I’m a Cleveland fan, so it was already grandfathered in that I would have to see Draft Day directed by Ivan Reitman as soon as it came out. I mean c’mon, we LOVE sports in O-H (I-O!). And to my surprise, given the scenario of it being in fact the very day of the Radio City Music Hall held event that makes or breaks hundreds of rookie players’ lives as within what seems like eternities of minutes, this movie was pretty great. And kind of hilarious!
The movie gets down to business from the start on THE morning of Draft Day with Costner as the Cleveland Browns GM Sonny Weaver Jr. in his high profile apartment (that’s actually filmed one mile from where I grew up in Rocky River) on his way out the door after a night with his salary cap specialist Ali (Jennifer Gardner), whose relationship is kept a secret given they work for the same franchise.
And say what you will about the whole thing being its own version of Moneyball, but given that the NFL barely allows its trademark to be used in commercial productions, Draft Day is actually cool. We get to see various funny and stereotypical personas of football coaches, how these exec decisions effect entire fan bases, why these impossible decisions are made—you know: behind the scenes last minute high-pressure life and death situations of football type-stuff.
Oh, and talk about mom always getting in the way. It seems like just as Weaver is about to do something crucial, the phone starts to ring or in comes Barb Weaver (Ellen Burstyn) Either making some ridiculous comment (let’s just say she tweets and she’s super old), or causing some sort of extra stress in Weaver’s already hectic life, making for a lot of funny scenes that actually make the movie somewhat hilarious.
Draft Day is about character more so than it is about actual football (there’s never really a game until at the very end), and it really does show that sometimes persona trumps high profile status; that sometimes picking the notoriously dickhead-ish rookie QB has its backfire. Not to mention you get P. Diddy, Bernie Kosar, FRANK LANGELLA (who never takes off his sunglasses once), Alex Mack, Dennis Leary—etc., etc. You know, in case all of this wasn’t enough reason for you to go see.
(photo via NY Post)