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. B+