The NFL draft may not be taking place until May 8th, but the draft comes to the big screen in the form of a movie, aptly named “Draft Day”, on April 11th. I was lucky enough to be able to see a screening of the movie last night, so I wanted to bring you my thoughts on the movie.
First my summary. All football fans will find it entertaining. Do yourselves a favor and check it out when it comes out.
Without giving away the ENTIRE plot, let me bring you a general synopsis. The story, set entirely on draft day, is centered around Sonny Weaver Jr, the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, played by Kevin Costner. On the morning of draft day, Costner makes a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, who hold the number one draft pick. Costner basically trades the farm to acquire the number one pick.
The movie centers around what the Browns are going to do with this pick. Do they keep it, and draft the Heisman winning quarterback, the Andrew Luck-type character, Bo Callahan? Or do they take the pick and turn it into multiple picks? This you will find out by watching.
What the movie brings to light is the process of studying up on the prospects that the team is interested in. Now, with the first pick, Weaver is faced with an opportunity that he didn’t expect, the chance to pick the top player available. He and his team have to check out every angle of this player, off the field, on the field, and everything in between, to decide if this player is truly worth being chosen.
It’s the behind the scenes work leading up to filling out that draft card that makes this movie very interesting.
Don’t get me wrong, the movie is very Hollywood. Anyone reading this post knows that these types of scenarios don’t play out solely on draft day. There are months of planning involved. But, you have to expect it to be condensed to make a movie exciting. Who is going to watch a movie about a GM researching a player for six months?
So the speed of the process isn’t realistic. But the process in and of itself is facinating to watch. Seeing the phone calls, and the background checks..etc., are interesting to watch, and something that fans would not have the chance to see otherwise. The other element that was caught beautifully was the emotion of the draftees. There is a great scene when Weaver is on the phone with the player he has chosen, and the player just becomes overtaken by emotion, and it’s just great.
It’s an emotional moment, and it was captured beautifully.
There are some terrific performances in the movie. Frank Langella plays Harvey Molina, the owner of the Browns, who knows just enough to annoy his general manager. Dennis Leary plays the new coach, Penn, and does an excellent job playing the coach that has a huge ego due to earning a Super Bowl ring. Jennifer Garner plays the salary cap guru named Ali, who also is having an affair with general manager Weaver, and pregnant with his baby, which provides a Hollywood love story sub plot. It doesn’t take away from the football element.
Griffin Newman plays an intern named Rick that is just extremely funny. You’ll see.
There are plenty of cameos, from Roger Goodell to Chris Berman to Jon Gruden. And, Arian Foster plays a running back in the draft, named Ray Jennings.
Check out this movie when it comes out. Is it made to be exciting for Hollywood sake? Sure. But it is also very interesting and extremely entertaining.