Draft Day isn’t a great movie and probably ranks in the bottom half of sports films, but there’s some entertainment value and Kevin Costner helps to elevate the material far beyond what it deserves. The direction is at least interesting by Ivan Reitman and the supporting cast, albeit not well utilized, is respectable.
Genre(s): Drama, Sports, Fantasy (for Browns fans)
Lionsgate | PG13 – 110 min. – $39.99 | September 2, 2014
THE MOVIE – 3.25/5
Kevin Costner must be the go-to man for the sports drama having Field of Dreams (baseball), Bull Durham (baseball), For the Love of the Game (baseball), Tin Cup (golf) and now Draft Day with the rare support of the NFL, though mainly because there’s nothing negative said about the League in this picture…
The story is the day-in-the-life of Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver Jr. (KEVIN COSTNER), a man with so much going on from his girlfriend, and team lawyer in charge of keeping tabs of the salary cap, Ali Parker (JENNIFER GARNER) revealing she is pregnant, the passing of his father a week before, and former Browns coach whom he had fired and, oh, he has the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft.
With team owner Anthony Molina (FRANK LANGELLA) more or less telling Sonny he needs to make a splash or else might be fired, he makes a, in the view of an NFL fan myself, boneheaded trade with the number one overall pick, Seattle Seahawks, giving up three first round picks for the top slot which, according to the prognosticators, will be for the best athlete in the draft: Wisconsin quarterback Bo Callahan (JOSH PENCE).
The trade being made, along with drawing the ire of new head coach Penn (DENIS LEARY) as he wanted to draft a running back as well as the Browns current QB, Brian Drew (TOM WELLING), coming off of a knee injury and apparently better than ever after off-season workouts. Also on his watch list is standout linebacker Vontae Mack (CHADWICK BOSEMAN) and star running back Ray Jennings (real-life player ARIAN FOSTER) whose father (TERRY CREW) played for the Browns back in the day.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Sonny also has to deal with his overbearing mother (ELLEN BURSTYN) and even his ex-wife (ROSANNA ARQUETTE). Problem with this part of the movie, and to a lesser extent even with Garner, it was completely unnecessary and doesn’t add a whole heck of a lot and felt like filler than anything compelling.
Aside from the unnecessary side stories, which, along with the main plot, get tied up in a neat bow at the end, I actually found Draft Day to be mildly entertaining even if the set-up is excruciatingly frustrating (the initial trade for starters). But thanks once again to Kevin Costner, he’s able to overcome the script problems — by Rajiy Joseph & Scott Rothman whose screenplay topped the 2012 coveted Black List — and even the supporting cast is respectable even if they had little to do, though it is nice to see Tom Welling do something other than the teen throb look he had with “Smallville” and in the Cheaper By the Dozen movies.
Helmed by Ivan Reitman, who seemed to take inspiration from Ang Lee’s Hulk, Draft Day is a perfectly entertaining if not forgettable sports drama with some witty dialogue, fun characters and an overall story that is enjoyable but one die-hard sports fans might get frustrated with as it takes some liberties in the realm of realism not to mention a tidy little finale that sums everything up.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside the case are a standard DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital Copy.
Audio Commentary – Writers Rajiy Joseph and Scott Rothman provide an informative track but it’s relatively limited to the script, of course, instead of any real behind-the-scenes anecdotes, which someone like Ivan Reitman or a producer would’ve appreciated.
On the Clock: The Making of Draft Day (59:38; HD) is split into two parts, Preseason and Post Season, gives a behind-the-scenes look just about everything on the project from the concept, casting, characters, etc. It’s a lengthy featurette that gives insight into the movie.
Welcome to Primetime (9:49; HD) specifically tackles the real life aspects and the big deal the NFL Draft is from the perspectives of those in sports. It also gives a basic rundown on how it works and the history behind it.
Deleted Scenes (8:36; HD) – There are a few deleted or extended scenes that were ultimately cut for various reasons, though I suspect most proximately for time and pacing issues.
Theatrical Trailer (2:32; HD)
VIDEO – 4.75/5
Draft Day arrives on Blu-ray presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer and shown in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. The picture is, as expected, sharp with excellent detail levels and colors are especially cheerful and energetic throughout. There are no obvious artifacting or pixilation issues and it appears to be a fantastically clean transfer.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is efficient while nothing outstanding considering the bulk of the sound is dialogue with the score and ambient noises (such as the cheering crowd at the NFL Draft) making up for any depth the lossless track has.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, Draft Day isn’t a great movie and probably ranks in the bottom half of sports films, but there’s some entertainment value and Kevin Costner helps to elevate the material far beyond what it deserves. The direction is at least interesting by Ivan Reitman and the supporting cast, albeit not well utilized, is respectable. The Blu-ray released by Summit has good video and audio transfers and a fair amount of bonus material.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.