'Any Given Sunday: 15th Anniversary Edition'
(Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz, James Woods, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, et al / Blu ray / R / (1999) 2014 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: Life is a contact sport and football is life when three-time academy award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone and a dynamic acting ensemble explore the fortunes of the Miami Sharks in 'Any Given Sunday.'
Blu ray Verdict: I have been a HUGE fan of this movie for all its 15 years and now that it's here, back for another swing at our eyeballs with some incredible extra content, well, I couldn't be any happier even if I tried to be right now!
For my money, 'Any Given Sunday' keeps the unmistakable style of Oliver Stone, especially seen in 'Natural Born Killers,' transporting it this time in the new, agitated, full of events world of American Football.
Al Pacino is the coach of a football team, owned by the greedy Cameron Diaz, team that passes through difficult times, after 4 consecutive defeats and the injury of the best 2 quarterbacks. In this moment enters Beaman (Foxx), the "always substitute", and he doesn't miss the unexpected chance awarded by the coach. By his style of play, spectacular, but not caring about the tactics and the schemes, he wins the heart of the fans, but enters in the disgrace of the coach.
The world of football is an eternal source of stories or problems that can be used in a movie. After he showed us wars, from many points of view, the murder of JFK, the agitated history of The Doors, or the satire against the media in Natural Born Killers, Oliver Stone enters on an unused territory so far. And he does it in style, with an exceptional movie.
One thing must be clear: this is not a movie only for football fans, but for everybody. Because it's not a movie necessarily about football, but about team spirit, about friendships, joys or troubles, a film with strong characters played by really special actors. A film that will keep your interest at high levels, despite its long run time, by the fabulous style of Stone, but also by the story, full of events dictated by interests or the rush for money, that many times dims friendships or any bit of morality.
During the movie, you are taken through the backstage of American Football. You will discover a dirty world, full of interests and passions, far of the beauty observed from outside. Al Pacino is a character caught between the desire of winning every match no matter what and the friendship that ties him with "old" Rooney, who injures himself at the beginning
Beaman is a young football player, selfish, insensitive, but with an extraordinary talent. Many times, the sudden pass from anonymity in the spotlights can bring with it major changes in the character's personality, changes that can only be bad. That's what happens to Beaman. The selfishness, the interest only for himself, bring major misunderstandings between him and his teammates or his coach.<>
Al Pacino has the tough mission of bringing the team to the desired levels, calming down the spirits and also making the difficult decision concerning the quarterback: Beaman or Rooney. New or old. Talent or team player.
Although the script is very good, the film wouldn't have had the same value without Oliver Stone on board. He shows us again, one more time, his great talent. By his awesome way of filming, that reminds us of NBK, the fast paced, incredibly real dialogues, or last, but not least, the full of significance "inserts" with what he feasted our eyes and mind also in NBK, you actually feel that you are a part of this world, that you are really inside it.
You can't even blink without being sorry. Again, the camera moves very quickly, this aggressive style, of fast filming, "short" editing, strange angles or permanent camera movement, being a characteristic of many Stone movies. And the "inserts" have a special meaning again, especially in the scene of the dialogue between Foxx and Pacino, maybe the best and most significant of the whole movie.
Indeed, according to Jamie Foxx (Beaman), LL Cool J took the scripted rivalry between their characters too seriously and punched Foxx in the face while filming the scene in which their characters fight. They then had an altercation in which Foxx received a cut on his head before the two were separated. Foxx spoke about the incident in Jamie Foxx: I Might Need Security (2002). In 2006, Foxx announced that he and LL have become friends.
All in all, another success for Oliver Stone. A movie added to his impressive collection of masterpieces, of the most varied and original director of our times.
Oh, and I don't know if y'all know this, but when the NFL refused to assist the film in any way, the fictional league used instead was imagined as a more successful version of both the World Football League and United States Football League, who both challenged the NFL in the 1970s and 1980s, respectively, but did not last long.
The screenplay makes this explicit in a scene where the Mayor of Miami tells Cameron Diaz's character that one of the reasons the city cannot afford to build a new stadium for the Sharks is the local prominence of the Miami Dolphins.
Also, as Oliver Stone is a San Francisco 49ers fan, there are a number of references to San Francisco winning the championship game against the Sharks! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Bonus Feature of:
Anything Can Happen: NFL stars Marshall Faulk and Wilie McGinest, 49ers coach Steve Mariucci and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reveal how close this film's portrayal of professional football comes to reality, and why so many players and coaches have named it their favorite football movie of all time
6 Minutes of Footage Not Seen Theatrically
Commentary by Oliver Stones
Commentary by Jamie Foxx
Full Contact: The Making of Any Given Sunday Documentary
3 Music Videos
Jamie fox Audition Tape / Screen Tests
Football Outtakes and Landscape Outtake Montages
Instant Replay: Direct Access to Exciting Game Moments
Production Stills and Ad Material Galleries