Draft Day

 

Lionsgate

 

Rating: PG-13

 

Reason for the Rating: Brief strong language and sexual references.

 

Plot Summary: It's NFL Draft day, and the Cleveland Browns own the number-one pick overall. So who will general manager, Sonny Weaver Jr. choose?

 

PopFam Recommends: Interesting and entertaining for football fans ages 12 and up. (But be warned: non-football fans won't get it.)

 

When Draft Day hit theatres in April 2014, the conventional wisdom was that one had to be a football fan in order to enjoy this movie. That's a shame, because this all-star cast puts on a sports show that's layered, compelling, and definitely interesting. For a movie about a topic as boring as grading talent for a draft, Kevin Costner and Co. do an excellent job of making the human element come alive amid the tension and high stakes of professional football team management. In that way, Draft Day mirrors the Brad Pitt film, Moneyball.

 

Still, now that Draft Day is available on Blu-ray, the question comes up again: Is this a movie that's just for football fans? The answer (though I hate to admit it and in spite of everything I just said) is yes.

 

Unfortunately, when you boil it down, the drama of the NFL draft room is most just a bunch of multimillionaire bean-counters trying to decide which spoiled-brat athlete deserves to join their ranks as another multimillionaire. That's hard for anyone who's not a football fan to relate to—and probably explains why this film grossed a paltry $28 million (about the salary of a star quarterback) when it ran in theatres.

 

That said—I still liked this movie, and would recommend it for family viewing with most football fans ages 12 and up. Draft Day offers a unique (albeit mostly sanitized) behind-the-scenes glimpse of the business of sports. That kind of education could cost your kid a lot if he or she pursued it in college. Draft Day gives you a "Football Business 101" classroom right in your home instead, all for the cost of a DVD or Blu-ray or online rental. Here's the story:

 

It's time for the annual NFL Draft, where teams select the best amateur players in hopes they'll become future stars in professional football. Sonny Weaver Jr. (played handsomely by Kevin Costner) has just worked a blockbuster, high-cost trade that's landed him the first overall pick - and now he must decide which player to choose. His team's fortunes, and his own career, all ride on this one monumental, multimillion-dollar decision. So what will he do?

 

The obvious choice is quarterback Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), the consensus #1-rated player by fans and media alike. So why does Sonny have doubts? He's drawn instead to Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman), a stud middle linebacker with great upside. But if he follows his instincts and Vontae turns out to be a bust, Sonny will torpedo his career—and sink his beloved Cleveland Browns into years of rebuilding and misery.

 

Helping Sonny with the draft is Ali (played beautifully by Jennifer Garner), the woman who manages the Browns' salary cap...and who is Sonny's girlfriend. And, his coaching staff. And, well, Sonny's opinionated mother (Ellen Burstyn), who seems to think she knows football better than her son. It's a high-pressure cocktail that can't help but explode as the day rolls by.

 

And finally, it's time to make the pick. So what will Sonny do? Well, you'll have to watch the film to find out.

 

In all, Draft Day (for me) was interesting and entertaining...but I can also see why my wife and my only-mildly-a-football-fan son skipped this one. Still, with a stellar cast, unprecedented access to real NFL personnel, and a real-world setting within the high-stake gambles of professional sports, this little underdog could be a Cinderella favorite for just the right fans in your home.

 

Parents should be aware that Draft Day was originally rated R before being changed (on appeal) to PG-13. After appeal, it's a generally mild PG-13. There's discussion of a draft prospect's sexual exploits, an extra-marital May/December relationship between Sonny and Ali, and several instances of common, mild profanities. That's about it.

 

Special features on the Blu-ray edition of Draft Day include a "making-of" featurette, as well as a second NFL featurette, deleted scenes and audio commentary with the screenwriters.

 

--MN

 

Tags: NFL,Cleveland Browns,Draft,Kevin Costner,Jennifer Garner, Terry Crews, Draft Day

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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