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'Draft Day' is fun but forgettable

By Christopher Campbell
On April 14, 2014

While "Draft Day" offers insight into the workings of the National Football League, it is not a must-see.

The entire film takes place on Draft Day, when coaches and general managers of the NFL frantically figure out who they are going to choose to play on their teams. Kevin Costner plays the general manager for the Cleveland Browns, Sonny Weaver Jr. He really wants to do something great that day to turn the program around and ensure both players and fans will be satisfied with his decision.

He gets a possible chance at doing this when the Seattle Seahawks approach him that morning and offer to let him choose Bo Callahan, a quarterback who will undoubtedly be the draft favorite. In return, he is to give the Seahawks his first round picks for the next three years. He agrees to this trade, and it does not sit well with everyone, including the Browns' head coach, played by Denis Leary. It causes quite a stir, and the whole movie is about him deciding whether he will go through with picking Callahan or choose someone else.

When the film starts, it feels a little bit like watching SportsCenter. For some people, that is a good thing. However, for people like me who are not that interested in professional sports and tend to zone out when other people watch ESPN, it is a slow, boring start. It is also confusing to people who do not know much about how the draft works. It took me about half of the movie to really grasp what was happening.

This is partly because a lot of the film is exposition. It is just characters explaining things, explaining other characters, explaining situations. It would have been so much better had it introduced by showing rather than telling.

For example, Weaver has a relationship with his assistant Ali (Jennifer Garner), who is mad at him for something he said that morning. However, rather than showing what he said, it simply shows her being angry after the fact. Throughout the film they talk it through, but there is little reason to really care about it.

Bo Callahan is not the only choice he needs to make. There are a couple of other players who really want to be on the Cleveland Browns, and he tries to decide whether he wants to put them on the team or not. These players are not introduced very well, but they are important to the story. From what is shown and explained, they are likable, but it would have been better had there been more focus on them so the audience has reason to care about the situation.

As the film picks up, it becomes really interesting. The main conflict is between the head coach and Weaver. The coach does not approve of Weaver's decision to trade the next three years of first-round draft picks for Bo Callahan. He has other ideas for how he wants the team to be run, and he wants Weaver to reconsider. There are a few tense moments between the two characters because of this.

When the time for his final decisions comes, it is surprisingly intense, and there are a few interesting twists to it that left me satisfied.

It does have its boring moments of exposition, but it is entertaining enough to warrant my recommendation for when it comes to DVD. For those who can care less about sports, it can still be interesting to see how the NFL works. Those who watch ESPN regularly will probably enjoy it more.

Content: Rated PG-13. There is a mild amount of language with one F-word. There are also a few brief mentions of sex, but it is not detailed.

Christopher Campbell is an Aggie film buff who has written reviews for several publications. He has been involved in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Psi-Chi. He is currently majoring in psychology and minoring in Portuguese. Send any feedback to topherwriter@gmail.com, check out his blog at criticalchristopher.blogspot.com or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCampbell02.
 

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