You walk into every movie with a certain set of expectations, but also the understanding that not all of them can be masterpieces. One only needs to consider the percentages of these things, or take a quick glance at Ashton Kutcher’s Rotten Tomatoes page (he’s never been in a film with a higher than 50% rating. Ever. I feel like this is one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of Western Civilization hat tip Bill Walton).
But certain films, the ones you know will be riddled with clichés and lazy subplots, somehow takes much less convincing than others. It’s probably as simple as this: toss me any sports film with elements of trading and drafting players, and I’m down. What? There’s even references to the salary cap? I’m all in.
My thoughts on “Draft Day”, or maybe I should have titled this “Hov did that, so hopefully you won’t have to go through that”:
This movie has all the clichés you could ask for: Kevin Costner as the general manager of a team that the city has lost hope in (here, take a few guesses, yes, it’s the Cleveland Browns), who is told on draft day by his owner to make a splash, and at the same time has to deal with the recent passing of his father, a new head coach who doesn’t agree with his draft strategy and the aforementioned salary cap manager (played by Jennifer Garner) who is also pregnant with his child. It’s all there.
Speaking of splash, mini-spoiler although I tend to think spoilers only apply to good movies because they really don’t detract from your enjoyment of a film like Draft Day or at the possibility that you might even watch it, the fictional Browns owner literally takes Costner’s character to a run-down theme park somewhere in parts unknown, Cleveland and explains how people once paid to go down a waterslide because they wanted to see a splash. Alright, if I wasn’t all in before, I was after this scene.
Even in a fictional movie, the Browns can only win the draft and nothing more.
The football side of the story is a bit absurd, but I have to say it was thrilling to see Costner (spoilers ahead) trade away three first rounders to Seattle in exchange for the first overall pick, then pick the guy who he could have had with his original first rounder at seventh, then strong arm the Jaguars into trading them their sixth, then getting all of their first rounders back by pressuring Seattle to move up to sixth to get the quarterback that they wanted. Did you follow all of this? I swear, the way it unfolded in the movie was a lot of exciting.
Shoutouts I: to the Jacksonville Jaguars general manager, who they basically put “timid, unsure, bumbling idiot” on the casting call sheet. I’m sure the Jags fans appreciated that.
Shoutouts II: DIDDY! Sean Combs, as he is listed in the ending credits, plays the agent to top quarterback prospect Bo Callahan in the movie. Even though Bo might have turned out to be Diddy’s riskiest move since signing Shyne, it’s always nice to see Combs on screen, if only because this increases his chances of somehow finding his way into every single award show next year. Also, obligatory link to No One On The Corner Has Swagga Like Puff.
One thing I did learn in the movie that I didn’t know before: in the 1989 Super Bowl, as the 49ers huddled down three points with 3:20 to go, Joe Montana pointed out John Candy in the stands to his teammates, to calm them down before leading the team to an eventual game winning drive. Pretty cool moment. Thanks, Jennifer Garner.
That’s it. If you were like me and decided you needed to watch Draft Day the minute you saw the first trailer, go and do so. You might roll your eyes a lot of you’re the judgmental type but you will be entertained. If not, listen to this guy and wait for Netflix.