DVD Video - Reviews [Any Given Sunday (Special Edition)]
ORIGINAL FULL DVD REVIEW
Any Given Sunday (Special Edition Director's Cut)
Release Date: 9/1/00
Studio: Warner Brothers
Run Time: 157 minutes
Starring: James Woods, Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Cameron Diaz
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Movie Summary: [Drama]
Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) is at the crossroads of his life. Four years ago, D’Amato’s Miami Sharks had nailed two championships in a row. Now, his team is struggling with three consecutive losses, sliding attendance, and aging heroes. Off the field, D’Amato is struggling with a failed marriage and estranged children, and is on a collision course with Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz), the young president/co-owner of the Sharks organization. Christina maintains a take-no-prisoners style of management. She knows a losing team means a losing investment. When a devastating hit knocks veteran star player Cap Rooney and the second-string quarterback out of the game, the Sharks’ third-string quarterback Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx), is called onto the field. Beamen stuns both fans and management with his performance. Whereas D’Amato believes that the game "has got to be about something more than winning," the only goal that "Steamin’ Beamen" has is winning with all of the material perks that he can acquire during the short life span of a pro football player. With Beamen pushing from one side, Christina Pagniacci pressuring from the other, Tony D’Amato sees the Sharks coming apart at the seams. Pressured and disillusioned, he wonders if he’s losing his edge, his team and his very reason to wake up in the morning.
Widescreen: 2.35:1, Enhanced for 16X9 TVs, Color, 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, French, Closed Captioned, Region 1
Cast/Crew Biographies, Trailer, 6 Minutes of Deleted Footage (Director's Cut), Making Of, LL Cool J "Shut 'Em Down" Music VideoMovie Review "Scoreboard"
ou win - you lose ... or you don’t show up.” Apparently Oliver Stone is willing to admit that at one time in his life, he’s lived the normal human existence as well - the sort smudged by the markings of successes and failures and those that are neither because we chose not to step up to the challenge. Stone’s competitive-laden Any Given Sunday touches upon all facets of an American professional sport from the ego-saturated, power-tripping demeanor of the football athlete on and off the field to their families to the media that uses their own twisted paws to mold upcoming stars into corrupted mobile bank rolls and false role models as if they are throwing their next pottery masterpiece with razorblades for hands.
Stone’s visuals and Al Pacino’s intense rendition of a football coach amidst his step down from a throne of successes are the highlights of this film. Never before has an audience been thrown right into the middle of field-level action from the perspective of Stone’s creative imagination and eye for visual positioning. Any Given Sunday goes for coach Stone’s usual two point conversion in scattered cut-scene imagery and big hits, but unfortunately falls short of the endzone with an excess of play calling that simply isn’t necessary. Dennis Quaid’s fallen quarterback legend rests on a solitary point at the perimeter of a circle with Jamie Foxx’s healthy, young and talented hero standing above him on the same loop that demonstrates the traditional cycle of professional sport evolution: veterans will lay down their pads as an enthusiastic rookie and his high aspirations ... picks them up. These two illustrate their characters well, but ultimately surrounding cast members lose sight of their characters deep driving motivation short of what one might expect to find on the surface. Cameron Diaz’s portrayal of a daughter picking up the pieces of a broken football team where her father left off, left me cringing while memories of my mother scolding me for not taking out the garbage again undesirably surfaced. What we have here is controversial football; Stone doing what Stone does best.
Seeing as though the film is sports oriented, much of the footage is quickly paced with blurring movement and fast edits - the sort of thing that makes for trouble come compression time. While this might have been a worry in the beginning days of DVD, the video here is solid and well preserved. With Oliver Stone films, video is important and this DVD doesn’t fumble on this count.
That aside - be prepared to turn this baby up. Those of you dying to hear more than just the continuous howls of thousands of intoxicated football fans at y our next football experience, step right up to this line of scrimmage. Here we have one of the more severely active Dolby Digital 5.1 sound presentations I’ve heard in recent times. No need to dust off your speakers if you haven’t done so in some time, this soundtrack will do so for you. From intense atmospheric presence of a professional football game to dizzying audio effects that play tricks on your ears, this track will have you remembering why you chose to spend so much money on your audio equipment. Neither speaker nor any solitary point of our 360-degree sound arenas will be spared.
The true special edition feature of this disc would seem to be the version of film that is contained on this disc. The Director’s Cut clocks in at just under two hours and forty minutes with some odd seven chapters that contain additional footage not seen in North American theaters. Seeing as though plenty of the original footage was already considerably risqué, heaven knows why any of the additional footage was originally removed ... short of decreasing the time people would spend in theaters watching this film. The few additional special features consist of standard ‘Cast and Crew’ filmographies, a theatrical trailer, a music video from rapper/actor L.L. Cool J entitled ‘Shut ‘Em Down’ (a fairly decent piece), and a HBO produced 27-minute documentary on the making of the film. The documentary focuses largely on the style and processes of Oliver Stone with select cast and crew interviews commenting on their experiences with the director and the distinguished Al Pacino, producing genuine moments of interest. There is the usual DVD-ROM content here consisting of a few features, none of which are any more original than the usual web site links and online promotional material (PC Friendly based features have not been very intriguing in my opinion... yet). The disc menus open with a flashy animated intro leading into various animated menus with a rocking audio track rolling along in the background.
If you’re a football fan, you’ll appreciate what Stone has accomplished in terms of capturing football from a perspective that often remains out of the limelight most fans are so adamantly in tune with. If you’re looking for a football film of epic proportions that would entertain those of you who could care less about the game, ultimately you’ll find yourself peering at the clock wondering where the time went. This DVD captures Stone’s lengthier Director’s Cut of an already long film. As history might show, film audiences could have probably done with about 30 minutes less footage here - but then again, Monday Night Football has been breaking those rules for a long time now with continued success. Despite your tastes, the DVD here is solid with most of the ‘special edition’ pie consisting of the Director’s Cut footage and gorgeous Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.