Movie: Draft Day
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Sonny Weaver Jr (Kevin Costner) is having a stressful day. His father, legendary football coach Sonny Weaver, has recently passed away. His girlfriend and employee, Ali (Jennifer Garner), just told him he is about to be a father. And in 11 hours Sonny, the GM of the Cleveland Browns, must parlay his team’s #7 draft pick into a “Big Splash” per orders of team owner Anthony Molina (Frank Langella). That will be when the team must reveal its picks on national TV. No pressure there….
Sonny gets a call from the Seattle Seahawks GM to see if he wants to make a deal for their #1 pick in the draft. After some soul searching, Sonny agrees to give up their #1 picks for the next three years to get this year’s #1 pick in the draft. Now he has a few hours to figure out what to do with his pick. The overwhelming favorite in the draft is golden boy QB Bo Callahan (Josh Pence). Cleveland has a competent QB, but will he come back strong after an injury from last season? Then there is a defensive monster Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman) who probably would have still been available at #7, and the Browns desperately need a defensive stopper, but he won’t make a “splash” if picked. Cleveland Coach Penn (Dennis Leary) has only one thing to drill into Sonny’s head: “Draft a running back”!
As the precious hours tick away, Sonny exhorts his staff to research the players he is interested in, and tempers flare under the mounting pressure not to screw up their picks. In between visits to a closet for private chats with girlfriend Ali (which are always interrupted), fending off his mother and ex-wife, and making frantic phone calls to about 5 GMs around the NFL, Sonny is trying to “Get the team that I want just one time”.
As the TV cameras roll and Cleveland is “on the clock” to make picks, Sonny plays his hand like a three card monte dealer on crack. It is guaranteed to make your head spin as the movie comes to a climax. Even people who know nothing about football can enjoy this movie; it is all about the characters, and the level of suspense to find out if Sonny’s hopes turn out to be a boom or bust.
Actors to Watch: Frank Langella is always a joy to watch. He is one of a handful of actors who have the gravitas for certain roles. It was good to see old pro Sam Elliott as Coach Moore, though very briefly.
Dialogue Nuggets: Ellen Burstyn, Sonny’s Mom exclaimed, “You sold the cow for magic beans”!
Talking about Bo, the star QB: “He has a website for all the girls he smashed”.
Sonny complaining, “Everyone always gives me grief for firing my father”!
Owner Anthony Molina smugly stated, “I can’t take all the credit, but I will”.