I watched “Any Given Sunday” for the first-time last night – a beloved sports movie that premiered back in 1999. The movie features a star-studded cast, including Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Dennis Quaid, and James Woods.
“Any Given Sunday” pulls off the impossible: It’s a very good movie despite its two biggest stars being complete duds. I’m looking at you Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz. Both of you sucked! At no point did I believe that either actor knew anything about football. Every scene seemed so forced, including Pacino’s iconic locker room speech. I didn’t buy it. The movie would have been perfect if other actors had been chosen. Reportedly, director Oliver Stone considered Robert De Niro. That would have been incredible!
“Any Given Sunday” tells the story of a third string quarterback named Willie “Steamin” Beamen, played by Jamie Foxx. Beamen becomes QB-1 when both the starter and backup QB are injured in the same game. He’s suddenly an instant celebrity and all the attention goes to Beamen’s head. Meantime, Al Pacino stars as the fictional Miami Sharks’ head coach, Tony D’Amato. The coach has been around the league for 30 years and many believe the game has passed him by.
I enjoyed the movie, overall. LL Cool J did a fine job playing the team’s me-first running back. A young Aaron Eckhart stars as the team’s offensive coordinator. NFL greats Lawrence Taylor and Jim Brown also had solid roles as the Sharks’ defensive captain and defensive coordinator.
The movie’s big question leading into the playoffs: Is Beamen starting at quarterback… or will Coach D’Amato hand the keys over to the veteran who is back from injury?
What do you think? What letter grade would you give “Any Given Sunday?” Reach out to Michael on Twitter @MikeESPNSA. You can listen to Michael on “Halftime” weekdays from Noon to 2 p.m. on 94.1 FM.