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Oliver Stone and Al Pacino tackle the NFL

"Any Given Sunday"

Reviewed by Frank Cracolice

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DVD notes

I didn't see "Any Given Sunday" until it came out on DVD, and I have to say I disagree with Uncle Frank about it. I liked it, pretty much. The DVD is a few minutes longer than the screen-release version, and includes some special goodies, including an L.L. Cool J video, theatrical trailer, a making-of feature and some other goods. Worth renting.

-- John Orr

There is enough down time in Oliver Stone's newest epic, "Any Given Sunday," that a viewer might benefit as much by sitting through one of those colossal Super Bowl halftime shows.

Rumor has it (no doubt started by Stone and his collaborators on this film) that the NFL would not sanction the movie. Yet, see it and you come away with the feeling that the NFL probably couldn't care less.

If there is anything herein that the American professional football machine would find a harmful public revelation, it went sailing over my head like one of those closeups of a football soaring through the air that Stone's camera is so over-enamored of.

Dennis Quaid There are drugs in the NFL; there is also testosterone; there is not a lot of heavy thinking. Duh, Oliver.

Stone is miles away from "Platoon" and a good distance from "JFK" here. The former had a perfect feel for what was wrought in Viet Nam. The latter, if a shot in the dark as so many critics expounded, was a piece of diligently crafted filmmaking.

Jamie Foxx But this? "Sunday" is much more like "Natural Born Killers," intended to arouse with smartass soundbite-type filming that is neither that smart nor arousing.

In the midst of this film is Al Pacino, a towering figure at his perhaps 5-9 height.

It is his persona that dares, indeed almost wills us to care about the film.

Well, his character, at least. Tony DeMarco is the mentor of the Miami Sharks, and both he and the team have seen better days. You can tell where this is going.

The character Stone and co-conspirator John Logan have given Pacino is at every level predictable, as are all in this film, actually. Yet Pacino's nuanced performance evokes care for his outcome, if not the others in "Sunday."

Among those are Cameron Diaz as the young team owner who spends most of the film trying to unload her aging coach, who is somewhat of a family heirloom; Dennis Quaid as a veteran quarterback who will also make you care about him; Jamie Foxx as a young black quarterback who goes from unbearable to annoying to tolerable by the time the film has traversed its nearly three-hour time frame; James Woods as a seedy team physician; and Ann-Margret as Diaz's mother, who may not have one scene without glass in hand.

By the 90-minute mark, I was ready to join her.

DVD at Amazon.
VHS at Amazon


See other information about "Any Given Sunday" at Internet Movie Data Base.