For football fans ‘Draft Day’ can sub until real NFL draft begins

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 6:04pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Now that March Madness is over, that annual ritual in which everybody goes nuts about filling out a bracket with teams they don’t actually know very much about, we need another obsessive- compulsive sports-related activity to occupy our minds.

That’s where the NFL draft comes in. Who can resist guessing which players we don’t actually know very much about will go to which team? (I can’t. This stuff is high drama. And if the Seahawks don’t take an offensive lineman this year, they’re crazy—you can get a wide receiver in the second round.)

However, the NFL draft is a month away. In the meantime we have “Draft Day,” an entire film built around the wheeling and dealing of football’s big countdown.

The day dawns with Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) being handed a stick of dynamite: The Seahawks want to trade him the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for a barrel of future picks. This would guarantee the Browns getting the Heisman-winning, can’t-miss quarterback that everybody else covets.

Sonny has about 12 hours to make this swap pay off — and listen to other teams that might want in. Then the live broadcast begins, and depending on how things fall he’ll either be a laughingstock or a golden boy.

Oh, and his father just died, his mother (Ellen Burstyn) wants to bury her husband’s ashes on the practice field, the coach (Denis Leary) is furious about not being consulted, and the Browns owner (Frank Langella) is ready to blow a fuse if Costner doesn’t take the quarterback.

There’s also Sonny’s co-worker (Jennifer Garner) who has another complication for him. Garner’s nice in a very standard role, but her career choices in recent years continue to be mystifying.

As for Costner, this part is undoubtedly intended to conjure up memories of “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams” and other sports-minded pictures. It’s a good part for him, although his laid-back approach could’ve used a few more moments of oomph.

“Draft Day” is directed by onetime “Ghostbusters” honcho Ivan Reitman. He keeps the humor to the fore, although he can’t make some of the plot twists seem credible.

Also, this movie has some of the most useless split-screen in memory. I guess this is done to make deal-making phone calls more exciting, although if you’ve set the table well enough you shouldn’t need split-screen to juice it up.

The easiest point of comparison, “Moneyball,” was leagues beyond this. And yet “Draft Day” is pretty easy to be around, all things considered, and it’ll have to serve until the real thing comes along.

“Draft Day” (two and a half stars)

Cleveland Browns general manager Kevin Costner is offered a trade for the #1 overall pick on NFL draft day; should he bet the farm on supposed sure thing? Nothing too great here but the built-in suspense is easy to take, and it’s a decent role for Costner. With Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary.

Rating: PG-13, for language

Opening: Friday at Alderwood, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood Cinemas, Meridian, Sundance Cinemas Seattle, Woodinville, Cascade Mall.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Life

Urban treats prove Switzerland is more than its pristine alpine meadows

For interesting art, colorful old towns and serene waterfront settings, be sure to stop in Zürich, Luzern and Lausanne.

Rose Freeman (center) and Anastasia Allison of The Musical Mountaineers play atop Sauk Mountain near Concrete in October 2017. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Musical Mountaineers’ sunset serenade to launch Adopt a Stream campaign

The nonprofit aims to transform into an “accessible model of sustainability,” with solar panels, electric vehicles and more.

Hitting a homer is hard for most. On this machine, we all have a chance

This restored 1930s Jennings slot machine — with candy prizes for knocking it out of the park — sold for $3,840 at auction.

Coupeville Beekeeper Bruce Eckholm collects a swarm of bees in Oak Harbor (Photo courtesy of Gary Gillespie)
Coupeville beekeeper wards off large swarm

Oak Harbor residents were at home on Thursday when buzzing thundered from outside.

Leslie Davis, left, and Lyndsay Lamb, twin sister stars of HGTV's "Unsellable Houses" and 2004 Snohomish High School graduates, donated a private design session to the school's auction fundraiser for their 20-year reunion. (Photo provided)
Got $2,000? Bid on face time with HGTV’s ‘Unsellable Houses’ twins

The sisters are offering up themselves in a fundraiser for their Class of 2004 Snohomish High 20-year reunion.

Airbnb host banned after spilling food in another host’s home

Airbnb bans River Roberts after he accidentally spills food on his host’s sofa. Will he ever be able to book another rental?

The secret to getting ahead at work? A sense of service to others

In contrast, employees who are more focused on their own needs often feel frustrated, underappreciated and unmotivated.

2024 Genesis G70 Sport Prestige RWD (Photo provided by Genesis)
2024 Genesis G70 Sport Prestige RWD

In my humble opinion, the 2024 Genesis G70 Sport Prestige sport sedan… Continue reading

Hyundai developed the 2024 Hyundai Kona platform with an electrified powertrain first. Exterior design of the gas-powered Kona (shown here) reflects the company’s transition toward EVs. (Photo provided by Hyundai)
2024 Hyundai Kona subcompact SUV is a grown-up

The feisty original has developed practicality and sophistication.

Joe Nichols will play Renegades in West Palm Beach on Saturday.
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Country artist Joe Nichols comes to Tulalip Resort Casino on Saturday and the Edmonds Arts Festival offers three days of art.

Many famous design firms were built to last because sons joined fathers

Nineteenth-century silversmith Samuel Kirk’s legacy lives on today because his sons and grandson followed in his footsteps.

Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens to host 3-day plant-sale fundraiser

Described as “a gardener’s paradise,” the sale will feature plants and trees from individual gardeners and local nurseries.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.