Draft Day Blu-ray Review
The Cleveland Browns are one of those notoriously bad NFL teams. They’re one of four teams to never appear at the Super Bowl, have had only two winning seasons since 1999 and have made the playoffs just three times in the past 25 years.
It’s draft day in the NFL, and according to the voiceover, it’s a day when “lives are changed, fates are decided, dynasties are born and the clock is always ticking.” Sonny Weaver, Jr. (Kevin Costner, 3 DAYS TO KILL), who is the general manager for the Browns, is looking to turn the franchise around. Enter the Seattle Seahawks, who offer Weaver the first-round pick in exchange for a future swap. After insistence from owner Anthony Molina (Frank Langella, who recently played Warren E. Burger in HBO’s MUHAMMAD ALI’S GREATEST FIGHT), who hints the GM could be let go if a deal isn’t struck, Weaver accepts.
Names are tossed around, decisions are made and remade and gambles are taken. All the while, the clock is ticking towards the big day when Weaver will either make a splash or drown.
If you’re not into football, there isn’t a single scene in DRAFT DAY you will care about. While the movie isn’t necessarily about the game itself (the most footage on the field shows famous quarterbacks like Joe Montana and Peyton Manning), it’s about the behind-the-scenes business end, which is somehow even more dull than actually watching a game. Despite the insider look from within the offices, DRAFT DAY isn’t nearly as compelling as, say, MONEYBALL, which also showed the attempts of a professional sports team to do something with their name. One of the best parts about MONEYBALL was that you didn’t have to like baseball to enjoy it. That’s not the case with DRAFT DAY. DRAFT DAY needs the viewer to be the type of fan who gathers with their buddies on draft day every spring to see where the Heisman winner and other top prospects end up for the season. If they’re not, then they’re left out of the stadium while everyone else is waving their foam fingers.
The movie succeeds at points in its attempts to show the wear major business decisions can take on bigwigs, but it’s difficult to really care when we’re being robbed of the real goal of the draft, which isn’t when the clock stops, but what it did for the team’s record.
DRAFT DAY is directed by Ivan Reitman, whose previous credits of STRIPES, GHOSTBUSTERS and KINDGERGARTEN COP might hint at one of the reasons the movie doesn’t work. Reitman is better off with comedies (even bad ones, like MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND), not sports movies, and the choice of him being the camera is both a strange and apparently wrong one.
The cast does a fine job overall and fit their roles appropriately: Costner brings a stiffness to the suit, Jennifer Garner makes a sympathetic girlfriend and Denis Leary brings the right amount of fire to the head coach role.
DRAFT DAY BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video quality is very strong and features fine details and accurate colors for the duration.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitles in English and Spanish. While the story never takes the action to the field and so lacks a certain atmosphere, it still features a natural ambience and clean dialogue.
Audio commentary with writers Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman: Joseph and Rothman offer a decent commentary, but spend much of the time discussing what is onscreen.
On the Clock: The Making of DRAFT DAY (59:38): Divided into “Preseason” and “Post Season,” this extensive look at the making of DRAFT DAY offers clips, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews (with Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Ivan Reitman and more).
Welcome to Primetime (9:49) looks at the actual NFL draft.
Deleted Scenes (8:36): Collected here are five scenes.