Published on: May 2, 2014Draft Day
is the new Kevin Costner sports movie, which is all by itself a pretty good pedigree, considering that the star already has Bull Durham
, Field of Dreams
and Tin Cup
under his belt. (He also has For Love Of The Game
, which doesn't measure up to the other three, though he is entirely credible in it.) Draft Day
is directed by Ivan Reitman, who also has a pretty good track record. (Heard of Ghostbusters
and Groundhog Day
?) And, it has a terrific supporting cast, featuring Jennifer Garner, Ellen Burstyn, Frank Langella, Denis Leary, Sam Elliot, Tom Welling, and the extraordinary Chadwick Boseman … so one can walk into the theater with a certain amount of confidence.
The events of Draft Day
take place in the hours leading up to the NFL draft, as Sonny Weaver Jr. (Costner), general manager of the Cleveland Browns, has to decide who to take in the first round as he negotiates with other general managers, the Browns owner (Langella), his mother, an uncooperative new coach (Leary), and a girlfriend/cap expert (Garner) who has just revealed that she is pregnant. In other words, he has a full plate … including grappling with the shadow of his late father, the former coach of the Browns.
Here's the thing about Draft Day
- it is perfect for someone like me, who likes football, but is not obsessed with it … and who knows very little about how the draft works. It was enjoyable though a lot less credible for someone like my son Brian, who knows a lot more about this stuff, and knew what could happen and, more importantly, what couldn't.
With that caveat, I have to say that I really enjoyed Draft Day
, though to be honest, Costner's character in some ways is the perfect picture of how not to run a business - for too much of the movie, he seems buffeted by events and personalities, and one of the reasons many people seem willing and able to give him a hard time is because he doesn't present the image of someone in control. That said, Costner - as always - makes the movie work … he hasn't always made great choices as an actor, but he is always interesting, always invested and engaged in the material, and utterly watchable.
One other note. Watch Chadwick Boseman, who plays a defensive back, Vontae Mack, who is one of the players being considered by Costner as a potential first round pick. Boseman, who was wonderful as Jackie Robinson in 42
, plays an entirely different kind of athlete here, but he fills what essentially is a small role with layers of unexpected complexity … he owns every scene he is in. He is a major star in the making … and I think he'll explode onscreen when he plays singer James Brown in Get On Up
, a biopic due to be released in August.
Spent some time in Orlando last week, which is why I found myself at Cask & Larder, in Winter Park,which is quickly moving into Bin 36 and Etta's "home away from home" territory. It always helps when I get to know the bartender (Larry, always great) and the managers (Kelly and Trilce) … I like feeling like a regular, even if I only show up a couple of times a year to enjoy the catfish sandwich, the crab toast (served with smoked artichokes, heirloom tomatoes, and pretzel bread) and the lobster corn dogs.
In this case, I also got a chance to meet the brewmaster. My friend Bob Morris (a terrific mystery novelist, travel writer and publisher) introduced me to Ron Raike, who has just developed a new Mezcal Margarita Ale, which was an unlikely but utterly delicious combination of beer and margarita … and I can only imagine how addicted I'd be to this ale if I spent much time in Florida during the hot summer months. It is an awesome beer that is the equal of all of Ron's other beers … and I recommend the entire experience to you.
Great stuff. Go when you can. Thank me later.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.