Any Given Sunday (1999)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Any Given Sunday</strong> (1999)

(In theaters, March 2000) This would seem to be, in many respect, a very disappointing film: The plot is relatively innocuous, especially for controversymeister Oliver Stone. The script is rather average, not really rising above the usual sports clichés. The directing is too choppy, too gimmicky, too focused on fast editing to give the sports scenes the grace they need. In short, this is a film with substantial problems. But, it still manages to be a lot of fun. Is it simply that a sport film can’t go wrong with a young male audience? Is it the fact that the direction improves in time for the final game? Is it because, despite its problems, this is a solid, conventionally satisfying story? Possibly. Probably. The soundtrack adds to the fun: Though it’s of unequal quality, the sheer number of songs used virtually guarantee there’s something to like in there (It’s also more effective if you already know the songs: A particular dance piece played over a match against San Francisco takes on an extra dimension when you know the title of the piece is Propellerheads’ “Take California”. Ditto for a rookie’s first moments on the field, scored with Fatboy Slim’s “Right Here, Right Now.”) In short: It’s pretty much what you want on a big-screen, big-sound football film. Crunchy, unchallenging fun.

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