Draft Day: for NFL fans only. If you enjoy football, you will enjoy this film. In fact, your enjoyment may have a direct correlation to your involvement with professional football. The movie opens the morning of the day the NFL has its annual draft of college football players. The opening scene introduces you to the Cleveland Browns general manager, Sonny Weaver Jr., played by Kevin Costner. He’s at home having his first cup of coffee and a clock appears ticking off the time before the draft commences.
The clock is a recurring and effective device through the film. The fact that the movie uses names of NFL clubs, has scenes at the location where the draft actually occurs, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces team selections along with various real life sports announcers commenting on the draft provide a feel of reality, not often present in sports films.
For those of you into things NFL, the fact that the Cleveland Browns is the focus may provide special delight since they hold the distinction of “longest number of years making the worse draft selections”. Detroit’s a close second, and Oakland probably has the 21st century only lead but I’m pretty sure Cleveland reigns as the all-time “worst picks”.
Back to the movie: Costner gives an excellent performance and he carries the film. The female lead played by Jennifer Garner. Ho hum. Brief performances by Frank Langella as the Browns owner and Same Elliot as a college coach are excellent. The weak link is Denis Leary as the Browns coach but the real problem with the film if you are not an NFL fan is the side story involving General Manager Weaver and his mother, played by Ellen Burstyn. Weak script, not the actors.
The good news is the majority of the 109 minute movie is devoted to the draft, including the behind the scenes, phone calls, interaction with agents and players. The aerials of various stadiums are top notch. Director Ivan Reitman keeps the film moving as the clock ticks off the time before the draft commences and then more clocks for counting down to the draft selection. Reitman clearly had major cooperation by the NFL in making this movie. And since I am a football fan, I enjoyed my time spent watching this film.
Steven Guttman, Esq.