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"Who the fuck are you?"  -Benita Courtenay to her husband, Bryce, at 2.30 am, as he finished writing The Power of One after 12 months.
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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Once the darlings of the football league, the Miami Sharks are heading for their fourth straight defeat and everyone is looking to veteran coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino) to do something about it. Team owner Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz), who has taken over following the death of her father, is not a fan of D'Amato's coaching tactics. She's convinced the Sharks' losing streak can be directly attributed to D'Amato's reluctance to replace his aging and injured one time star quarterback, Jack Rooney (Dennis Quaid), with brash rookie Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx), who, in addition to his football skills, readily personifies Pagliacci's "win at all cost, show me the money" credo. With the all-important finals coming up, D'Amato knows that a wrong decision will not only knock his team out of the competition, it could also signal the end of his career.

"There's no such thing as a boring Oliver Stone film. Even if you haven't got a clue what everyone's talking about and doing for most of the 151 minutes of Any Given Sunday, you can always rely on Stone to give you something to remember. In this case it's a collection of fine performances from a cast headed by Pacino as the "to hell and back" coach, Cameron Diaz as the ball-busting team owner with something to prove, Quaid as the broken down old trooper wondering if it's all still worth it and newcomer Jamie Foxx as the "All About Eve"
understudy stealing the limelight from the faded star. Add to that another dynamite James Woods performance as a medico with questionable ethics and football legend/blaxploitation icon Jim Brown supplying soul and grit as the assistant coach and there's plenty to admire even if, like me, you have no idea what a "4.8 yard per carry" statistic means. That's the insurmountable hurdle placed in front of non-gridiron aware audiences who have little chance to become involved with a film littered with references to the minute details of the game. Stone obviously loves this stop-start sport with teams comprising of dozens of players (he turns up in a continuing cameo as a TV commentator) and I'm sure it gives a searingly true depiction of what goes down on and off the field. It's just a shame (even with 12 minutes cut from the original running time) that it means so little unless you understand it. Further plusses include cinematography by Salvatore Totino which serve up the LSD trip visuals for which Stone is justly famed, a narrative which moves at a punchy pace and dynamic editing which makes the most incomprehensible game come alive at times. Even with all its assets this still feels like a two and a half hour prologue for a film which never arrives and is best approached as a lengthy documentary about a strange, particularly American ritual."
Richard Kuipers

"After spending a decade and a half applying a blow torch to the belly of financial institutions (Wall Street), presidential politics (JFK & Nixon) and manipulative and duplicitous media (Natural Born Killers), Oliver Stone has focused his proven talent for vivisection on the world of big time American football. On the surface, the rogue's gallery Stone has assembled - the harried coach facing a career meltdown, the veteran player forced to make room for the younger model, the arrogant team doctor who thinks nothing of sending a seriously injured player back on the field, and even the cynical sports writer peddling a bucketful of contempt - may look like they've been cobbled together from a thousand old sports movies, but as his early films readily testify, the director has never been one for suffering stereotypes gladly. Stone's goal here is to illustrate how what once was a fairly uncomplicated game which wore its mantles of integrity and loyality with considerable pride, has become a corporate juggernaut being run along tracks greased with unbridled greed and corruption. It's a complex, cacophonous world where egos need more massaging than hamstrings and every touchdown is accompanied by the unmistakable ping of the cash register ringing up another sale. To orchestrate this furiously paced, overblown homage to capitalism and testosterone, Stone's restless cameras employ nervous jump cuts to carry the viewer from the inner sanctum of the noisy boardroom, to the charged atmosphere of the locker room, and finally on to the thundering, Dolby-accented Sturm und Drung of the on-field battle itself. It looks like a logistical nightmare but Stone and his terrific cast pull it off magnificently."
Leo Cameron

"In many ways, this is a marginal movie. It depends so much on a clear understanding of, and empathy for, the kind of devotion that many Americans have for their football - it's a complicated feeling which is not replicated in many other sports or countries. To many Americans, it will probably seem like Oliver Stone has captured something essential about their character. To many other cinema-goers, particularly those outside the USA, it will probably look like predictable masturbation. There is certainly enough to maintain interest at a superficial level. Stone has crafted some thumping stretches of on-field action which undoubtedly extend the cinematic approach to sport. The cast give overall solid performances, though the idea of Cameron Diaz as a football team owner is a paradox which hints at a "jobs-for-the-girls" approach. In the end, it is the characters themselves who fail to offer much hope. Outside football, they are nothing. They have no life, they have no income, they have no knowledge, they have no history. Even those characters who come across as having some kind of soul are still tied to a formula which is essentially heartless. If they were soldiers, it may come across as noble. In this case, it comes across as pitiful. Oliver Stone normally asks a lot of his audience. In this instance, he doesn't ask for much. There are no lingering questions, there are no loose ends, there is no questioning of possibilities. Coming from a man who has such a strong history of pushing the boundaries of social history in the way Oliver Stone has, it's plain disappointing."
Anthony Mason

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CAST: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, James Wood, Edward Burns, Ann Margaret, Cameron Diaz, Clifton Davis, Charlton Heston, Lauren Holly, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine,

DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone

PRODUCER: Dan Halsted, Lauren Shuler Donner, Clayton Townsend

SCRIPT: John Logan (screen story) Daniel Pyne (screen story) Oliver Stone, Pat Toomay (novel)


EDITORS: Stuart Levy, Michael Mees, Thomas J. Nordberg, Keith Salmon, Stuart Waks

MUSIC: Richard Horowitz


RUNNING TIME: 162 minutes



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