Sports movies; they are some of the most predictable yet popular movies out there. They typically follow a very simple formula. The underdog team/individual begins playing a sport, at first they suck, then through either the right coach, the right players, and the appropriate amount of montages they become phenomenal, and against all odds kick massive amounts of ass. There are a few movies that differ from the formula in different ways, but for the most part they tend to stick to the formula. The recent Kevin Costner movie (man I never thought I would ever say/write those words again) Draft Day tends to stick to this general formula.
A sports movie that does not so much focus on the ‘sports’ part so much as it focuses on the obtaining of the players via draft to some seemed like a rather stupid concept to some people and in truth if you are not from the US or an NFL fan, I can see your apprehension. But for those uninitiated in the world of American Football let me inform you just how important the NFL Draft is to those who are a fan of the sport. The Draft isn’t just a selecting of rookies every year, it is one of the many rituals that American Football fans seem to hold themselves to. It is a time to see the new wave of talent come into the league and to question which one of them will become the next all-star and which one of them will be destined to be complete busts and spend the rest of their lives in obscurity working as used car salesmen… It is actually kind of depressing when you think about it. But for many fans, Draft Day is almost as important as the season itself. So just a little context going into this.
Draft Day is the story of Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) the current General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. He is given the opportunity to trade his seventh pick in the NFL Draft for the first pick if they give up their first round picks for the following two years in the hopes of selecting an All Star Quarterback in Bo Callahan (Josh Pence). The story then follows the Browns through the monumental trade as everyone voices their pleasure/displeasure of the trade, this all leading to the big draft day where the trades and dealings begin to play out.
Accurate Representation of the NFL Draft
If you have ever watched an NFL Draft, then you can definitely see the comparisons in the film. It has all the drama that would come with the event. The unexpected picks, the ‘war rooms’ a buzz with who to take, when to take them, and possible deals that are to follow. Watching the players react as they are drafted and see as premiere talents who were projected to be the early picks begin to follow further and further down the pecking order. I suppose you can hand it to a movie that it was an accurate representation of the source material it is trying to emulate.
It Isn’t a Bad Movie
I could split this up into different categories and talk about acting, cinematography, and so forth. But what this all really comes down to is the fact that this is not a bad movie. There isn’t any bad performances, the actual NFL personalities are good on camera, and the side plots while not necessarily important or relevant are well done and do not feel overly forced. The movie is able to be a self promoting engine for the National Football League without it being an in your face pandering none sense means of selling product. It is just a decent sports movie, simple as that. It follows the aforementioned formula and ends on a high note with the Weaver doing everything right for the franchise.
It is a movie that you can watch and be satisfied with. But if you are looking for more meaning or deeper insight than just a movie about the NFL Draft, well we will get into that in the Con category.
When the actual draft gets going, we get a lot of intensity. The same intensity you would expect if you were in the room of the people who would be drafting players to their NFL teams. It is very well done and worth the watch… The rest of this movie however is 90% fluff. It is just padding getting us to the actual draft. There are side plots such as Weaver’s lover Ali Parker (Jennifer Garner) and the fact that she is pregnant, there is the fact that Weaver fired his father, there is the scouting of the players, and the various other set ups to the big moment. But this is all just there to fill time until you get to the actual draft. This movie could be cut to forty-five minutes and even then I would feel like it was slightly padded and that I am missing nothing important from this movie. This could have worked well as a TV special, but as a feature-length movie it just feels very drawn out for a decent climax.
If You are Not an NFL Fan… You Really Won’t Give a Shit
If you are not a die-hard NFL fan and by die-hard NFL fan I mean a person who not only loves watching American Football but also one that cares about the NFL Draft and the actual work that goes into keeping these franchises running, then I doubt you will find much of a reason to watch this movie. It is the story of the NFL Draft, nothing more, nothing less.
This isn’t a bad movie. It is decently done, the acting is well done, and I do enjoy just about anything that Ivan Reitman had done or Denis Leary has ever been in. But other than that, the movie is heavily padded with needless side plots and set ups for a couple of minutes of excitement that it isn’t really worth more than a one time watch. Draft Day is still in theaters, but I would recommend waiting until this comes out on DVD to see it.
Final Score 2.5/5
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