Cocktails and Movies Take Out Theater: Draft Day

by Tim Barley

Draft Day keeps the story rolling in the high stakes NFL draft

cocktails and Movies take out theater Draft Day - Costner

Today is the annual NFL draft. What was once an add-on for the most diehard pro football fans, has turned into a four day extravaganza courtesy of ESPN. Now, it’s held in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX this year in a purposely built, temporary theater. It’s going to be a spectacle. And while it’s religion to some, most of us don’t care but to see the highlights on the news or shared via social media.

But, one movie came along a few years ago that made the behind-the-scenes drama of draft day come alive for us at Cocktails and Movies. That movie, starring Kevin Costner, is Draft Day.

The Film

Draft Daytake out theater: draft day
Directed By: Ivan Reitman
Year Released: 2014
Starring: Kevin Costner, Denis Leary, Jennifer Garner, Chadwick Boseman
Rating: PG-13
Runtime:  110 Minutes


— C&M —

It’s NFL draft day, and the Cleveland Browns are hunting for the next star to lead them to NFL greatness. (side note: I’m not sure ANYONE can lead them to greatness). General Manager, Sonny Weaver, Jr., is feeling the heat from owner Anthony Molina (Frank Langella) to make a great trade to get an impact player. But, Sonny has a lot on his mind to focus just on the impending draft. His girlfriend and team financial analyst, Ali (Jennifer Garner) just told him she’s pregnant, his mother is mad at him for not attending his father’s funeral, reading of the will or spreading of the ashes. Sonny, Sr, the former coach was also fired by Sonny, Jr. the  year before. To say that a lot is riding on Sonny’s shoulders would be an understatement.

draft-day-fireFeeling the pressure, Sonny makes an outrageous trade with the Seattle Seahawks for the number one pick overall in order to get the best quarterback in the draft, Heisman winner Beau Callahan, from the University of Wisconsin.
NOTE: I am a Badger and I love my school, but this is the one “plot hole, suspension of disbelief” that I almost couldn’t get over: a Heisman Winning QB from Wisconsin is a stretch.

Sonny makes the trade, giving up Cleveland’s next three number one picks to get Seattle’s overall number one pick, unheard of in any movie or real life. When the public learns of this, they are overjoyed that they can now get Callahan. But the front office turmoil is just beginning. The new coach, Vince Penn, doesn’t want a new QB in his system, preferring the good QB they have (Tom Welling).

While trying to deal with his mother, the girlfriend he hasn’t really committed to, an irate coach who thinks he’s mortgaged the team’s future, and finding out more and more about the golden boy QB, Sonny goes with his gut and takes the guy he wanted all along and the guy he could have gotten at the seventh pick. All hell breaks loose, but Sonny manages to pull it all together and get three great players and making everyone happy.

— C&M– 

What makes this movie enjoyable is the quick paced writing and knowledge of the simple, predictable intricacies of how the draft works. Well, not really how it works, but how it works in the movies. Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman’s script has the right combination of side stories to build the characters’ back stories, and strong main stories that work in tandem easily. Add in Ivan Reitman’s brilliant direction in pacing the story and building tension right up to the first overall pick and up to the seventh pick, and what you get is a fun day at the NFL draft. cocktails and movies take out theater draft-day-spilt-screen

Ivan’s direction and use of split screens that bleed into each other does a great job of bringing the viewer into the action. What we are seeing isn’t necessarily a movie, but a real-time look at just how tense the hours up to the draft can be. And Reitman has years of experience to bring out the best in his actors to play the roles needed.

The movie premiered at fourth place in its opening weekend and only garnered $29 million, and only scores a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s one of our favorite sports movies to watch on a rainy day. And now, for that cocktail…

— C&M —

Drink Pairing: Beer



This is one of the few movies that we’ll not suggest a cocktail