Any Given Sunday1999
Any Given Sunday, Oliver Stone's salute-cum-exposé of pro football, belabors some pretty obvious points for nigh onto three hours; but between the frenetic editing, the pounding rap-music beats, and several flashy performances, it's certainly never dull. Al Pacino, coach of the fictional Miami Sharks (the NFL declined involvement in this production), struggles with the most time-honored of sports movie dilemmas: what to do with the old friend who's past his prime and the young hotshot who could save the franchise but first has to learn what being a team player is all about. Comedian Jamie Foxx does a marvelous dramatic turn as the rookie quarterback whose ego and talent are equally impressive, while Pacino seems more at ease in Oliver Stone Land than any actor since regular James Woods (on hand as well as a sleazy team doctor). Prowling the sidelines, shouting spittle-flecked orders, seizing up in almost physical pain when a play goes the wrong way, Pacino is as unashamedly--and entertainingly--hyperbolic as Stone's whirling montages of boiling storm clouds, bloodthirsty fans, and players smashed into the mud. (Once again football, perhaps the most sophisticated of team sports, is viewed cinematically as a bunch of guys hitting each other in slow motion.) Unfortunately, all the self-conscious mythologizing and pumped-up macho posturing that Stone can muster doesn't conceal a clichéd, slapped-together script, whose few good ideas (mostly about race in America) jostle about with several hoary, terrible ones--including a too-literal analogy of football players as modern gladiators. (To drive the point home, Stone includes Charlton Heston--the aging Ben-Hur--in one of many star-powered cameos.) All in all, Any Given Sunday is never dull, but never very enjoyable, either. --Bruce Reid
Now I can't do it for ya, I'm too old. I look around, I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I've made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I've pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who's ever loved me. And lately, I cant even stand the face I see in the mirror.
You find out life's this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game - life or football - the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that's gonna make the f***ing difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!
You're a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It's the top spot, kid. It's the guy who takes the fall. It's the guy everybody's looking at first - the leader of a team - who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. 'Cause you make them believe. That's a quarterback.
I'll tell you this, in any fight it's the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I'm gonna have any life any more it's because I'm still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that's what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can't make you do it. You've got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That's a team gentlemen, and either, we heal as a team, or we will die as individuals. That's football guys, that's all it is. Now what are you gonna do?