Review: Draft Day
With football season over and many fans looking towards baseball, what better time to release a football movie! While the technical aspects of Draft Day are entertaining, the acting and script make this a bore.
The best way to describe Draft Day’s plot is taking that one scene in Moneyball where Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill fool other teams into thinking less of players so that the Athletics can get what they want. It was my favorite scene in Moneyball, but Draft Day stretches the premise so thin that it breaks early on in the movie. There isn’t that tension that builds up as a season goes on and seeing the successes and failures of your choices. The only tension that effectively builds is during the tension of making a pick when a team is on the clock. The rest of the movie focuses on Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) and his family issues, namely with his secret girlfriend Ali (Jennifer Garner). It never hits the right tones that it’s aiming for and instead just leaves the audience bored. I heard two separate people snoring during the family drama scenes. This is exacerbated by the lackluster script which can’t figure out how to properly convey emotions other than stressed. Any twist or turn in the plot can be seen miles away and undercuts the emotions that the actors are attempting to convey.
Draft Day’s main issue is that there isn’t enough meat in the plot. Much of this could have been reworked to remove the fat or unnecessary sub-plots, but then we’d barely have a movie to release. I would have rather seen a documentary on the real life stressed caused by draft day in the NFL. That would have been much more interesting and sustained an audience’s attention for an hour and a half.
An unplanned effect of releasing this movie after the NFL season has ended is that teams aren’t in the places they were in 2013 (when this was filmed). Coming off a recent Super Bowl win, it’s hard to believe that the Seattle Seahawks would have the #1 pick. The rest of the teams will probably cheer that their franchise is featured in a movie, but since most are at the bottom to middle of the league it ends up being a slap in the face. At least they picked the Cleveland Browns, whose history of losing ads some much needed purpose to the team’s efforts.
Draft Day is essentially one big commercial for the NFL, and they don’t need more publicity. Nothing even remotely bad about the organizations or its players is said. And if they are, there is some loophole that will show that they aren’t as bad as they seem and that the media was grilling them unnecessarily. Anyone who occasionally watches ESPN will know that isn’t the case and it makes the movie come off as cheesy. If you live and breathe football, you’ll enjoy Draft Day. As an avid baseball fan, a few of the jokes about past draft picks failing flew right over my head, but football fans in the theater seemed to enjoy them.
The acting is average at best as no one can seem to muster any interest in the movie. Kevin Costner is likable as Sonny Weaver, but flounders in any scene that isn’t about football. Costner starts to have some fun with the role while negotiating with teams about players and the audience can pick up on this. These scenes are the best in the movie and had me actually entertained. He has zero chemistry with Jennifer Garner, and it becomes painful to watch as he tries to show some sort of emotional connection with her. Speaking of Garner, she seems to be the only one slightly enjoying her role. Denis Leary, as the coach of the Browns, tries his best to make the script his own but is giving nothing to work with besides bitch and moan. There are numerous cameos from football commentators (mostly from the NFL Network and ESPN) and their acting is about as stiff as you would expect. Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, makes a quick appearance. Surprisingly his delivery wasn’t terrible and seemed somewhat natural acting.
While this doesn’t affect the score, I do have some questions about the marketing team for this movie. Did they completely phone this movie’s campaign in? The poster is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while, and the screening I attended was imploring fans to use countless hash tags and tagging real life people. It seems that they couldn’t be bothered marketing this movie to an audience and figured they’d just leave it up to the fans to spread the word.
Draft Day gets 2/5
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