Any Given Sunday

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Oliver Stone is known for many, many things…his contribution of films to the American (Worldwide) public is among the most noteable; while his constant “conspiracy” therories may be something other. Among Stone’s accolades are such gems as “Platoon”, “Born on the Fourth of July” and “JFK”. And while his latest offerings haven’t offered near as much spice as the old ones, they stil manage to appetize the senses when they come out. Movies like “Natural Born Killers”, “Nixon” and “U-Turn” I feel are made more to create a controversy than to make an actual film. But what do I know? It’s with this latest offering from Stone that he has returned to his true form. Always a voyeur in the filming of his movies, Stone pulls out the stops in his latest effort, endowoing us with about every film trick in the book. His constant use of grainy and stock film are always put to good use and it’s never been better than with “Any Given Sunday”.

The film’s title, obviously, is an homage to the sport of football. Long thought to be sacreligous for being played on this day (and it’s addressed in the film as well), it’s become more of an American pastime than baseball. We meet Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) as the “been there done that” coach of the ficticious Miami Sharks. As a coach who has been through it all with the former owner and general manger of the team, he is given tremendous latitute with what to do with the team. The olny problem is that he has now passed on and has left the team to his daughter (Cameron Diaz). The team is in the midst of a losing streak when their best player and leader, “Cap” (Dennis Quaid) is sidelined for a month and must undergo yet another suregery. So it begins…after losing two quarterbacks in two plays (the second string QB goes down on one play), the burden falls on Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) to carry the team onto victory. While not being the best “team player”, it makes a point that Willie has a lot of natural talent, and is among the new breed of professional player, and not the type of player that Cap (a 38-year old veteran) is. After the team gets on a winning streak again, Willie becomes the object of everyone’s affection and has the ego to prove it. He wastes no time in practically isolating himself from his friends, family and loved ones and we see that this story is more about relationships between players and coaches than anything else.

Sporting an all-star cast (as do most of Stone’s films), we see and learn that this is no ordinary football movie. Not only is it time for some of the players to bow out and retire, we see the relationships crumble and see more fake personalities than we can handle. While bearing that logo of being “an Oliver Stone film” which Stone plays a more noticeable (and convincing) role than in most of his movies, it’s also a good movie about football. A good football movie is something that we didn’t really have before this, as most of the other sports have been made into movies that are comedies or dramas. Overall, the cutting edge photography and extra long running time make it a movie that passes by in what seems like minutes. If you have the means…I would watch it again and again.

Video: How does it look?

I can really find no fault in this 2.35:1 presentation. The image is as clear as day, there are no signs of digital artifacting or elements in the least. There are several scenes in which a majority of the picture is completely black and the image looks just as good. The presentation seems to have a very “film” like quality to it which gives it all the more sheen. Edge enhancement is non-existent and I really don’t know how an image could get better.

Audio: How does it sound?

If there is something that Any Given Sunday has a lot of, it’s sound. Nearly every scene in this movie has some crunching of bones or a thumping beat of music. The sounds on the football field (which come to about 45 minutes of the movie) are awesome. You can hear and feel every hit, sack and throw of the ball which only adds to the natural tension of the film. Dialogue is very clean and free of any distortion errors. Some reference quality audio in addition to the video makes it all the better.

Supplements: What are the extras?

While not a full-blown special editon, Any Given Sunday has it’s share of extras. I think that due to it’s length, the amount of supplemental material that could be offered was affected. Still, Warner has managed to include the cast bios, original trailer a music video by LL Cool J and a 25 minute documentary making of the film. It’s quite enough to keep you entertained, as there is well over three hours in this disc. In addition, the DVD is the “director’s cut” which offers 6 additional minutes that wasn’t in theaters. Overall, another great offering from Warner.

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