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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.

"Now that you've read the exhaustive list of extra features on this double-disc set and you've dedicated a full day to see them all, be prepared for an exhausting assault on the senses as our feature presentation commences. Yes, it's the perplexing game of American football played the Oliver Stone way.

As you'd expect he dissects the sport/showbiz spectacle of gridiron with all the delicacy of a Crimean War field surgeon. No matter what your opinion of Stone's excesses are (and here his excesses suit the material) you can hardly accuse him of being boring. His filmmaking style is voracious and consuming, as if he simply can't fit in everything he wants to say. Even at 151 minutes it seems too brief for the multiple storylines.

Like a Robert Altman on amphetamines, Stone packs in as much as he can and leaves no tried and true sports movie element uncovered. There's the ageing star (Dennis Quaid) whose money hungry wife wants him to keep playing no matter the risks; the replacement quarterback (Jamie Foxx) who leaps from nowhere to stardom and the old school coach (Al Pacino) who's desperately attempting to halt the team's losing streak.

What's more interesting than the team's on-field wins and losses are the sideline elements that bring the business of sport into sharp focus. James Woods is dynamite as the team doctor who understands much better than conscientious assistant medico Matthew Modine what it's all about. "These guys have got 3 or 4 years to make their money then that's it" is his rationale when turning a blind eye to potentially dangerous injuries that could ruin a player's career. Cameron Diaz, as the team's new owner, brings the dreaded reality of marketing to the foreground in a series of confrontations with Pacino and team officials that prove just how far this game (and just about every popular sport you can name) has come since it was primarily about putting a team on the field and trying your best to win. The pernicious influence of corporate interests, giant egos, media attention, TV rights, sponsorships and endorsements that make up the modern game are here in stark hyper-reality. If, like me, you believe rugby league died the day Sydney’s Newtown was ejected from the competition you'll know what I mean.

I can take or leave the bone crunching on-field action and the dressing room pep talks but away from the grass (or astroturf) fields of combat, Any Given Sunday has plenty of juicy drama and a swag of fine performances from a classy cast. Stone can't resist getting in on the act himself and plays a commentator in the film while also providing excellent audio commentary on the additional features. As a value for money purchase it's hard to go past this title that packs as many extras as Any Given Fan could possibly desire on two discs."
Richard Kuipers

Published April 5, 2001 

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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia



CAST: Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, James Woods, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J

DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone

RUNNING TIME: 151 minutes


DVD RELEASE: January 17, 2001

Disc A
Interactive Menus; Scene Access; Theatrical Trailer; Music Only Track; Director’s Commentary; Cast and Crew Commentary; Languages in Dolby Digital 5.1: English, Italian; Subtitles: Bulgarian, English, French, German, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Italian for the hearing impaired.

Disc B
‘Full Contact’: The Making of Any Given Sunday; Deleted / Extended scenes; Original Screen tests; Stills Gallery; 3 Music Videos; Outtakes / Gag Reel; Football Outtakes Montage; The Art of Selling; Miscellaneous Landscape and Outtakes Montage; Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish.

Enhanced Features for DVD-ROM PC:
Special On-line Events; Training Camp: Grid Iron Trivia Challenge; From Script to Screen; Virtual Edit Suite; Original Theatrical Website; Scoreboard: Essays and Reviews.

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