Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Most football fans figure we could probably be the general manager of our football team.  We know we can't play Quarterback or Nose Tackle or even coach the team, but G.M.?  Why not?  This is particularly true of us Detroit Lions fans who suffered under 8.5 years of Millen Rule.  Do I think I could take over a franchise and at the very least guide them to zero wins?  Why yes… I do believe I could do that.  I gotta admit, fictional Cleveland Browns G.M. Sonny Weaver Jr., played by Kevin Costner, did very little in this movie 'Draft Day' to dissuade my opinion on this.  He's like the worst G.M. ever… other than the other G.M's he was dealing with in this movie… but I still kind of liked this movie.

It's the morning of the draft and Sonny and his lady Ali (Jennifer Garner) are at Sonny's house discussing something that has nothing to do with football.  Apparently most folks wouldn't want to see a movie completely about football so there's nice bit of melodrama to deal with in this movie.  Ali is upset at Sonny about something, but it's is draft day and both Sonny and Ali have jobs to do for the Cleveland Browns.

The consensus no. 1 is Wisconsin QB Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck, which is saying he's best QB prospect in two years.  But this kid is perfect and he's going to be a franchise QB for a very long time.  Not that it really matters because the Browns already have a very good QB in Brian Drew (Tom Welling), but he does seem to be a tad injury prone.  Regardless, Cleveland drafts all the way down at seven, meaning Callahan will be long gone before Cleveland can get him… unless the team holding that no.1 pick can coax Sonny into one of the more lopsided draft day trades in draft history. 

Guess what?  That's exactly what happens.  But no worries because the owner (Frank Langella) is happy, the fans are happy, and everybody except the new head coach (Denis Leary) is giddy about this pick.  Movie over, right? 
Back to the FCU
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Not so fast my friends.  There are two more players in play in Linebacker Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman), who in addition to being a great player is simply the most spiritually beautiful human being ever, and running back Ray Jennings (Arian Foster), the coaches preferred player who unfortunately got into a little bit of trouble a while back which has jeopardized his draft position.  But that doesn't matter because the Browns already have their man.  But… what if we started looking into this player?  Not the regular due diligence that every team does on every player, but we're talking microscopic, subatomic level investigation.   What if Bo Callahan isn't quite what he seems?  What if Sonny fears he might've made a grave error and decides to go in another direction, which would suck since he gave away his team's future to get this kid.  What if Sonny does this borderline retarded thing, but is saved by a laundry list of highly improbably events from a litany of incredibly incompetent G.M.'s which all line up to make the Cleveland Browns 2014 draft the most awesomest ever?

I've read where Ivan Reitman's 'Draft Day' is just a glorified vehicle of product placement for the NFL and ESPN.  Can't really argue too much about that because the brand is almost omnipresent in this film, other than to say ESPN and the NFL probably doesn't need this movie to help prop up their product.  What we can say is that from the perspective of an amateur, though passionate football fan like myself, 'Draft Day' is insane.  Sonny Weaver Jr. made moves in this movie that would even offend Matt Millen, but you have to experience this organically since Sonny's 'wheeling and dealing' is the cornerstone of the movie and we're not going spoil it for you.  From a dramatic standpoint, that being all the relationships in this movie, this was also lackluster.  I didn't care about Sonny and his girlfriend or Sonny and his mom, or Vontae Mack's other worldly disposition, or even really Sonny and his late father.  None of that interested me.  And while talking heads talking football for a couple of hours might hold my attention with no problem, the director and his editor figured there's no way this could work for everybody else and flooded this movie with so many fancy transitions, picture in pictures, split screens, wipes and other camera tricks in an attempt to keep things moving, that it became dizzying after a while. 

Then why, with all of these things working against 'Draft Day', did I enjoy this movie?  Hell if I know.  Maybe because it's Kevin Costner in a sports movie which almost never fails?  Or maybe I am still holding out hope that one day a team will call me and give me a front office job?  Maybe this movie endeared itself to me because I got to look behind the curtain into a fictional NFL Draft war room, even though Sonny Weaver Jr. NEVER used the people in this war room unless he needed somebody to yell at.  Maybe I enjoyed this movie because, despite Sonny's terrible moves, the movie was still structured in a way that kept me interested into seeing how he was going dig himself out of this mess he created.  And of course I needed to see the subatomic particle that was going make Sonny pass on the consensus no.1 pick.   Or maybe I liked this movie because I have secret fetish for fancy split screen transitions.  Who knows?

I've mentioned this before, but it is a football movie and quite honestly, for full disclosure, there haven't been a lot football themed films that I haven't liked in my lifetime.  Admittedly, 'Draft Day' is one of the weaker ones, but gosh darn, I still had a pretty good time watching it.
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