We gave it a B+
”When you get old in life, things get taken from you,” intones Al Pacino as Tony D’Amato, the beleaguered head coach of the Miami Sharks. In fact, a sense of loss permeates Oliver Stone’s gridiron drama Any Given Sunday, which depicts a team, and a national pastime, in transition. Lamenting a day when teamwork and loyalty were the game’s stock in trade, D’Amato finds himself under attack by the Sharks’ new bottom line minded general manager, Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz), and his new starting quarterback, Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx), a backwoods benchwarmer turned arrogant young turk.
As usual with Stone, there are excesses galore: of style, symbolism (the arena warrior metaphor, already overworked on the big screen, seems even more so on video, especially in the wake of ”Gladiator”), subplots, and, especially in one (literally) eye popping case, gore. Despite ”Sunday”’s trenchant take on today’s sports industrial complex, tradition wins out, as D’Amato teaches the young’uns a lesson. An almost quaint resolution, especially coming from the iconoclastic director. But then, this is the product of Stone the wistful football fan, not Stone the postmodern paranoiac.