Draft Day (PG-13)
Mike: Tonight we are reviewing Draft Day, a story that takes place completely in one day, the 2014 NFL Draft.
So what did you think?
Michael I.: I’m not a big NFL fan — in fact I only watched a handful of games during the playoffs — but I really enjoyed it. What about you, Mike?
Mike: I am a big football fan. I have Redskins season tickets, but I have to admit I have never watched an NFL draft.
That made me wonder if I would care about this movie, but it turns out That I found it very entertaining.
Michael I.: I’m going to give most of the credit to director Ivan Reitman, who I didn’t even know had directed it until the end credits!
Mike: I didn’t know either. I think we were both surprised when we saw his name.
I would also credit the writers and actors.
Michael I.: So here’s the synopsis: At the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with NFL dreams.
Mike: The writers took something that seems ordinary on the outside and made it captivating. It was fascinating watching al the wheeling and dealing that takes place, that frankly I had never thought about.
Michael I.: Halfway during the movie I thought of “Moneyball”, the Oscar contender from a couple years ago. “Draft Day” is a glossier, NFL version.
Mike: I had Moneyball flashbacks as well, but this movie isn’t an Oscar contender, but it is a crowd pleaser. Both movies have similarities, like the fact that they focus on the General Manager and his decisions rather than the coaches. Both do thiings that everybody else thinks are crazy.
Michael I.: Many general managers try to wheel and deal to only end up with four flat tires!
Mike: The funny thing is that the rest of the year everyone focuses on the coach, but on draft day the general manger is king.
Much of the movie was like watching a high stakes poker game and like gambling, it’s tough to guess the outcome.
Michael I.: Actually, I found it very predictable, but still a fun ride.
Mike: Maybe you’re a better gambler than I am…
I fell into the trap that the outcome would be either/or. Sometimes the answer is something else.
The movie is fun, but it doesn’t seem to have the depth of something like Moneyball. Maybe fact is stranger than fiction?
Michael I.: Well, Moneyball had a superior cast — no offense to Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and the lot — but there’s no supporting actor nomination coming out of “Draft Day”
Mike: No, but aside from those you mentioned, I was surprised to see Ellen Burstyn, Sam Elliott, Frank Langella and Rosanna Arquette in smaller parts.
Michael I.: I agree — and you had even mentioned after the screening that it was because Reitman pulled them to this project.
Mike: This movie definitely had the NFL’s full cooperation as well. There are more coaches, football players and broadcasters than you can mention that populate this movie. This is definitely a great advertisement for the NFL, so that was wise on their part.
Michael I.: Like the NFL needs to advertise?
Mike: They don’t, but it’s never stopped them before. Heck, they even advertise during their own games.
So Mike, how do you rate this?
Michael I.: I’m going to rate this a 3.5 out of 5. It was a fun movie, and the cast was good, but it’s nothing that will stick in my memory after 12 months. What about you?
Mike: I think we are of like minds on this one. I give it a 3.5 out of 5 as well. This is a film that will appeal to football fanatics, but will probably pull in some Costner and Garner fans, too. This movie is like a chocolate Easter Bunny; It’s hollow in the middle.
Michael I.: That’s a good way to put it. I thought it was very surface-level as well.
Director: Ivan Reitman
Actors: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Ellen Burstyn, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Chadwick Boseman, Sean Combs
Writers: Rajiv Joseph, Scott Rothman
Theatrical Release Date: Apr. 11, 2014