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Any Given Sunday

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Any Given Sunday

Starring: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid
Director: Oliver Stone
Rated: R
RunTime: 160 Minutes
Release Date: December 1999
Genres: Drama, Sports

*Also starring: James Woods, Ann Margret, Todd Bacile, Bill Bellamy, Elizabeth Berkley, Jim Brown, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx

Review by John Beachem
½ star out of 4

Imagine watching the superbowl, it's a goal line stand with four seconds left in the game. The tension is palpable as you clench and unclench your hands into fists, waiting for the final play. Then, just as the play commences, you're surrounded by blaring rap music and the screen suddenly cuts to a bunch of people in the stands beating each other up. This seems to be the way Oliver Stone pictures football. I'm sure some will call his filming ideas here moden and innovative, but I think obnoxious is a more fitting adjective. Stone's idea of direction seems to involve the camera never sitting still for more than two seconds at a time, and never allowing people to speak without pounding music accompanying them which drowns out all that they say.

The Miami Sharks are having a terrible season. Led by head coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino) and aging quarterback Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid), they've lost their past four games. The team's owner has just passed away and left things in the hands of his money grubbing daughter, Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz). Chistina wants to permanently bench Cap after he is injured, and place third stringer Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx) at the head of the team. The problem is, the team doesn't much respect Beaman despite his skills. Tony tries desperately to bring the team back together as everything he has worked to build crumbles around him.

After watching this film, something interesting occured to me. I haven't enjoyed a single movie which LL cool J (playing the team's star running back here) has appeared in, yet I've found his performance in each of his films to be rather entertaining. The man is not without talent, but he doesn't seem capable of selecting a good film to appear in. As for the rest of the cast, they most likely would have performed well if it weren't for some of the worst dialogue ever written. Then again, I'm only assuming that all the dialogue was terrible. I couldn't hear half of it because the "music" was playing so loudly. On those rare occasions when the film actually tries to deliver a message, we're interrupted by a cutaway to clouds moving across the sky or something similarly pointless.

I always try to point out the good qualities in every film I see, but I'm hard pressed to do so here. Lawrence Taylor, the hall of famer shows up playing the team's linebacker and actually turns in one of the film's better performances. James Woods shows up in what amounts to little more than a cameo as the team doctor, and Charleton Heston is seen briefly playing the commisioner. The final game of the movie is vaguely interesting, despite being incredibly predictable. That about does it for the good points here. The remainder of the film is composed of pointless pop culture references, music videos and inane speeches.

"Any Given Sunday" runs insanely long at 162 minutes. Don't worry though, you won't fall asleep because the music will constantly be pounding in your ears. I'd recommend the film only if you're a die hard fan of either Oliver Stone or Al Pacino, although Pacino appears rather embarassed to be in this movie. The movie contains a rather amusing little twist at the very end, but it's shown during the credits. Good luck staying through the rest of the film to catch it. I give "Any Given Sunday" one and a half stars and a recommendation to stay far, far away.

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* * * * * - One of the greatest movies ever made, see it now. * * * * - Great flick. Try and catch this one. * * * - Okay movie, hits and misses. * * - Pretty bad. See it if you've got nothing better to do. * - One of the worst movies ever. See it only if you enjoy pain.

Copyright 2000 John Beachem

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