Now, I enjoy football as much as the next gal (Go, Seahawks!), but I also know it is a game and it isn’t the end-all/be-all of the New World Order. Or at least it shouldn’t be. But Oliver Stone takes football very very seriously. He has footage of football players interspersed with gladiators fighting to the death and charioteers being run over by horses. Football is apparently the equivalent of that sort of noble awesome, but is it worth dying for?
Any Given Sunday opens with aging star quarterback Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid) of the Miami Sharks being sidelined with an injury, only to have his backup quarterback also be put out of commission on his first play. This disastrous chain of events thrusts untested third string quarterback Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx) into the role. Beaman barely survives his first outing (first thing he does is puke on the field, woo!), but has a curious sort of potential. Team owner Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) notices it more than cranky old coach Tony (Al Pacino), but she has more sway in decisions for the team, since after all, she is the daughter of the sainted previous team owner.
As Willie’s star rises and the respected Cap struggles to heal faster so that he doesn’t lose his job, it becomes a battle of the aging trying to hold onto their roles as the youngsters with their new, modern style push their way past them. Cocaine is snorted off of boobs. SUVs are sawed in half with chainsaws. Media-whore quarterbacks make it to the cover of ever major magazine except maybe Cat Fancy. And coaches, in the meantime, drink every night and pay for hookers. In other words: All the bad habits that is all of a sudden making the NFL look bad these days. Good times!
Any Given Sunday, now that it is 15 years old, feels like those (finally) somewhat dated manly beer commercials during football season where marketers didn’t quite realize that women not only liked beer, but they also liked football. It is a VERY butch movie, where manliness is measured by financial success, physical prowess, and apparently how much you can verbally fight with another man (or a woman who acts like a man… see Cameron Diaz in the token “She must be a ball-buster to get this far” role).
There is a lot of fury and posturing and bravado, and absolutely no fun. In a silly, unsubtle trick, Stone intersperses long-drawn out scenes from Ben-Hur (re: Gladiators) during an otherwise numbingly talky speech. Sure, we are looking at Charlton Heston and images of weather rather than at Al Pacino, but… really? Perhaps that is why Any Given Sunday wears out its welcome way before Sunday. We all know football is a long game, but the movie felt way longer than sitting on a couch watching the game on a Sunday afternoon.
The 15th Anniversary Blu-ray release features recycled extras from the previous Blu-ray release, including commentaries by Oliver Stone and Jamie Foxx, as well as deleted and extended scenes with commentary by Stone, music videos by LL Cool J and Jamie Foxx, outtakes, gag reels, etc. The lone new extra to note is a 30-minute retrospective featurette called Any Given Sunday: Anything Can Happen, where Stone and Co. look back on the film. Also included in this piece are several NFL names like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci, and retired players Marshall Faulk (St. Louis Rams) and Willie McGinest (New England Patriots) who all pitch in on why they love the film so much.