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'Draft Day' is a good movie pick

4/15/2014

I've never been a big sports guy, but I love a good football movie. As we've seen in recent years, a sports movie doesn't have to focus on a big game or a trying season to be successful. "Draft Day" is similar to "Moneyball" in a lot of ways -- it focuses on a general manager trying to assemble not only a winning team but the right team.

Kevin Costner stars as Sonny Weaver Jr., the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. Costner delivers a "Costner-esque" performance. It might be tried and true, but it makes all the right plays and is the necessary anchor for the film's emotional build. The tension/drama curve leading up to the big game is something usually done well by sports movies. Even though there is little sports playing in "Draft Day," that curve still is satisfying.

For those who are unaware, like me, of the internal workings of a pro football team or a process such as the NFL Draft, "Draft Day" offers an interesting, yet accessible, window into a completely different piece of the wide world of sports.

As the clock counts down to the start of the draft, the audience is treated to some absolutely stunning shots of professional football stadiums and training facilities. There's something special about seeing Arrowhead Stadium completely devoid of people and cars. There's a connection between the potential of an empty stadium and the potential of a newly forged team that serves the movie well.

While "Draft Day" can't quite reach the heights of "Moneyball," it does provide an enjoyable experience. Costner is great, the story builds well, and now I really want to watch some football.

* 5 of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation.

james.gerstner@gmail.com