Customer Review

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Any movie that's about football can't be all bad, February 13, 2005
This review is from: Any Given Sunday (DVD)
Are you suffering from the annual bout of post-Super Bowl depression (PSBD)? Is this Sunday, the first since the end of the NFL season, leaving you feeling lost, already looking ahead to September so you can resume watching a collection of pumped-up, tattoed freaks of nature perform astounding feats of physical prowess? Are you terrified at the thought of having to spend Sundays reading, going outside, or spending quality time with loved ones? Well, if you are, you could do a lot worse than to postpone the onset of PSBD by reclining in your favorite easy chair and watching Any Given Sunday.

Any Given Sunday has a lot to recommend it. It's got a sweet Hollywood budget, a cast loaded to the brim with talent (and no sign of Keanu Reeves, thankfully; I'm still having nightmares from the time I watched the Replacements), and the direction of the one and only Oliver Stone. In following the turbulent last quarter of a season in the life of the (fictional) Miami Sharks of the (fictional) AFFA, the movie combines an operatic scope with an almost fanatical attention to detail and loads of heavy philosophy for a film whose best moments (whether on the field or not) are as hard-hitting as anything you'll see in a real game. Sure, the movie trots out an endless series of hackneyed plot devices and stock characters, but Stone manages to breathe life into all of them.

A no-holds-barred if sensationalistic examination of professional football both on and off the field, Any Given Sunday is both believable and completely ridiculous at the same time, a monument to excess that is in itself wildly excessive. It starts punishing your senses right away, with two quarterbacks suffering catastrophic injuries and a third throwing up before taking his first snap, and it doesn't relax much from there on out, either in its torrid pace or in its commitment to full sensory assault. Indeed, this may be the fastest two-and-a-half-hour movie ever made. Like an all-out blitz up the middle, it comes at you relentlessly, and also like an all-out blitz, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. At times it seems as though Stone just tried to take the themes and conflicts that made Platoon such an artistic triumph and graft them onto a football movie. The movie goes for an outsized, epic feel at almost all times, with varying degrees of success.

At turns frenetic and painfully slow, Stone's camerawork makes for perhaps the best cinematic representation yet of the intensity and ferocity of pro football, and the movie's grasp of the game's strategical minutiae is a sign of a director who's done his homework. Regrettably, Stone's emphasis on brutal hits and flashy shots also takes something away from the inherent sophistication of the pro game, making it look like little more than the product of excessive testosterone levels. Of course, what happens on the field is only part of the story, as Stone makes sure to present the viewer with look at all the sordid goings-on that occur behind the scenes. It's here that the movie really throws everything but the kitchen sink at you, politely ensuring that boredom doesn't set in between game scenes. You've got fights; rampant substance abuse; players fornicating left and right; a mammoth SUV getting sawed in half; scads of gratuitous nudity; guys playing when they shouldn't even be trying to walk and chew gum and the same time; and lots of hot women acting extremely catty. And that's just a short list.

Alright, I've somehow managed to fill up four paragraphs with this review, so it's time to cut things off here. At any rate, while certainly not without its flaws, Any Given Sunday is one immensely enjoyable movie, especially for the football nut. So check it out if you haven't already.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 21, 2009 7:47:19 AM PDT
F. D Sims says:
AMEN!

Posted on Sep 6, 2010 10:54:29 AM PDT
V. Conte says:
"Any movie that's about football can't be all bad."

You must not have seen "The Waterboy."
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