Any Given Sunday (1999)

Oliver Stone’s attempt at the definitive late-century pro football saga is as thunderous and abusive a film as you could hope for—albeit at some cost to narrative, character, and visual space. The movie manages to moralize about America’s favorite pituitary-fueled blood sport—the film doesn’t shy away from showing us the game’s harrowing physical costs, social damage, false dreams of individual glory, and commercial soullessness—and love the testosterone-heavy warfare all the same. The story hits every point: the primary (fictional) team is coached by an aging, exhausted vet (a truly haggard Al Pacino), managed by the fiery, greedy daughter of the original owner (Cameron Diaz), quarterbacked by a past-his-prime, drug-pumped all-star (Dennis Quaid), and ostensibly rescued by a hotshot (Jamie Foxx) with a race-card chip on his shoulder and an ego that, soon enough, gets him into big trouble with his own defensemen. Stone’s freeway-pileup style of filmmaking tries for nothing but unleashed energy, so this might best be enjoyed in a testosterone-amped home theater on Super Bowl Sunday—before the game, but after the drinking has begun.


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