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Super Bowl Report

11. 'Any Given Sunday'

February 01, 2009|Tom Roston

Is football like a grand aria? The thrash of heavy metal? The concussive beat of rap? To director Oliver Stone, it's all of the above -- and more. He implements all three kinds of music in 1999's "Any Given Sunday," in which he depicts the game in much the way he did war in "Platoon" -- as an epic, macho saga of men fighting for their manhood. He said he wanted this film to be to football what "The Godfather" was to the mob.

Few directors -- maybe Michael Mann or Ridley Scott -- could come close to bringing the same level of machismo and stylistic verve to the game, but one also quickly gets the sense that Stone truly is a die-hard fan.

The movie follows the last games in the season of the Miami Sharks, led by an aging and nearly broken coach, Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino), and an equally bruised quarterback, Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid). When young gun Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx) replaces the injured Rooney and begins winning games, D'Amato's loyalty to his first-string quarterback is tested. Deciding the fate of all these teeth-gnashers is the female owner (Cameron Diaz), who might be the toughest of them all.

Stone interlaces the fast cuts of video games with footage of Vince Lombardi; he cuts from cheerleaders to splashy shots of Miami and the fearful eyes of a quarterback being pounded into the earth. All this is grounded by incredible realism on the field as well as the use of real football players. The director delivers realistic action, even if some of it is over the top.

-- Tom Roston

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calendar@latimes.com

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