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Overall Rating
2.66

Awesome: 10.4%
Worth A Look: 17.6%
Average: 22.4%
Pretty Bad26.4%
Total Crap: 23.2%

9 reviews, 71 user ratings


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Any Given Sunday
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Stone tries to pile-drive the audience but ends up boring us."
2 stars

Has Oliver Stone burned out on political cinema? There was a time when his movies seemed to matter -- when his vision, from the muckraking 'Salvador' to the notorious 'Natural Born Killers,' turned an ugly funhouse mirror on the American nightmare.

Two years ago, Stone made the offbeat film noir U-Turn, which for him amounted to goofing off. It was, admittedly, a relief to see him just settle down and have fun with a movie and not try to rock our conscience. But in Stone's new one, Any Given Sunday, he continues to goof off -- this time at very tedious length.

Stone's JFK warranted its three-hour-plus running time, as did his Nixon. But what made him think a movie about a fictional football team -- especially one with such a banal story -- needed to sprawl for two hours and forty-two minutes? Any Given Sunday is about Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino), head coach of the Miami Sharks, who are on a four-game losing streak. The Sharks' reliable veteran quarterback (Dennis Quaid, equally as reliable) has been sidelined, and the reins pass to an untested rookie, Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx). Willie is soon making up his own plays and "putting points on the board." He gets a big head, while Tony frets and gives the young hotshot many grim talkings-to. Meanwhile, team owner Cameron Diaz, who inherited the Sharks from Daddy, wants Tony to keep Willie on the field against Tony's (and pretty much everyone else's) better judgment.

Pacino injects the movie with what little life it has -- getting his voice up in his familiar airhorn bellow; pacing on the sidelines like a dark-maned lion; giving many, many inspirational halftime speeches for which Stone and co-writer John Logan should get down on their knees and thank Pacino for selling so effectively. James Woods is around, too, for about five minutes total; he plays an unscrupulous team doctor who just squirts the players with whatever drugs they need to keep going, and he performs the same function on the movie in his few scenes. But then he's fired, to be replaced by an atypically dull Matthew Modine as a younger and more idealistic doctor whose crises of conscience amount to nothing.

I think you'd have to be a very undiscriminating football die-hard to get anything out of Any Given Sunday. As drama, it's dead in the water; as a football movie, it fails because Stone's by-now-tiresome jumpy camera never lets you see what's going on in any of the games. The editing whizbang here makes Natural Born Killers look like Barry Lyndon; the movie should be called Any Given Shot. Stone jacks up the fake excitement with lots of punishing techno and rock-rap music, as if trying to jolt us awake (I nodded off several times anyway). The football sequences play like hyperactive commercials for a PlayStation football game. The style combines incoherence and aggression, a deadly mix.

Why did Oliver Stone want to do this movie? Maybe, at age 53, he's feeling his oats and wanted to dive headfirst into a revivifying pool of testosterone -- a king-hell Guy Movie (they should pump aftershave fumes into the theater to make the experience complete), where men are men and women are either scolds, whores, or bitches. (Stone has seldom known how to portray women, but Any Given Sunday is real neanderthal time.) The movie may be a sort of cinematic dose of Viagra for Stone -- he's trying to prove he can keep pounding harder and longer than anyone. I think he also sees himself as a cross between the beleaguered coach Tony and the agonized old quarterback played by Dennis Quaid. He may consider himself a man's man drowning in a world of young man's rules, and flailing frantically to stay afloat. It's as exhausting for us as it must be for him.

The best football movie -- 'North Dallas Forty,' a powerful example of everything this movie isn't -- came in at 119 minutes. Someone should have told Stone he could make a decent football movie at under two hours and still be considered macho. Size doesn't matter, Oliver.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1853&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/30/06 12:42:00
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User Comments

8/23/10 Matt Brilliant movie - too bad the real sport is nowhere near as enjoyable over 3.5 hours! 5 stars
7/10/10 rosemary I think it was a pretty good movie. that one black guy was big wow 4 stars
4/15/10 Jerome Cook some of us like this new look at football. fuck major league that movie was weak. 5 stars
9/24/09 brian LT makes it worth seeing. 4 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting storyline. 4 stars
7/27/08 The Dork Knight i'm pretty sure eyeballs don't litter football fields in real life 2 stars
2/23/08 Pamela White makes more of football than it really is 3 stars
10/29/07 Geoff Chapman Pretty decent. By the book sports movie, but still well done. 4 stars
2/13/07 johnnyfog Stone's acid trip version of football. 2 stars
9/26/04 NJ Cup Winner 95-00-03 The only Stone movie I have no use for..nice locker room scene tho 2 stars
3/09/04 Charles Tatum Nice to see Stone return to normal film making again (after the crappy "Nixon") 4 stars
8/16/03 Paul It was great 5 stars
8/13/03 3man It was okay but really have to like football to enjoy this. 3 stars
8/10/03 Nicole I was so excited to see this movie.....and very disappointed once I finally did. 2 stars
4/25/03 GMan Pompous arrogant shit, fuck diaz and pacino, and especially E-Funk for liking this tripe 1 stars
2/21/03 Dreamer nice movie... coulda been better 4 stars
1/23/03 Pinkline Jones Pacino Ought to know Better - Lost eyeballs and Vomit - Terrific! 2 stars
11/24/02 mack back 5 stars
8/26/02 john c. smith i loved it 5 stars
7/05/02 KMG SUCKS: It was mean-spirited, foul, loud, obnoxious, and had bitchy wives in it 1 stars
3/25/02 Veronica Foxx aka The Raven-Haired Temptress Laughable piece of trash. Just a lame ass attempt at "entertainment". Couldn't watch it all 1 stars
2/28/02 Tiffany Thunderhurst Impressive cast is fumbled. Also too much time in the muddle. 1 stars
9/17/01 Bri Yuck, Yuck, dicks, Yuck!!! 1 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk The best football movie ever! Brutally honest, and that's what pisses people off! 5 stars
8/07/01 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe Only reason its not TOTAL CRAP is the presence of the legendary Ann-Margret 2 stars
8/06/01 badfish What a bland piece of poop this was,not even the soundtrack could save this one. 1 stars
7/27/01 TLsmooth Pacino's locker room speech saved this one from ass-sucking. 2 stars
6/24/01 Monster W. Kung Nothing special. Not horrible, but I wouldn't pay to watch it again, that's for sure. 3 stars
6/10/01 CriticGirl Decent movie, but too long. Should have been made tighter. 3 stars
5/06/01 Subjective Man Stone's self indulgence overtakes the film 3 stars
4/30/01 Mitja Podgajski I love it.. .i love Cameron... ! 5 stars
4/03/01 Boy In The Designer Bubble I liked the black guy with the big willie!!! 3 stars
3/29/01 zippernek Cameron Diaz as a hard-nosed business person? hahahahahahaha 3 stars
3/27/01 Jun 170 minutes of fragmented stories that go nowhere. 1 stars
2/13/01 CJ O' Callaghan very good start, but gets a bit boring towards the end, still a very nice piece of work! 4 stars
1/21/01 dog all that matters is Al Pacino is in it. 4 stars
1/09/01 Elvisfan Same old same old from Ollie - JFK in a jock, Platoon in shoulderpads 2 stars
10/27/00 JC23 Doesn't rank as high as Stone's other effort's but entertaining nontheless 4 stars
10/26/00 Bender Its like a cross between Showgirls and North Dallas forty. 4 stars
10/24/00 Monday Morning Glossy, hi-quality filmmaking, always something to see. Music & Al's "inch" speech both A-1 4 stars
9/25/00 malcolm most real-looking sports aciton i've seen in a film. 4 stars
9/14/00 Hmm Plays better on video than it did in theaters 4 stars
9/07/00 The Bomb 69 this movie was all over the place 3 stars
9/07/00 Duaneadam Line you TV room with newspaper before viewing 1 stars
9/07/00 Chris Drake Dreadful but good!Music alas mostly weak;Pacino's 1/2time speech great;loved final comment 4 stars
8/16/00 Drew Vogel Don't believe the naysayers, this rocks 5 stars
8/01/00 Chen Kenichi See the English version, "When Saturday Comes" -- much better 2 stars
7/31/00 Mr J M HARWOOD Seriously one of the best movies i have ever seen 5 stars
7/28/00 matthew smith oliver stone at his hard hitting best 5 stars
5/27/00 Jaime N. Christley Loved NBK. Loved JFK. Hated this monstrosity. 1 stars
5/26/00 Bruce The editing made me nauseous 2 stars
4/17/00 punkass The football scenes are fantastic, and although there are cliches it does alright 3 stars
3/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Oliver Stone, FUCK YOURSELF!! You try to be profound & come off looking like a TRUE IDIOT! 1 stars
2/05/00 Heather Complete crap! 1 stars
1/30/00 Chet Patel This movie kicked ass, I'm glad this was the last movie I saw before New Years. 5 stars
1/23/00 majawat pffft 3 stars
1/05/00 adz' roomate lion it was like a 2 1/2 hour rap video 2 stars
1/03/00 SJKelley All production values, no script. Pacino, yes. Diaz, NO! Woods, what?! Quaid, snore. 2 stars
1/03/00 goodatty The movie showed football (life?) has many different stories going on at the same time. 4 stars
1/01/00 sexychick Puhleeze!!THis movie blows big balls!! 1 stars
12/31/99 bullit17 Subtle as an A-bomb. Stone screws up what could have been a decent (if cliche) story 2 stars
12/31/99 Tom I saw it and survey says, "It's a renter!" 2 stars
12/30/99 Harvey Richardson In Albany, the whole thearte left before the film ended, it was soooooooooo horid!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
12/30/99 Damian Lackey I can't describe how horrid this film was! I hated hated hated it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
12/29/99 inigma oh oh! please shot Cameron for her portral of the wwf "stephine" character in this movie! 1 stars
12/27/99 jenn "Blu Smrf" alright, can we say noisy? i walked out with and headache, but that was from the writing!!! 1 stars
12/26/99 Fortune Oliver Stone masturbates all over the screen on this one. That jackass. 1 stars
12/24/99 SteelyTrip Great acting, but the script is complete and utter testosterone- soaked shit. 2 stars
12/24/99 craig a. decent film, too much oliver stone symbolism 4 stars
12/23/99 Downtown Willie Browne Fuckin' amazing. Super acting, writing, cinematography, etc. Great use of Stone's insanity 5 stars
12/19/99 tpmedia This film explodes on the screen. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Dec-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  27-Jul-2000


Directed by
  Oliver Stone

Written by
  John Logan

Cast
  Al Pacino
  Dennis Quaid
  Cameron Diaz
  LL Cool J
  Jamie Foxx
  James Woods
  Matthew Modine



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