‘Draft Day’ is a Five Star Film with Surprise Performances

It’s always interesting when you watch an older movie and discover a supporting performance by an actor who would later go on to fame. Such is the case with the 2014 film Draft Day.

I remembered really liking the film, so on Christmas I decided to watch it again. I had already done the requisite viewings of The Muppet Christmas Carol, A Miracle on 34th Street, Die Hard, and A Christmas Story, so I didn’t feel too guilty about watching a non-holiday flick.

Draft Day stars Kevin Costner as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns of the NFL. The story follows Costner’s character pursuing a trade for the number one draft pick on draft day. He’s under pressure from the team owner to make a splash.

Jennifer Garner plays Costner’s love interest, who is also a co-worker. Despite being a secondary story, the romance is interesting and flawed, and thus beautiful in its own way.

I was surprised to recognized Chadwick Boseman as one of the college football players Costner is considering on draft day. Boseman, of course, went on to star as Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He then earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Boseman probably would have won the Academy Award for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom had he been properly nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, since his role was not the lead. Tragically, Boseman passed away from cancer in 2020.

In Draft Day, Costner is excellent as Sonny Weaver Jr., carrying the film. Garner and Boseman both turn in fantastic performances. Denis Leary is stellar as the Vince Penn, a coach Weaver has been saddled with by the team owner. Penn has a drastically different vision for the team than Weaver, making their interplay very engaging.

Frank Langella, a legend in his own right, plays Browns owner Anthony Molina. The costuming decision to have him in sunglasses even in dark rooms really makes the character stand out (in addition to Langella’s brilliant acting, of course). Tom Welling, Sam Elliott, and Terry Crews all turn in great supporting performances.

At the end of the day, Draft Day is a movie that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The story is filled with twists and turns and has an ending that will leave you feeling good about the world in general, and football specifically.

Draft Day is a five-star film. If you haven’t seen Draft Day in a while, or if you have never seen it, consider giving it a viewing. It’s available to stream on the Pluto network for free with commercials. I don’t mind commercials, myself. They give me the opportunity to run to the bathroom or grab a drink without missing any of the action – and Draft Day is a film you don’t want to miss any of the action of.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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