Any Given Sunday


Directed by: Oliver Stone
Written by:Daniel Payne, John Logan
Starring: Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, James Woods,  Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine, Jim Brown, Charlton Heston, Aaron Eckhart, Ann-Margret, Lauren Holly
Released: May 11, 2000
Grade: A-

Any Given Sunday is an intense look at professional football but it could apply to any sport.  Tony D’Amato (Pacino) is coach of the Miami Sharks and is under heavy pressure.  They’ve just lost three successive games to take their season to 7-5 and any playoff chances appear to be slipping away.

On Tony’s back is team owner Christina Pagniacci (Diaz) who is threatening to release him from contract unless the team improves but Tony has little respect for Christina.  Things get even worse when star quarterback, Jack Rooney (Quaid) is injured and will be lucky to play again this season.  Forced to blood new talent, he uncovers third-string quarterback Willie Beaman (Foxx) who over the space of several weeks rises from the ranks bringing success to both himself and the team. 

The class attribute of Any Given Sunday is Oliver Stone’s direction.  It’s “in your face” and the football scenes are extremely well directed.  Be warned, the editing is very, very fast.  I felt at times I was watching one of those Japanese animations that caused children to go into hypnotic spasms.  There are going to be many viewers who can’t keep the pace and will require several panadol afterwards.

Sport is extremely difficult subject material to analyse and screenwriters Daniel Payne and John Logan have done their homework.  The passionate addresses delivered by Pacino are inspiring and would provide a great lift for any sportsman.  This is epitomised by the line “there’s more to football than just winning”.

The longer this film went, the more interesting it became.  Shot in a documentary-like style, many “behind the scene” viewpoints are shown that are more intriguing than the actual games themselves.  Those unfamiliar with gridiron are guaranteed to find themselves confused which will diminish the power of the film.  For the rest, Any Given Sunday is a captivating sport flick with a top soundtrack and plenty of appeal.