Movie Review: Draft Day [Spoiler Free]
Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) is a down on his luck general manager of the Cleveland Browns. As the man tasked with putting together one of the NFL’s most unsuccessful teams there is no day more stressful than draft day.
Naturally I tagged along with a buddy to see this film on opening weekend. $5.75 later I was in my seat with no popcorn (a playa can’t drop $6 for popcorn) and ready to see this film. Before we even get to the film I’d like to point out the odd sensation of Kevin Costner fans being the main patrons of this film. You’d think there would be less elder ladies and more “bros” but alas, there were maybe 8 bros and like 20 plus of the elder stateswomen.
Back to the film. Weaver is the manager of the Browns and the pressure is on him to put together a draft that gives the fan base hope. This film is actually NFL approved and features all of the branding, logos, and feel of the actual draft day. You see Mel Kiper, Jon Gruden, Deion Sanders, and many others in cameos.
To keep it spoiler free I’ll boil the plot down to this: Weaver is on the fence between three prospects. There’s Bo Callahan the big armed quarterback from Wisconsin, Vontae Mack the outside linebacker from Ohio State, and Ray Jennings (played by Arian Foster) the quick-footed running back from Florida State. Weaver wants Mack, the coach wants Jennings, and the fans want Callahan.
Hours before the draft Weaver backs himself in a corner and trades three number one draft picks to the Seattle Seahawks for the #1 overall selection. (This isn’t a spoiler.) Weaver doesn’t want to take Callahan but the team owner and fan base have forced his hand.
There is also this little thing about Weaver’s father dying suddenly a week before the events of the film. For a guy who’s supposed to be grieving Weaver seems to have already focused most of his thoughts on the Cleveland Browns.
And that’s where the criticisms will begin. The movie paced a bit fast for my taste. Being that it takes place entirely in the 24 hours of draft day, there isn’t any room to develop any of the characters. without spoiling anything, we are just presented with information and forced to accept it as gospel due to the film’s pace.
I would have loved for the film to go into more detail on the background of the players, Vontae Mack and the incumbent quarterback Brian Drew in particular. There are very interesting tidbits we get that would have made for a deeper connection to their stories.
Anyways, the film paces on regardless. On to the positives. The NFL brand is very present in the film. You get real NFL footage, legend cameos from several players, and an accurate NFL Network presentation of the draft. Costner does a great job with what he’s given as does Jennifer Garner (salary cap accountant).
In the film you get the feeling in many moments that Weaver is crumbling from the pressure between what he wants, what the coach wants, trying to save his job, and not let the personal drama creep in. As I said before the one hangup is that I never really felt like he was grieving over his father. As a matter of fact I totally forgot the death was even part of the story at times.
All in all I really enjoyed this film. As a draft guy I have to say it is a must see, maybe not theater worthy but still a great film for draft nerds such as ourselves.
I give the film a solid 3.75/5. I would watch it again but not at the theaters.
Disclosure Notice: MDHQ nor myself were paid in any way to post this.