Thu April 17, 2014
'Draft Day' Probably Just For Die-Hard Fans
Draft Day is made for people who know about the National Football League's draft system and care who gets to play for the Cleveland Browns. People like me, who can't even follow the scene in which Kevin Costner and Denis Leary and a lot of others look at clips of Chadwick Boseman and Josh Pence at play at then analyze what they do, were far from the concerns of director Ivan Reitman or anybody else, and should perhaps just let other people do the reviews.
Much as I loathe the custom of building every sports movie up to the Big Game at the end, I prefer that to building up to a big long negotiation scene, with most of the negotiation done by telephone.
Except for game clips thrown in every so often, there is very little action in Draft Day, and except for very occasional remarks like, "I don't need him for passing, I need him for running," I never understood why the Heisman Trophy winner should be preferred over the seasoned professional. And the occasional remarks about character seemed strangely sensitive when people are being bartered like commodities.
I suspect that director Reitman and the producers wanted to reveal the secret mechanics of football the way movies like Game Change and Primary Colors reveal the dirty underside of the political system, but I couldn't see what was particularly offensive in Draft Day. There was no mention of football as a business that makes money out of concussions and permanent injuries.
Characterizations are thin and not particularly consistent, and structure is built around swaps and negotiating tactics that meant nothing to me.
But Draft Day is not like any other sports movie I've ever seen, and I assume will appeal to people who understand it.