‘Draft Day’ Is A Sportsball Movie And That Is Pretty Much Its Only Selling Point
In Draft Day, Kevin Costner is the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, and he’s got a big decision to make – go with his instincts and draft the player he has a gut feeling about, or bow to popular opinion and get the hot prospect quarterback. Members of the Amish faith, the Hutterite Brethren, and other groups that don’t have access to a television will be ASTOUNDED at what happens next. The rest of us will see the ending coming a mile away, and that’s only one of the problems of the movie.
The main problem here is that Kevin Costner is simply too old for this role. He has zero chemistry with co-star Jennifer Garner, who for some reason is playing his secret lover and not his daughter. And at 59 years (that he’ll admit to) Costner is also too old to be playing a man trying to get out from under his legendary father’s shadow (and doesn’t Tom Cruise hold the copyright on that character anyway?).
Making a movie that focuses on the general manager is the second problem. The best football movies focus on fans: Big Fan (2009), Buffalo 66 (1998), or Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Or they focus on the coach: Remember the Titans (2000). Or a team of scrappy underdogs trying to beat the odds: The Longest Yard (1974), We Are Marshall (2006). Or the players: Brian’s Song (1971), North Dallas Forty (1979). You get the picture. The last movie that had a GM as a main character was Any Given Sunday (1999) and that movie SUCKED. Unfortunately Hollywood didn’t learn the lesson that literally everyone involved in football has more dramatic lives than the extremely wealthy people that run the show.
Which isn’t to say that this movie is incompetent. It moves along at a nice pace and there is a veritable all-star team of supporting players, most of whom deserve more screen time than they get here. The wheeling-dealing is fun, and the sets look like the real deal.
Unfortunately, Costner & Gang keep getting upstaged by the few seconds of football footage that appears onscreen. It’s a mistake to remind viewers that there is drama and excitement and a high stakes game being played outside the boardroom, and away from Draft Day’s camera.