In a couple of weeks NFL teams across the country will focus all of their attention on the three days at Radio City Music Hall, called the NFL Draft. Here is where the country’s top college athletes will wait in complete anticipation to see if their name will be called to become the newest member of the National Football League. But if you are a fan and can’t wait to see if it’s going to be Johnny Manizel or Jadeveon Clowney that will be drafted in the No. 1 sport, Draft Day, the movie, will be an excellent substitute for the real thing.
Opening this weekend in theaters across the country, Draft Day will give fans a raw and in-depth look at what one team, the Cleveland Browns, will do to make sure their ‘Draft Day’ is one for the history books. While the team itself is real, the dramatized plot starring Oscar winner, Kevin Costner, as the Browns’ General Manager, Sonny Weaver Jr., will give fans a “real” look at all of the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that go on to get the best player and the top pick even before the commissioner calls the first name.
As Costner talked about the movie, he believed that one of the most important roles was to make sure that the movie was “authentic” in a time while social media and reality television run the industry.
“If you’ve ever played the sports you’re trying to depict, you don’t want people just doing it and messing up completely. People take it really personally,” Costner says.
“For me, I’ve made a few (sports films), but I always thought they were literate in a sense that the writing was really exceptional, and it was set against the backdrop of each sport – and the big deal there is, ‘Can you make those moments be authentic?'” he added.
While the draft is the main focus of the movie, the one thing that the movie doesn’t shy away from is the connection of football and family. Jennifer Garner, plays Waver’s girlfriend and the Browns’ Salary Cap Manager, whose relationship becomes complicated when she reveals that she is pregnant the morning of the draft. Her character gave a new definition of what it is to be a female NFL fan and woman in the sport industry. As fan she’s knowledgeable; as the Salary Cap Manager she’s efficient; as a woman she is confident. Even though we see the connection between Waver and his girlfriend, we also see the story that surrounds Weaver’s father, who recently passed away and was the team’s legendary head coach only months before.
“Football is the backdrop here for what is really a heist movie and a movie about a chess game between people as well as a real romance at the center of everything and a bunch of familial relationships that are all needing to be tended to on one crazy day,” Garner said.
What’s an NFL Draft Day without the athletes. Through twist and turns you will get to know a veteran QB who’s job may be on the line if the team drafts the red hot rookie QB out of Wisconsin. Then you have the running back, who wants to play for the Browns to follow in the footsteps of his father. Finally you have the hard working, hot-head corner back from Florida State who knows that his career can only survive in one city, Cleveland.
With great story lines, above average acting, you can’t have an NFL movie without NFL notables, like ESPN’s Chris Berman, Mel Kiper, Deion Sanders, Arian Foster, Rich Eisen, and the NFL Commissioner, Rodger Goodell.
While Jerry Maguire is still my No. 1 pick when it comes to sports-themed movies, Draft Day would have to be my No. 2. Outside of just knowing and understanding the the business behind sports, and being apart of many college athletes’ draft day experience, this movie is simply for the fan in all of us. In recent years, football has taken the top spot in being America’s favorite past time, and what better story to tell then the one of the high-energy, high-stakes day of the NFL Draft. During the 109 minutes of this movie, you will simply believe that anything is possible if you know your business, trust your gut and stick to your guns. As Sonny Weaver Jr. reminds us in the movie, “The greatest victories don’t always happen on the field”.
Draft Day opens in theaters around the country this Friday, April 11th.
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