Since today is Sunday, that means it is football day! (American football) so to honour this most sacred of days in the sporting week, I plonked myself down on the couch and put in the absolutely brilliant Football movie “Any Given Sunday” Starring Al Pacino, Denis Quaid, LL Motherfucking Cool Jay, Jamie Foxx, James Woods and Cameron Diaz, with that level of cast, how could you go wrong?
The basic premise of the film is that we follow a team down on its luck, on a 3 loss streak, but still with an outside shot of making the playoffs to the “Pantheon Cup” (which I assume is the film’s version of the super bowl). And at the helm of this all is the long-suffering head coach Tony D’Amato, played by the great Al Pacino. A gruff old school type of coach who seemingly can’t keep up with how football is changing and he himself is struggling to adapt. His job isn’t made any easier by a meddling owner played by Cameron Diaz, and the fact that at the start of the movie his starting quarterback goes down injured, then the backup gets injured the very next snap.
Don’t mess about with setting up the premise film writers! It is an incredibly improbable situation, but if it were to happen to a team (I’m sure it has on the occasion) then it really cripples your ability to score. So in comes 3rd string quarterback “Willie Beamen” played by Jamie Foxx, while being a 3rd teamer and presumably someone who is struggling to stay on the team (no other reason for him to be 3rd on the depth chart). However he does have one thing going for him, he doesn’t have bones made out of biscuits and paper, so he can take the hits and never gets injured the entire film, so that definitely helps when you’re the last Quarterback that they have on the team.
Ok, so reading that back to myself it’s incredibly easy to see that this film could seem incredibly clichéd and very unoriginal. Hey, It’s a feel good movie where a team is up against it, their’s infighting, a struggling old school coach, hotshot players who worry about there pay check more than making a play. It’s all there, but for me its all in the execution, because the characters are brilliantly portrayed and you feel yourself get more and more invested in the ones that you like, and of course the ones you don’t like, those are the ones you wish would get a clothesline to the face.
And that is the secret (or not so secret) element to any feel good movie, you need to be invested in the protagonists. If you don’t want them to win, or at least over come the trouble they are in, then how are you going to elicit a positive reaction from the viewer when the movie reaches its climax? That’s what make Feel Good movies so brilliant to watch, because they make you FEEL good. Seeing people overcoming their troubles, or a team overcoming what looks like an insurmountable challenge feels good because everyone either loves the underdog and/or seeing someone pull through, because that could be you, It inspires you to want to be like that, to conquer your fears.
It plays on that basic human instinct, and I love it.
One of my favourite parts of the movie just so happened to be at the end, again It plays off a basic human emotion. It does it so brilliantly I think you’ll be able to see what I mean after I explain it. After going through it all, Tony the coach has been “removed” for lack of a better word by the owner, so after going through a sham of a press conference that congratulates him for all he’s done for the franchise. there’s a twist however, when he comes up to speak he not so subtly tells the waiting media and his previous boss that he’s taking another job and that he’s taking the previous teams star quarterback.
Hell yeah, sticking it to your bitch of an Ex-Boss, got to love it!
I would be doing the film a disservice if I didn’t mention the most iconic part of this movie, and that is the inspirational speech given by Tony before the final big game.
Here it is 🙂
Since I suffer from Anxiety and Depression, I’ll often come back to this video if I need a pep talk, a little extra inspiration to help get through the day.
Again that’s why I love feel good movies, they make you feel good, and I love them for that, I love filmmakers who want to bring us these types of films. It reminds us all that we can do it, we do have the capabilities to deal with and overcome our problems, and that is something I think we all need reminding of from time to time.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it 🙂