Any Given Sunday

| January 4, 2000

This movie portrays the inner struggles of a washed-out football player Jack “Cap” Rooney, played by Dennis Quaid. There’s the hot young 3rd string quarterback, Willie Beamen, played by Jamie Fox. Then there’s the aging coach, Tony D’Amato, played by Al Pachino, who is dealing with his own issues of poor personal relations and the fear of facing retirement. And there is the young woman who is at once the new owner of the Florida Sharks as well as the daughter of the recently deceased owner; Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) is dealing with the pressures of running a football team without the benefit of experience.
Ms. Pagniacci’s main focus throughout the movie is on bottom line finances. Whether she’s considering breaking her contract in Miami and moving to Los Angeles, or getting rid of her head quarterback–whom she’s never appreciated or respected. Whatever decisions she’s going to make are going to be based on money, and not much else. It doesn’t help that her alcoholic mother (played by Ann-Margaret) has never shown any respect for Quaid’s character, even though she does suspect something deeper is involved there.
Most of the time Quaid’s character deals with ongoing injuries, which keep him out of the seasonexcept for the playoff game. His young blonde wife (Lauren Holly) does not support Quaid’s decision to get out of the game. She feels he still has 2-3 years left in him despite the concussions and “blind spots.” On top of his personal injuries, he has to deal with the fact that the hot-shot young 3rd string quarterback is going to take over the game and the team from him, eventually. They share differing opinions as to just how soon this will be.
Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) winds up pissing off the entire team with his new found fame and doesn’t recognize the need to give proper credit to the team, and thus winds up hogging the spotlight. In turn, his teammates (including LL Cool J) turn on him, making Beamen’s (Jamie Foxx’s) career appear less than spectacular in a couple of games.
Four years ago the Sharks had two award-winning seasons back-to-back, but that’s all changed. D’Amato (Pacino) is dealing with his own failed marriage and the slimmest hint of life with his estranged children. He lives for the game; to the detriment of his own personal life and health. Now he’s being pressured to succeed by the new boss, Pagniacci, who is also pressuring him to get rid of aging first-string quarterback Rooney (Quaid). D’Amato believes the game “has got to be about something more than winning,” but he’s about to find out what he will do to survive.
At the end of the day, everyone is able to respect everyone and the game is won. A good, action packed movie with some fairly tricky cinematography.

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