Draft Day (2014)
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Cast: Kevin Costner, and a great cast featuring Jennifer Garner, Ellen Burstyn, Frank Langella
Directed by Ivan Reitman (Stripes, Twins, Ghostbusters), Draft Day follows Cleveland Browns’ general manager Sonny Weaver Jr (Kevin Costner) as he plans, negotiates and trades his way through the emotions and huge paychecks associated with being drafted into the NFL. It’s a great sport, like chess with 120kg pieces. There is a lot of money everywhere in the game, and therefore a lot of pressure to perform. This goes for the coaches and managers as well as the players.
Each year the National Football League (NFL) has a draft day which is the main opportunity for the 32 teams in the NFL to recruit new players. The selections are made from eligible college players and it is a huge media event. The difference in the draft order is worth millions of dollars to the players, and shapes the future of the teams selecting them.
Costner is likeable and being pressured by EVERYONE on this, one of the most important days of the football year. His football loving girlfriend (Jennifer Garner) is pregnant, his mother (a wonderfully fiery Ellen Burstyn) is wishing to dispose of her husband, Sonny Sr.’s ashes, and all of Cleveland, including his management and coaching staff are watching to see what Sonny Jr. does with his all important draft picks.
The story plays out like a thriller, with Costner’s team manager in practically every scene. There is the philosophical consideration of family, tradition and legacy against winning at all costs and the plot is a little complicated but it is a game worth watching.
There are a large number of actual NFL players and managers in this movie and the NFL governor himself appears, so the film obviously has the support of the sport. They acquit themselves very well, and supporting cast such as Sam Elliott make this a very strongly grounded and realistic feeling movie.
This isn’t a great movie but like so many sports movies, it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours. My whole family enjoyed it, including the not interested in American Football 13 year old.
Rating: 7/10 footballs
More details on the NFL draft