R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 12/23/1999,
Any Given Sunday
Oliver Stone’s football fantasy is in some ways a locker-room rendition of All About Eve. Dennis Quaid plays the loyal, aging quarterback, Jamie Foxx is his cocky understudy, and holding the team (the fictitious Miami Sharks, ostensibly fashioned after the NFL’s notorious bad boys, the Oakland Raiders) together is Al Pacino as the old-school coach. Shades of Pete Carroll: the team struggles to make the playoffs and the coach’s leadership is challenged, both on the sidelines by the flashy upstart QB and from above by the franchise’s brassy new owner (a wonderfully bitchy Cameron Diaz).
Stone, for all his frenetic edginess, does a decent job of forging credible relationships among the leads — though Quaid’s QB uncharacteristically steps outside his persona to fuel the plot trappings. Foxx demonstrates a surprising range, and Pacino brilliantly toggles between tenacious warrior and beleaguered once-was. The ensemble supporting cast boasts a who’s who of Hall of Famers including Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, and Johnny Unitas. Stone indulges too much of his nauseatingly grandiloquent editing style, which takes some of the zip off the gridiron action. But if Any Given Sunday isn’t quite in the same league asNorth Dallas Forty or The Longest Yard, it’s good pigskin entertainment. Be sure to stick around for the credits; that’s when the film goes into OT and delivers the kicker.
— Tom Meek