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Any given Sunday

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

An examination of contemporary society through the dramatic prism of professional sports, Any given Sunday is Academy award-winner Oliver Stone's compelling new drama about past and present attitudes concerning sports, idealism and commerce. The story is principally told through coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino) who, standing at the crossroads of his life, realises that the ideals and thrills that Drew him to the high stakes world of professional sports are vanishing, only to be replaced by a new regime driven by commercialism and media.

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Drama sport gridiron football team manager owner

Persons of interest

  • Cameron Diaz .... Christina Pagniacci
  • Dennis Quaid .... #19 Jack "Cap" Rooney
  • James Woods .... Doctor Harvey Mandrake
  • Jamie Foxx .... #13 Willie Beaman
  • LL Cool J .... #33 Julian Washington
  • Matthew Modine .... Doctor Allie Powers
  • Jim Brown .... Montezuma Monroe
  • Charlton Heston .... The Commissioner
  • Ann-Margret .... Margaret Pagniacci
  • Aaron Eckhart .... Nick Crozier
  • John N McGinley .... Jack Rose
  • Lauren Holly .... Cindy Rooney
  • Lela Rochon .... Vanessa Struthers
  • Lawrence Taylor .... #58 Luther "Shark" Lavay
  • Daniel Pyne .... Screenwriter
  • John Logan .... Screenwriter
  • Oliver Stone .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Varsity blues: The next generation.

Varsity blues is all about the liberation and freedom offered to young men who can play Grid-Iron. It is about hope and overcoming the expectations that hammer at a player from all sides, from his family, from his friends, from his coach, from his fellow players. Any given Sunday is all about the game as it is in the real world. teams are like a McDonald's franchise: available to the highest bidder, related to their home town only because they haven't been sold yet. Games are played by the people off the field as much as the people on the field. Offensive and defensive tacticians advise the coaches of possible outcomes and solutions who then decide what play the players will execute. Team doctors, physiotherapists, counsellors, priests (!) and equipment managers also follow the players around the country. Not to mention the people who have a financial stake in the team. Grid-Iron is an industry more than it is a sport. The same applies to baseball, basketball and ice hockey in the USA. In Europe it's soccer. In Australia it's footy, footy and footy. Where there's money to be made someone will be there trying to make it.

Meanwhile, Oliver has captured the dichotomy of honour and income and put it up on the screen for you to learn. Do you have to understand Grid-Iron to enjoy Any given Sunday? No, not really. Do you have to be a sports fan? Well... yes. Sport has a special place in human culture that you either understand and accept or you don't. Kind of like religion but with less hypocrisy. There are many, many stories going on in this film for you to follow but they all bow before the overwhelming presence of the game. As in life, everything else is just practice for the real thing.

Al is exactly what his character requires: a hard-arsed, old school coach with more honour than commercial savvy. He loves the game he discovered 30 years ago and cannot face the prostitute that it has become. Dennis is the faded glory of the old game: tattered, bruised, bleeding and down but not quite out. Ttogether they quantify everything that is good about sport.

Cameron is Al's polar opposite: young, fiscal and dynamic. She has inherited a job she doesn't want but cannot quit. She sees football as a game of commerce, not endeavour. She is supported by Jamie, the tough, brash youngster given a shot at the top position and grabbing it for all he's worth. Together they quantify everything that is real about sport in the USA.

The two sides butt horns all the way through Any given Sunday: old school versus new school, glory versus gain, rose-tinted memory versus hard-edged reality. The winner of this battle is left for you to decide (as it should be, after all, you are the ones who shape the commercialisation of sport by paying to see it).

At 2½ hours this film goes over the commercial time limit, this is Oliver, remember, and there's a lot of information to absorb, some of which doesn't really need to be there (the toings and froings of the team doctors, for instance). If you're a die hard sport bloke then get down and worship at the altar. Just don't drink too much before the screening.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Medium level coarse language)

Surveillance time

144 minutes (2:24 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 27 July 2000
DVD rental: 16 January 2001
VHS rental: 16 January 2001
DVD retail: 6 August 2001

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