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 Post subject: Any Given Sunday
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Damned Dirty Admin
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Directed by: Oliver Stone
Production year: 1999
Starring: Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Cameron Diaz


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Plot:

When a devastating hit knocks a professional football legend and quarterback Cap Rooney out of the game, a young, unknown third-stringer is called in to replace him. Having ridden the bench for years because of a string of bad luck stories and perhaps insufficient character, Willie Beaman seizes what may be his last chance, and lights up the field with a raw display of athletic prowess. His stunning performance over several games is so outstanding and fresh it seems to augur a new era in the history of this Miami franchise, and forces aging coach Tony D'Amato to reevaluate his time-tested values and strategies and begin to confront the fact that the game, as well as post-modern life may be passing him by.

Trailer:


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 Post subject: Re: Any Given Sunday
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:11 am 
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Prince Judah
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The latest Super Bowl just finished (the Giants won) so I thought I'd check out ANY GIVEN SUNDAY again. Director Oliver Stone tackles an important part of our culture as he does with most of his films (finance-Wall Street, war-Vietnam, etc.), and this time it's pro sports-Football. Only, Stone doesn't just study the subject at hand or examine it, he eviscerates it. The style and tone is coarse; so are the characters - coarse, crude, loud, cursing, obnoxious and nearly caricatures. Other critics have described it all as "over the top." One defense Stone might use is that this is a fictionalized account of modern football; the focus is on one fictional team - the Miami Sharks. After watching, I got the impression that Stone doesn't like football very much, or at least the way it's run, but that may not be the case; he does include moments of reverence for the sport and its history, such as speeches by a couple of characters. But I also have long thought that Stone looks upon humanity as just animals with slightly larger brains and presents them this way; hence, the negative tone in his films, including this one.

Heston plays the football commissioner in one short scene at just past the 2-hour mark (this is a long film, at 2 & 1/2 hrs.); actually, he pops up for a second a bit earlier and then has his speaking scene - it's with Cameron Diaz. Though it's a tiny role, Heston ends up representing the one moment of sanity in this film - no surprise, eh? Before the scene, it was just so much yelling apes for 2 hours and then Heston appears as the one rational voice (and if anyone here thinks I'm making a wry reference to another film with apes and Heston, you are correct :ddape: ).

But, in a bit of sly trickery, Stone does more with Heston than just that small scene. This should be a pleasant surprise to Heston fans who have not seen this film. About 75 minutes in, way before Heston's key scene, the new quarterback (Jamie Foxx) for the Sharks comes over for dinner at coach Al Pacino's house.
Spoiler:
The coach's TV is playing a film - it's BEN-HUR! Stone makes sure to show the chariot race, including a charioteer getting run over, and we just see Heston as Ben-Hur appear as it switches away to the coach and his QB speaking over dinner. We think that's it.. but it isn't. In an audacious choice, as an argument escalates between the coach and the QB, Stone intercuts between them and the chariot race. Stone also includes scenes of Heston rowing as a galley slave, as the QB argues about race and hints at modern day slavery. Of course, this doesn't make sense unless the coach has a strangely edited version of BEN-HUR on his TV. There's more - we also see the end of the chariot race as Messala gets mashed, an allusion to how football can trample players, through Stone's prism...
You can see that scene below; it's in two parts for the entire thing - it's a long 7-minute scene in the film; just be aware that it's a spoiler for those who wish to be surprised:

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Spoiler:
Was Stone a fan of BEN-HUR..? I think he was a fan of Heston, despite his very leftist politics; he was one of the mourners who attended Heston's funeral.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Given Sunday
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:35 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Hail Chrysagon , blessings on you three times, in the name of John the Baptist! Man, this should be mentioned in the 'References to Charlton Heston' thread-- such a witty and unusual reference, using his old masterpiece for a later work! We call this thing, idiomatically-- "To worship the goddess of the Ganga using the water of the Ganga itself".

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 Post subject: Re: Any Given Sunday
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Prince Judah
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itsjudah24 wrote:
Hail Chrysagon , blessings on you three times, in the name of John the Baptist! Man, this should be mentioned in the 'References to Charlton Heston' thread--


You're right - I didn't think of that. I'll plug in a version of my post above in that other thread.


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