HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Any Given Sunday 15th Anniversary Edition
HTS Overall Score:82
“Any Given Sunday” hails back to those days when Oliver Stone was actually good and on top of the world in his directing career. There was no million years of tinkering with failed films *cough, “Alexander” *cough, or making political movies that don’t jive with the viewer. It was also a time when football movies weren’t as wildly popular as they had been back in the 80s and early 90s. I grew up with the game, watching amateur, college, and professional football like a crazed fan and was on the couch with my father every Monday night for NFL games. Most football movies were inspirational epics, stories of valor and pulling yourself up from the bottom, full of likeable characters that you wanted to cheer for. “Any Given Sunday” shook up the playing field by showing the raw and nasty side of professional football, full of ego maniacs, old coaches and the arrogance that goes along with making millions on the field. Through all of this Oliver weaves a tale of ego, of deceit, and pure will power that may not always be likeable, but it’s enough to keep you spellbound for a 2 hour 37 minute runtime without even so much as a bathroom break.
It’s 2001 and the Miami Sharks are struggling to make their playoffs. Coached by 30 year veteran Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) they’re hovering one the edge of making it when their star quarterback, Jack Rooney (Dennis Quaid) gets taken out part way through the game. Minutes later their second string quarterback is taken out, leaving only the benched third string QB, Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) to take the field. Third string is usually the last of the last, but Beamen starts showing promise. While Jack Rooney is recovering, Beamen makes his play and shoots to stardom overnight. The only problem is that he thinks he’s the king of the castle and starts making the calls, bypassing the coaches, his players and all the known playbooks. Now he’s at a precipice, butting heads with his aging coach and struggling to deal with all the fame, the dreams the women and the money coming his way.
At the same time, Coach D’Amato is going nuts, he’s seeing these young upstarts pulling stunts that he just isn’t prepared to handle. He’s been in the game 30 years, but now he’s realizing that his aging plays and techniques just aren’t cutting it in a world that always wants something new. The owner for the Miami Sharks (Cameron Diaz) is pushing him harder and harder as she’s a young woman in a business full of old, rich men and she has to find a way to make her mark in the world. As these three realities and worlds collide it results in a spectacular array of fireworks as player, coach and owner duke it out, all wanting the same thing at the end of the day….Victory.
I was actually surprised when I was told by a few people that “Any Given Sunday” was a horrible movie, and that the reviews would back them up. Lo and behold you go to places like Rotten tomatoes, or forums and you see the movie getting trashed left and right. I’m honestly flabbergasted as “Any Given Sunday” has to be one of the best football stories in the last 20 years. It’s filled with arrogance, egos, unethical doctor’s and people you just don’t like at ALL, sharing the same film time. Cameron Diaz’s character is just concerned with getting her team to the playoff’s and she’s willing to do whatever it takes. Al Pacino plays D’Amato as you would expect Pacino to do, rough, tough and full of his “Heat” character. He’s washed up, he’s realizing that his time is coming to an end and the game is no longer what it once was. The players are great on the field, arrogant jerks off the field, full of every type of debauchery that you can think of. The only person who’s even REMOTELY likeable is Mathew Modine as the back Dr. for the Miami Sharks. Still, their interactions between these conflicting (and conflicted) characters is spell binding. Watching them go from hate able characters off field to a well-honed fighting unit on the green grass is something to see. The drama is thick, the football scenes are off the hook and I couldn’t take my eyes off the TV, and a bathroom break is most definitely out of the question.
Oliver Stone littered the screen with an all-star cast. We have everyone from Jamie Foxx, Al Pacino, Mathew Modine, Cameron Diaz, James Woods, L.L. Cool J, Jim Brown, Dennis Quaid, Charlton Heston, Ann-Margaret and quite a few more fantastic actors in all sorts of roles. James Woods can’t help but play a sleaze ball and Pacino eats up the scenery in every scene as he rants and raves across the field. Diaz is very decent in her role as the blindly driven business woman and it’s really amusing to see Ann-Margaret play the slightly out of it Mother to Diaz. After all is said and done Stone created a masterpiece here and when I think about football movies, this one and “Rudy” are at the forefront of the list.
Rated R for strong language and some nudity/sexuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=26441[/img]The 2.39:1 VC-1 transfer is literally the exact same encode as the 2009 pressing and really isn’t going to be any different. The presentation is given a really unique color grading schema as the reds and yellows are pushed really strong and uber saturated, giving the skin tones a very ruddy and red look to them and the instances where the players where those reds and yellows they end up standing out like a neon sign. Even the blood looks like those old Kung Fu movies where it’s like red paint, rather than dark red blood. That isn’t a flaw really, as it’s been the color grading since the old VHS, but it’s still a rather unique style. Blacks are very good and show only minor crush in a few scenes in the boardroom. The detail is stunning for the most part, only having an issue here and there as the scenes show some inherent softness and a bit of a lack of focus during some of the faster movie scenes.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=26449[/img]The new DTS-HD MA track is pretty much a mirror image of the older Dolby TrueHD track. For all intents and purposes they are the same track, from the same mastering process just wrapped in a different code. When those football scenes get going they take off and don’t land till the crowd stops cheering, full of power, deep LFE and fantastic use of surrounds, they are the highlight of the movie. The only small issue is that in the quieter, dialogue driven scenes those surrounds tend to peter out and the LFE’s punch vanishes into thin air. Also some of the dialogue is a bit hard to hear among the roar of the crowd and urgency of the soundtrack pushing it back into second place. It’s a great sounding track, but those small flaws keep it from being a complete stunner.
• Director's Commentary
• Actor's Commentary
• "Any Given Sunday": Anything Can Happen (New)
• Full Contact: The Making of "Any Given Sunday"
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Music Videos
• Audition & Screen Tests
• Gag Reel
• Football and Landscape Outtakes
• Instant Replay
• Production Stills and Advertising Gallery
• Theatrical trailer
Oliver Stone creates a unique drama here, as its main focus is on the interaction of the characters here, and not on the actual football game itself. There’s plenty of game time and that ball gets tossed around like crazy, but Stone does his usual thing and shakes things up quite a bit as he shows the rough and hectic life that fame can bring. The characters are not very likeable, the situations aren’t likeable, but the tension and raw energy is just sizzling at every turn. The audio and the video are just as solid as the original release and we even have new extra to sweeten the pot. As it’s basically the same disc with a DTS-HD MA track instead of TrueHD I can’t recommend it for an upgrade for those of you who have the original disc, but for those who are just being introduced or haven’t picked up the older disc then it’s certainly a must buy.
Starring: Al Pacino, Dennis Quad, Cameron Diaz
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Written by: John Logan, Daniel, Pyne
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 VC-1
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, German, Italian, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 157 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 9th 2014
Buy Any Given Sunday 15th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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