Any Given Sunday (1999)

Drama, Sport
Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, James Woods
A behind the scenes look at the life and death struggles of modern day gladiators and those who lead them.
Sometimes entertaining, but overall Any Given Sunday is a disappointment coming from Oliver Stone.
  • Warner Bros. Pictures Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 22 Dec 1999 Released:
  • 05 Sep 2000 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Sports in its most brutal moments7/10

Wild and outrageous, Any Given Sunday gives the viewer a glimpse into an athletic world not too far from the real thing. While some of the scenes were a little too over the top, it proved to be a very enjoyable experience. As a major football fan, I was disappointed in the fact the NFL did not allow Stone to use their logos and stadiums. Oh well, I seemed to enjoy the fictional league even better, even if some of the team uniforms were a dreadful. Jamie Fox portrayed Willie Beamon perfectly, epitomizing the selfish athlete with a cultured ease. While the speed of Beamon's rise proved to be a little too quick, the message in the rise and fall of stardom was more poignant than anything.
Very Underrated and Well Overlooked10/10
It seems that many people dislike this movie and I can see why. First of all it shows that professional athletes are far away from being perfect. A lot farther than we would like to believe. The movie shows that many athletes as we know are just out their for the money. It also shows the corruption in the owners and politicians. But for me, all of this is good thing. I like seeing a movie that does not include glory in sports.

Another aspect of the movie was the cast. I thought the cast that was put together was very well put together. I was especially surprised at the performance of Cameron Diaz. I thought she played very well as the viscous and corrupt owner. Specifically in the part were she black-mails the mayor into giving the team money for a new stadium. Jamie Foxx also gave a very well played performance as the new upcoming quarterback. His role shows that he has become sick with fame and fortune and has seem to forgotten who helped to reach his superstar status. For example when he ignores most of the plays called in and decides to run the game the way he wants to. He reaches as point were he just flat out ignores everyone. For example he says: "I'm trying to win coach. I ain't trying to disrespect nobody, but winning is the only thing I respect." I think Oliver Stone shows that this is the problem we have in our society, that everything is about winning. His relationship falls apart with his girlfriend and seems to believe that their is nothing that could stop him. He almost reaches a point were he believes he is like a god. But, he realizes he needs a wakeup call or he will end up like the some of the people around him. I liked the way Dennis Quaid played as the long time starting quarterback who nearly becomes paralyzed. Now my initial reaction after he got hit was that his family would want him to immediately retire. What happened was the opposite, his wife wanted him to risk being paralyzed and brain damage so he can get one more contract although Dennis Quaid was trying to explain to her that he is worried about what might happen to himself. Or one of the confrontations between wife and husband when he mentions to her that they should put the kids to bed and the wife responds by saying:"Why can't we hire a maid?" This also adds on to Jamie Foxx's role and shows that the players are pressurized by their families towards good decisions and bad decisions and that the families have also lost touch with what is important in life. As well with Lawrence Taylor's role which shows the player-doctor relationship and the role that age and lack of education forcing players to push themselves over the limit for that last bonus, knowing after they retire they may not survive in the real world. LL Cool J's role as the star running-back shows that he no longer cares about the team or the game itself and feels threatened by Jamie Foxx because he has brought a new style of playing to the team and they tend to not agree with each other but above all with this new style of play may not let him reach a certain amount of rushing yards to reach his bonus. Again Jamie Foxx comes into this part of the movie at the end when he hurts his arm but does not tell anyone worried what might happen to his career. I think overall this show that their is too much emphasis in sports and I'm saying this even though I'am a big sports fan.

A very interesting part of the movie is the Al Pacino's role as the head coach. His ongoing fighting with Cameron Diaz shows the relationship between owner and coach. The coach wants to win games and have control of the team but the owner wants the money, the power and the credit for building a team. Pacino has fallen into a slump and doesn't like the ways are looking for the future of the his job and the sport. For example when he says: "It's TV, it changed everything, changed the way we think forever. I mean the first time they stopped the game to cut away to some commercial that was the end of it. Because it was our concentration that mattered, not theirs, not some fruitcake selling cereal." He believes the game no matters any more it is the money and this is what I believe is the main point of the movie. It is no longer the game that matters it is the people who put the money into it and this is what has been or what will be the downfall of sports or really anything.

I think that a good message through all these downfalls is that if you stick together and focus on your goal you will succeed no matter how big the obstacle, hence the title "Any Given Sunday".
A Dizzying, Entertaining Peek Into Pro Football...Stone Style7/10

Sports movies are tough to make. Creating the essence of the actual event is the toughest. Most films fall short in the editing process of the event or through sheer carelessness and lack of knowledge. ANY GIVEN SUNDAY is somewhat of an exception. It is hard-hitting and bloody like NORTH DALLAS FORTY. It is actually conventional when you think about it, like a warped RUDY. It is a hell of a lot more realistic than say, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS. These are all football films with varying degrees of success (except ROUGHNESS), but Oliver Stone, in his usual over the top way, throws a dizzying, mind-splitting film at us, much like the sport itself. This is why I liked it.

Oliver Stone began a wicked spell of filmmaking with JFK, evident in its editing style. Fast-paced, black and white mixed with color, documentary-like methods ensued in NATURAL BORN KILLERS, NIXON, and the ghastly U-TURN. Nothing is new here with ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. Football is a battlefield Stone chooses to depict and depict it he does. Even the most ardent fans of the sport do not really know what it is like for a quarterback to drop back and get rid of a piece of pigskin before 11 players maul him. You certainly get the idea watching this.

Al Pacino is the dried up head coach of the fictional Miami Sharks and he barks out the usual coaching cliches you hear in press conferences after real games. Pacino also seems to be sleep-walking through the picture. At times, he appears drunk even when he is not supposed to be. Cameron Diaz's character, a young chick owner, (yeah right) destroys any credibility the film may have had going in (Even the NFL would have nothing to do with this movie). Her constant bickering is so over-done, you almost feel like hurling much the way Jamie Foxx does every time he enters a game as the team's 3rd string quarterback. Realisticly speaking, this is not a very sane film about football. It is a maniacal celebration of the game. The scenes on the field are the ones I cherished. Beware of the locker room or domestic sequences.

No one has ever put such energy into football scenes in a film before. He definitely had some good consultants. There are some comical cameos - Johnny Unitas and Dick Butkus play opposing coaches. Lawrence Taylor can actually act a teeny bit and Jim Brown shares the film's best off the field scene with Pacino in a bar. Stone tries to show us how the game has changed. He resonates past glory with quotes from Lombardi, dissolves showing Red "the Galloping Ghost" Grange, and even Unitas handing off to Ameche. TV has changed everything, says the coach, and he is right. It seems to be all about the money nowadays.

That is the message, but you'll find yourself losing that idea in the lunacy of ANY GIVEN SUNDAY and the bone-crushing, ear-damaging football scenes. They are filmed and cut with such raw intensity, you feel like playing afterwards. This is definitely a film for football fans only unless you like big, sweaty men. Is there a big game at the end that needs to be won? Yes, and this surprised me considering how unconventional Stone usually is. Basically, surrender your senses and thought process to Stone's most entertaining film in quite some time.

RATING: ***
What professional football is really like...8/10
Tony D'Amato(Al Pacino) is the head coach of the Miami Sharks who are owned by the Christina Pagniacci(Cameron Diaz) who is using the Miami Franchise only for profit. Trouble stirs up after long time star quarterback Cap Rooney(Dennis Quaid)is injured along with his back up bringing in third string quarterback Willie Beamen(Jamie Foxx) who becomes the face of the franchise after having great game after great game. The only problem is that he plays only with his head and not with his heart, with an aging team that needs an emotional leader to guide them to victory. Also Starring: James Woods, Matthew Modine, LL Cool J, Bill Bellemy, Lawrence Taylor, Charelton Heston, Aaron Eckhart, and John C. McGinley.

In a cinema that rarely produces pro football movies, this is the cream of the crop. It captures the reality along with the heroic story of a nobody rising to the top. The movie is humorous, dramatic, and a thriller for all sports fans.

This is not only one of Oliver Stone's best films but this is also the start of Jamie Foxx's "good" acting career. Forget what the critics said about Collateral or Ray being the beginning for Jamie Foxx. It was Any Given Sunday. Willie Beaman is a complex character and Foxx nailed the part. He was magnificent. He played the part to perfection and out shined the great Al Pacino. The supporting cast was also incredible with great performances from Cameron Diaz, LL Cool J, James Woods, and surprisingly John C. McGinley. It is very rare to find a great dramatic football movie but this is definitely one those small few.

Overall, this is one of the greatest sports movies of all time and it is highly enjoyable for adult audiences.

I highly recommend this movie.
Not quite a touchdown, but at least Stone is back8/10

Oliver Stone is one of the most, if not THE most, passionate filmmakers working today. He's also a talented filmmaker, which a lot of people seem to forget. When both his talent and passion are at full strength, the results are impressive(SALVADOR, PLATOON, JFK, NIXON). When the passion is still there, but the talent is tripped up by his passion and ambitions, he makes flawed movies which are still powerful(WALL STREET, TALK RADIO, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, HEAVEN AND EARTH). But when he goes outside of his passions, for either experiments(NATURAL BORN KILLERS), or to make "mainstream" movies(U-TURN), he misses wide. NATURAL BORN KILLERS, to me, was a worse film, but U-TURN was, in a way, even more dispiriting, because the former you could at least excuse as an experiment gone wrong, whereas the latter screamed "Cash-in!" You felt after watching Stone was too tired to fight anymore.

Well, as ANY GIVEN SUNDAY proves, Stone, like his on-screen alter-ego, Tony D'Amato(Al Pacino), may look tired, but he's still got fight left in him. Many have seen football as war, so it's appropriate Stone has long wanted to make a movie about football. And as Spike Lee did with HE GOT GAME, Stone wants us to see not only the glory of the actual playing(as well as how tough it is to earn that glory), but also the corrupt forces which are pervading it today. After all, we decry flashy players, and then complain about those who are too boring, we talk about tradition out of one side of our mouth and demand the game be updated out of the other side, we call white players who exhibit boorish behavior "colorful" while calling black players who exhibit similar behavior "punks"(and that's putting it mildly), we complain about players who are overpaid while thinking nothing of owners who spend lavishly on themselves and move teams around, we complain about football being too dominated by TV yet sit around like couch potatoes every Sunday and Monday night, we react with horror when players get hurt badly and get addicted to drugs, yet we yell at them to murder each other on the field and call those who don't chicken(to put it mildly), and so on.

This is a wide canvas to cover, and yet Stone does a pretty good job of it. Especially good is how the relationship between D'Amato and his new quarterback Willie Beamon(Jamie Foxx) encompasses a lot of that canvas. There are two scenes in particular which stand out; one where D'Amato sits with Willie on the plane and tries to talk to him, but can't think of anything which doesn't sound patronizing from Willie's point of view(like music, where D'Amato thinks the fact he's mentioning black jazz musicians is supposed to mean something), and the scene at D'Amato's house, where Beamon talks of how, in the past, "playing for the team" was code for "Know your place, boy," and have things really changed? Willie has to learn that playing for the team really does mean, as quarterback, getting them to respect you so they'll play for you, and Tony has to learn that tradition can't be stodgy, that it has to accept change.

Stone is less sure in other aspects. Cameron Diaz does a good job as the team's owner, but her character is a little too one-dimensional at times. It would have been more interesting to have here not just talk in terms of money, but that the game, to her, really is more interesting the way Willie plays it(maybe I'm biased, but I'm a fan of more pass-oriented games). And while I don't think Stone is as misogynist as he's been charged with in the past, certainly it's evident here. It's one thing to say there are groupies in football, it's another thing to delight in showing them. There are sympathetic woman here, particularly Ann-Margaret as Diaz's mother, who shows what being a football wife costs, and Lela Rochon as Willie's girlfriend, who is unwilling to have that happen to her(the scene at the party, where she feels both isolated from Willie and the other wives, is nicely drawn). Finally, Stone can't resist the ROCKY-type cliches near the end.

But though it's flawed, there's still a lot of power here. Except for Lauren Holly, who I'm not a big fan of, the acting is all around excellent, particularly Foxx. I was particularly impressed with how well the athletes did as actors, particularly Jim Brown(though he's an actor, so this isn't surprising) and Lawrence Taylor. And, of course, all the football scenes are terrific and feel real. It's always good when you see on screen what you can't see watching the game on TV, and Stone accomplishes that here. Call it not quite a touchdown, but a film which convinces us Stone still has fight left in him.