Draft Day Review
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Throughout his career, Kevin Costner has made some legendary sports films—particularly baseball movies like Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and Sam Raimi’s For Love of the Game. But, for Draft Day, he switches sports, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of managing a pro football team.

Costner stars as Sonny Weaver, Jr., general manager of the struggling Cleveland Browns. With the NFL’s draft just hours away, Sonny finds himself bombarded by differing opinions. His boss (Frank Langella) wants him to make a bold move. His coach (Denis Leary) wants to call the shots. And his fans are desperate for a winning team.

As tensions rise, egos clash, and personal dramas play out all around him, Sonny tries to choose the best new player for his team without losing his job in the process.

It may be a movie about a football team, but Draft Day isn’t really a sports movie. It isn’t about a team of underdogs battling their way to a championship title—and, aside from some archive footage and a couple of scouting clips, you won’t see any actual football plays. It’s more of a sports management drama that plays out much like a Wall Street thriller—or even a high-stakes poker game, with competitors wheeling, dealing, and often bluffing their way to the preferred outcome.

If you’re looking for an inspirational, rah-rah gridiron drama, then, you’ll probably be disappointed. There are no roaring crowds or thrilling plays to give you that sports-induced rush. Instead, the action and drama come in the form of heated war room debates and tense phone calls—with some distracting personal melodrama thrown in as filler. And instead of big, sweeping shots of a packed stadium—or close-ups of determined players—director Ivan Reitman attempts to give the film more visual interest by playing with flashy split-screens.

On the other hand, though, you don’t have to be a football fan to understand the pressures involved in putting a team together—and you don’t have to know the difference between a quarterback and a running back to appreciate the shrewd deals that Sonny has to make on the fly. It has a different kind of energy, with egos and attitudes colliding into a whole lot of yelling, screaming, red-faced men. But after the wheeling and dealing is over, the outcome might still give you something to cheer about.

It may not be the traditional sports drama, but Draft Day still fits the familiar inspirational sports movie formula, with the conflicts taking place in the front office instead of on the field. So as long as you don’t go into it expecting a lot of football action, you can still enjoy the behind-the-scenes drama of this unconventional football movie.

Blu-ray Review:
Draft Day is a different kind of football drama—one that focuses on the business of football instead of the playing of football. And if you’re fascinated by the NFL’s inner workings, you’ll want to check out the film’s special features. In addition to a handful of deleted scenes and an audio commentary with the film’s writers, the special features menu has two in-depth offerings, including Welcome to Primetime, which offers a closer look at the draft itself—at its history and its popularity.

For an interesting mix of football and film, there’s the hour-long On the Clock: The Making of Draft Day. This extensive feature takes a look at the film itself—at the inspiration, the research, the casting, the locations, the editing, the music...you name it. But it also offers more insight into the film’s unprecedented access into the NFL—from filming at the actual NFL draft to working closely with both the league and the Cleveland Browns. It’s an eye-opening feature—one that will give football fans and outsiders alike a new perspective on the film and the league.

Of course, now that football season is starting up again, you might not have a lot of extra time to check out these lengthy extras. But if you’ve got some time between games, they’re definitely worth a look.

Listen to the review on Reel Discovery:

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