on 26 October 2002
Any Given Sunday is a great piece of film making, if slightly tarred by an overly polished Hollywood format. What I mean is, it has all of the [Oliver] Stone ingredients we've come to expect; various video formats, a seemingly incongruous mix of camera angles and close-ups and some amazing performances, but minus the imperfections. So what you say, well sometimes it's those little accidental nuances that turn a good movie into an amazing one. AGS is a piece of highly professional, polished movie making - but at the end of the day it's just a good movie, not an amazing one.
The performances are just fantastic, Pacino whilst not as intense as in say "Heat" really drives the movie and doesn't for a second let you question whether he's a football coach. You just BELIEVE it, when he's shouting you think it's at you. James Woods is typically side-lined, no pun intended, but what time he is on screen he's James Woods through and through. Why this guy is never given bigger parts I'll never know. Cameron Diaz' is one of the most surprising characters. When Charlton Heston says "I actually believe this woman would eat her young" (line of the movie right there) you totally empathise. She's ruthless, self-opinionated and such a b***h. But it's no facade, she really throws herself into the part and the results are great.
The actual film itself is an amazing piece of work. It's like some sort of drug; it's cocktail of visual and audio mixing is so intense, so in your face you soon get totally sucked in. The on-field football action is incredible, when the tackles come in you find yourself tensing your whole body waiting for the impact. Then you're treated to the players perspective as the stadium swims around them, the crowds die away and you're left for a few seconds to recover before you're hit with the next instalment. You really start to root for the sharks by the end as they go from average schmoes, to washed-up has-beens to a team in the play-offs. And whilst yes this is a fairly predictable journey it's not entirely predictable.
I'm not so sure the parallels between 'gladiators of the field' and Spartacus really pay-off, in some ways you feel a little spoon-fed - because just watching the action you really feel the players are warriors, willing to sacrifice absolutely everything to play the game they're good at.
I've never been a massive fan of American sports, or even American 'Football' but what drew me to the movie is the acting and directing talent and I wasn't disappointed. After I'd bought the movie I mentioned it to a friend who told me it was his 'favourite sports movie of all time'. I can't really think of that many sports movies worth watching, but sport aside if you want some high quality entertainment and a feast for the senses this movie will not disappoint. Strap yourself in and enjoy every intoxicating minute.
The quality of the movie on DVD is also awesome, not a single imperfection could I spot. The audio also nicely fires round the room, it makes me wish I'd seen it at the cinema... it represents outstanding value for money, especially as it has a second disc entirely dedicated to extras you can watch on any given rainy Sunday. A great movie, and great value.
on 29 June 2006
This is easily one of the best sports films you will ever see. It has a great cast(Jamie Foxx and Al Pacino to new but a few) great set pieces( especially the big game) and a pretty brutal potrayal of American Football players. Al Pacino is simply great as Tony Damato and without doubt his "Inch by Inch" speech is one of the greatest in film. It always inspires you no matter how many times you hear it. Even the supposedly minor characters such as LL Cool J have enough time to make an impression. If you watch this i would recommend watching Friday Night Lights which shows the sport at a lower level.
Please don't fall into the trap of thinking that knowing American Football is a requirement for watching 'Any given sunday'. As long as you know that AF has an Offense and a Defense, that's about all the knowledge you require to enjoy this gem. It's the story of a struggling team that is fortunate/unfortunate to discover they have a star player amongst their backups. The player becomes a bit too big for his boots and as a consequence causes a major divide between the team, coach and boardroom.
It's a great insight into the sport and the internal mechanics of a team. With no knowledge of the sport, you should enjoy a great storyline coupled with great acting.
Perfectly cast Al Pacino is on fire, Cameron Diaz acting (before she reverted to family fun/voiceover easy money again) and a brilliant Jamie Foxx bursted onto the scene. All backed up with a fantastic supporting cast (way too many to list) and Oliver Stone on top form.
The transfer is great, clean and crisp. It's a colourful sport and the HD helps complement that. Sound is, Dolby TrueHD giving us a pretty authentic sound of the stadium during the action scenes.
Audio: Spanish DD; French DD; German DD; Italian DD.
Subs: Portuguese; Danish; Dutch; Finnish; French; German; Italian; Korean; Norwegian; spanish; Swedish
on 16 May 2008
Don't like NFL football - Not a problem!
Many people that love the Rocky movies are not die hard boxing fans - What AGS does is to take the exciting bits, the touchdowns, the big hits, the fast runs & maximise them, cutting out all the more static parts of a real life game. American Football fans will LOVE it but then again so will Action movie fans! Think of it as Rollerball without the bikes...
It's one of Oliver Stone's most underrated movies, with all the trademark
touches to the direction. There's the usual intensity to the editing and real visual flair throughout. Principal leads, Al Pacino and Jamie Foxx burn on screen as jaded head coach & fame obsessed quarterback of the fictional Miami Sharks, respectiveley.
Stone directs the razor sharp dialogue as intenseley as the game play which is fast, hard & adrenaline packed!
The cast is REALLY strong; LL Cool J, James Woods, Charlton Heston in a brief cameo, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid and everyone plays off well against each other.
There's full acting parts also for real life ex pro-footballers such as Jim Brown & Lawrence Taylor who all handle the task superbly.
As always in Stone's movies, there is a big focus on the politics involved and the money corrupts scenario. The glitz & glamour of the game is shown in full but also its dark underbelly.
The soundtrack is fantastic, a great mix of both the urban music of the time (1999) & rock classics such as Black Sabbath's Paranoid. If you like Rap, Hip Hop & Metal, you'll really enjoy this. One great scene is in the locker room where the white guys vie for boom box supremacy with the black lads, blasting out Metallica's Motorbreath against the competing R n B music! LL Cool J even gets in on the soundtrack as does Jamie Foxx with the excellent title track. There's also a fair bit of Moby here which is often used for the more emotive scenes.
Deleted scenes are excellent, my favourite being where you see Madman (one of the 6ft plus blockers) in the locker room, attending to a shrine he has built to his heroes, Metallica - That's a fan!
It's an adult movie with liberal use of the F-Word, some nudity ( one locker scene will make many of us guys feel inadequate!) & there is one gruesome scene during the final game that is literally eye popping!!!
Simply a VERY cool film!
on 28 April 2001
Another superb film by Oliver Stone. This film makes you feel, as if you are on the field and playing football. Wonderful cast, Al Pacino is cracking as always. Brilliant soundtrack and lots of extras. DO NOT MISS!!!
on 14 June 2001
Any Given Sunday isn't about American football. It's about humanity. It's about how people with different agenda's different priorities, different backgrounds and generations co-exist. In this movie they don't. Stones captures the inner turmoil suffered by prominent indiviuals involved in the game of football with typical panache. He's moved on a lot since JFK, he still wants to make a point and where there is no political axe to grind, he focuses on everyday life, with everyday problems that in truth are bigger than we could always ever credit. Stone puts a lot of things into perspective for us. Pacino, as ever, gives a mean performance, newcomer Jamie Foxx should have joined hollywooods a-list with this performance and Cameron Diaz proves that she is more than just a pretty face. A brilliant awe inspiring movie.
on 12 December 2013
I watch a lot of films, i'll watch most things but even though I bought this I couldn't watch it all the way through. Very thin storyline, no interest generated in the characters, and the overpowering soundtrack is just awful. Straight to the recycling pile for my copy.
on 17 May 2014
This movie becomes more predictable and formulaic as it goes on, but the direction is so hyperactive that you might not notice that until you think about it in retrospect . . . although I'm not sure that it's the kind of movie that invites reflection. Basically, it's about a cocky young quarterback (Jamie Foxx) having to learn that (as the cliche goes) there's no "i" in "team." I'm going to assume, though, that that familiar plot is used only as a pretext on which Oliver Stone can hang a critique of the culture of football. No one comes off well here. Miami Head Coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino) and his defensive co-ordinator Montezuma Monroe (Jim Brown) talk of the lost "purity" of football, but their actions belie their words. They're manipulative and driven -- and although Tony talks about being out-of-touch with the modern game, he resigns his job only to take another with an expansion team. The team owner, played by Cameron Diaz, seems to be concerned about the team's performance mainly because it is likely to affect the price she can get for it if she can find a West Coast buyer -- and her efforts to do that put her in hot water with the commissioner (a nice cameo by Charlton Heston, seen earlier in the movie on Tony's TV in the "Ben-Hur" chariot scene). Heston looks a little fragile -- it's touching to see a fading star in a movie in which the fading of stars (and their fading earning power) is something the movie dwells on. The veteran quarterback Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid) and an aging linebacker Shark Lavay (Lawrence Taylor) both play with the risk of life-changing injuries, one under bullying from this wife and the other because he needs a sack or two more to earn a bonus specified in his contract. There's a powerful scene in which Lavay schools the cocky young quarterback, and it all sounds quite high-minded -- except that Lavay himself is hanging on more for money than for anything else. Off the field, it's all drinking, drugging, prostitutes (high-end), and a general lack of impulse control. There's a funny scene in which Tony starts to talk to the high end girl who's servicing him about starting an ongoing relationship with him. She assumes that he means a "business" relationship -- when it appears that he doesn't, it's (as they say) awkward, though arguably the girl comes out of it with more dignity than Tony.
The Jerry Maguire mantra "Show me the money" is very much part of this movie too, then. What messes one's responses up a bit, however, is the frantic camerawork in the on-field scenes. I think this is a serious flaw, because it doesn't seem to represent anything real. Professional players don't perceive the game this way -- in reality the game is violent and stressful, but it isn't chaotic: these guys know their jobs. And fans don't perceive the game this way -- they're at a distance, in the seats, where they can see the developing patterns of the plays. So what point of view does the camera represent? I think it's Stone's view of how an ordinary fan might experience the battle "in the trenches," and that's a fake viewpoint that generates excitement and interest dishonestly or cheaply. It also involves the watcher pseudo-vicariously in something that other parts of the movie offer up as requiring criticism, even condemnation -- James Woods as the team doctor, along with Diaz as the owner being the ones for whom condemnation seems appropriate, but the rot is really everywhere, as I suggested above.
The acting is all that the plot and themes require. I'm not convinced that it required all that, say, Pacino or Foxx, is capable of. Diaz and Woods are given one-dimensional characters. It was nice to see Ann-Margaret, aging very gracefully, as Diaz's alcoholic mother, but her part is one-dimensional too ("This game took my husband . . ."!!!) Aaron Eckhart as Tony's replacement-in-waiting and Matthew Modine as a young doctor struggling not to become like James Woods are fine in small roles, as is LL CoolJ as a running back with an eye on making his bonus. Most involving performance? I would say Dennis Quaid as the aging and infirm QB -- he conveys his pride, his fear, his loyalty, and his courage, and the scene where his wife upbraids him when he talks about retirement is the most humanly involving in the movie. Good work, Dennis
on 3 December 2014
Although this film is centred on a football team, you don’t need to be an expert on American football to follow, understand or appreciate the movie. The movie follows Miami Sharks, a fictional football team, coached by Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino), who were once great but are now struggling. The story focuses on the conflicts the coach has not with just some of his players but also the new female owner who wants to get involved in team selection much to the disdain of long term coach D’Amato. The story also spends a fait bit of time of Jamie Fox’s character who is the rising star of the league and seems to be getting most of the attention off the field. His attitude and reaction to new found fame naturally causes some friction with coach D’Amato who doesn’t always start with him, much to the annoyance of the board room.
In all honesty the film is much longer than it needs to be at all 3 hours but is worth watching for some of the actions shots and realism alone! Al Pacino’s half time speech sees the actor at his best and has to be amongst his greatest movie moments!
I am not surprised that the NFL passed on getting behind "Any Given Sunday," because everybody in the Commissioner's office must be cringing at virtually every scene of the antics of these football players off camera. "North Dallas Forty" is still the best football movie made to date, but I have to admit I am somewhat surprised that this film was not more impressive. I would have thought that Oliver Stone filming football plays would be awesome. But while he does try to give us a sense of how FAST the games in the NFL are played I found myself cringing every time there was a slow motion shot of a pass hanging forever in the air. The drama of a pass play is seeing it develop, but if all you see is the ball you have no idea of who the ball is being thrown to, how well he is covered, or anything that makes the play exciting. Stone pulls this gambit several times and it never works once. The touchdown routines after the scores are choreographed better. And do not even get me started about the bit with the eye...
Off the playing field every character has their own clichÃ©. The whole subplot with Cameron Diaz as the team owner is painful (but no one is wasted more in this film than Ann-Margaret as her mom) and Lawrence Taylor's performance as a toned down version of himself nicknamed the "Shark" is negated by the melodramatic waiting question of what will happen if he is hit wrong. Dennis Quaid tries to bring some poignancy to the final days of a once great quarterback, but unfortunately he has Lauren Holly as a psychotic wife. The Dallas Knights have the ugliest football uniforms in the history of the known universe, but, hey, isn't that Johnny U. roaming the sidelines as their coach? That sure is Jim Brown preaching the gospel of defense to his troops. Then again, I liked Willie Beamon's game ritual (and the way it becomes taken as a sure sign of good things to come); Jamie Fox, ironically enough, ends up being one of the most realistic characters in the film. Still, when the best scene in the film is coach Al Pacino's pep talk before the big game or the punch line that caps off the end credits, that is not really a great selling point for a football movie. But at least that scene makes up for all the scenery chewing and maudlin reflections Pacino has to do throughout the rest of the movie.
Oh, and did I mention that the clips from "Ben-Hur" keep going out of sequence? Apparently Charlton Heston did not point that out when he did his cameo as the Commissioner. But like most of the problems in this film, Oliver Stone covers it by distracting us with music or simply pumping the volume up on the soundtrack. "Any Given Sunday" is disappointing because you look at the talent on both sides of the camera and you really expected just so much more.