Monday Night Mayhem
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It even shows Cosell (portrayed by the outstanding character actor John Turturro) taking off his toupee in one scene. In another scene, Cosell boils over after talking head Gifford continues to refer to Dallas Cowboys safety Dennis Thurman as Thurman Munson.
"Didn't Thurman Munson die in 1979," Cosell asks a producer after Gifford goofs another call during a broadcast. "So how is he making all these tackles?!"
So ESPN's "25 best sports films" could not embarrass its ownership (ABC) by giving credence to this movie. But you should give credence to it at your earliest opportunity. It is by turns informative, entertaining, funny and melancholy. It has all the ingredients of real life and television that make both so interesting.
TNT was praised and criticized for this production and seems to have responded by no longer programming it. That is a pity for this is one of the most truthful movies about professional football since "North Dallas Forty", the Pete Gent book made into a feature film about the Dallas Cowboys of the 1970s.
There is one direct parallel between the films -- Don Meredith. He was portrayed in both movies as something of a buffoon. Was he? I don't know. But watching this movie over and over when it first came out was one of the most fun-filled events of my autumn 2002. If you enjoy sports films, this one should be in your library.
This was originally a made-for-TV movie (TNT network) depicting the formation and early years of ABC's Monday Night Football. It's fast-paced, funny, occasionally moving, and always interesting. The script is heavily based on the book of the same name, which I would also recommend (authors are Bill Carter and Marc Gunther).
The movie's focus is on Howard Cosell. John Turturro is absolutely terrific as Humble Howard, America's most beloved and most hated sportscaster. John Heard as Roone Arledge turns in an excellent job, too. The rest of the cast is nicely filled out as well. Having several old MNF games from the 1970s on videotape, I can attest that the makers of the movie put a lot of effort into getting the look of the times just right. The soundtrack also does a nice job of bringing those years to life.
I'm fortunate to have grown up watching MNF in the '70s and remember fondly the magic of the early years when MNF was so cutting edge. In those days before cable, there was nothing else like it on TV. As an earlier reviewer put it, it would be nice if another Howard Cosell came along to liven up Monday Night Football again, but it's safe to say there will never be another Howard Cosell.
I highly recommend this movie, both for older folks like me who will enjoy the nostalgia, and for the younger generations who can get a taste of what they missed.
John Turturro plays Howard Cosell, and does a great job. The voice, mannerisms, and dramatizations are worthy of noting during this great performance. The only issue is that it seems Turturro was too young to portray Cosell during any era, especially by the early '80s when the real Cosell looked quite a bit older. Eli Wallach and John Heard were terrific as ABC president Leonard Rothstein and MNF producer Roone Alredge, respectively. These two men turned in great performances and were cast perfectly. You are able to gain a sense of what these men were like, even if you had no idea who they were. The on screen portrayals of fellow broadcasters Don Meredith and Frank Gifford are simple but still pretty good.
The movie does a great job telling the story of how MNF was born. Roone Alredge from ABC truly revolutionized the game by adding flare, more cameras, more angles, and the three-man booth.
One problem is that film lacks real game footage that was true to the era (1970-85.) There seem to be re-creations of the games and their moments, and the uniforms are a bit "off" during some of the game highlights. Colors don't match, and stadium backdrops are not true the game that was going on at that time. For example, take a close look at the Joe Namath shot. (That is not him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Glad I only paid $2 for this used since this movie just went on and on and on and was just too long. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Matthew J. Liptak
This film is more about Howard Cosell than MNF, but that's not necessarily bad. As a story about Howard Cosell's time in MNF... it isn't bad. Read morePublished on October 4, 2012 by karhill54
I absolutely loved the film, but I am a stickler for details.
I wonder who researched the details of the script,
Blooper #1: The popular "Monday Night... Read more
This movie is a truly wonderful in depth look at the history of a 'Ground Breaking' Historic TV program that ran for over 30 years. Read morePublished on June 13, 2011 by Kevin C. Turner
Simply great! If you grew up in the era of Monday Night Football you will enjoy this movie.
John Turturro is wonderful.
The T.N.T. television movie MONDAY NIGHT MAYHEM and the H.B.O. documentary HOWARD COSELL: TELLING IT LIKE IT IS were first broadcast within a few years of each other. Read morePublished on November 6, 2010 by Jim LaRegina
*Monday Night Mayhem* is a treat whether you remember the early days of MNF or not. We weren't huge football fans, but my family never missed a Monday game--it was like a big,... Read morePublished on June 28, 2010 by Poniplaizy
Somehow I had never heard of this movie, but I am glad I found it a trash bin in a discount bookstore in Idaho. Read morePublished on December 18, 2009 by Joseph H. Race