" scores a touchdown, especially if you are a football fan. There have been comparisons to "Moneyball" which is understandable since they are both about the business side of sports but "Draft Day" has the advantage of a fictional story to add much more suspense to the plot.

         The film takes place over the course of the 12 hours leading up to the NFL draft, the time when teams announce which college players they are selecting in a pre-arranged numerical order. General Managers can wheel and deal up to the last second deciding on players and trading "picks" with other teams. For a team's general manager, coach and staff, it's their Superbowl with the future of their organization hanging in the balance.

          Mr. Costner plays Sonny Weaver, the GM of the Cleveland Browns. His "Cap" analyst/girlfriend is played by Jennifer Garner and other co-stars are Frank Langella as the owner of the team, Dennis Leary as the team coach and Chadwick Boseman (so good in "42") as one of Sonny's potential target players. Sean Combs is well cast in a supporting role as a sports agent representing another player Sonny covets. There are also many real life football players in various roles. 

            The film is fun and gets more exciting as the clock ticks down towards Cleveland's allotted pick time. What will Sonny do? That sums up the plot pretty succinctly. The film misses the "extra point" with too many melodramatic sub-plots thrown at Sonny to complicate his day and director Ivan Reitman relies way too much on split screen effects to tell the story. It's a very deliberate choice but ends up making the audience dizzy.

            Most of the action is not on the field but rather behind closed doors but it's still a fascinating look behind the scenes. To this football fan, it seems pretty accurate and probably close to what really happens on draft day.

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