Draft Day: Kevin Costner conquers football

A solid primer for the NFL draft this spring.

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Attention all football fans and casual observers alike, get ready to love Ivan Reitman’s new movie about the fanaticism that surrounds NFL National Draft Day.  Reitman, along with screenwriters Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph, have crafted a perfect spring blast of cinematic entertainment and also pay a fine salute to the millions of NFL maniacs out there who drop everything and watch the pro teams select the college elite.  And for all the people who don’t care for football but love a good story, no worries because this is simply a very good movie that may teach you a few things about the most popular game in the United States.

Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate 

Reitman made a perfect choice when he casted the white hot Kevin Costner, who deserves a lifetime achievement award for being awesome in any sports related film.   Playing Sonny Weaver Jr., Costner dials up the charm and carries a perfect blend of cynicism and pride in showing us a guy driven to live up to the legacy of his legendary coaching father and bring this team back from the dead.  

The relevance couldn’t be better with the current state of the Cleveland Browns and the hope this may bring to that city, even it only lasts for about two hours.  The film is expertly crafted in that it starts on the morning of the draft and takes you through the many trials and tribulations of a team waging its future on a group of unproven players.

Reitman and the screenwriters use real NFL and NCAA footage and also invoke real NFL history here with stories about Joe Montana in the Super Bowl and the heritage of the game.  People who have problems understanding the X’s and O’s of the game will be treated to a scented candle of knowledge in this film.

The many women who love the game and don’t get credit for it get well represented here by a never better Jennifer Garner, playing her role with equal parts panache, beauty and class.

It’s a thrill to see Reitman alums Langella and Dunn(Dave) get work here as Browns executives.  It’s a welcome sight to see the wild humor and command of Denis Leary come back to the big screen after a long absence fighting fire on TV.   Playing a coach with a ring from Dallas and clashing with Costner’s GM provides plenty of cinematic fireworks and laughs.

Draft Day has a perfect release date and is the best sports film I have seen since Moneyball.  Just like that baseball numbers game special and inside a fast paced 2 hours, it takes you inside the game and also gives you a good story that is a crowd pleaser and genuine at the same time.  I can’t wait to see this film again and while I won’t call it award worthy, it’s definitely one of the best films I have seen in 2014.

Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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