My Week in Movies – April 17th

Considering what I ventured forth to see this week, it’s probably not fair to call it a “disappointment” (I kind of saw some poor quality coming my way), but it’s one of those lesser weeks, let’s just say.

Draft Day

Kevin Costner (see, I told you, having a “moment”) returns to the big screen as Sonny Weaver Jr., General Manager of the Cleveland Browns (oof) who has a very long Draft Day in store or him. Costner is joined by Jennifer Gardner who plays his secret girlfriend, an executive on the team (she manages the salary cap and, as she makes clear many times, knows football very well, because girls can like football too!) who has revealed the prior evening that she is pregnant. Sonny is tasked with drafting the college athlete who can help turn his franchise around while contending with his girlfriend’s disappointment that the draft (and his overall surliness) has distracted him from engaging with the baby news. The film follows Weaver as he struggles with a multitude of pressures, both football-related (to trade or not to trade) and not (Weaver is the scion of a football family and has, in the eyes of his mother and his city, not lived up to that legacy); we are in his shadow as he hems and haws and ultimately receives validation in the form of a miraculous draft that heals his families woes, reassures his girlfriend, and even makes a nice young man with adorable nephews a very rich man.

Football-wise, this film is far out of the realm of possibility. To trade up and draft a mid-first round prospect should have rendered Sonny an immediate laughingstock, no matter how much the kid needed first pick money, and that Sonny rescues it by convincing Seattle to go along with an absurd trade proves that this film is not for people who know football; it’s an attempt to help people who don’t know it well delve into some of the humanity behind it. And as human drama that tries to explain an unfamiliar process to non-sports fan, it works really well. It’s certainly not great or a must-see, but it is a perfectly approachable sports trifle meant for everyone but the die hard sports fans a film called Draft Day might actually attract.

Grade: C+

Jinn

At last, The Legend of Hercules is dethroned. Jinn, my new least favorite film of 2014, is a film that wraps itself in the myth of the Abrahamic faiths. It introduces angels and demons (jinn), supernatural beings that sway things on Earth. The movie starts with some background (what are Jinn, what happened in India a century ago) before getting to its protagonist, a typical Michigan dude who has no idea what he’s about to be dragged into. From there it follows a pretty standard narrative arc, if that narrative arc were fingerpainted by a toddler. It’s all pretty nonsensical, and in its kookiness, it isn’t particularly entertaining. The main character lacks any charisma and though Ray Park (Darth Maul) finally speaks in his own voice for a role, the actor’s main asset, his martial arts skill, get underutilized. The best part (are you ready for this?) is that this movie expected to be part of a trilogy. Ha! That is not going to work out so well for them.

Grade: F

I had a feeling this week would be bad, and I was, er, right, but I got a decent surprise in that Draft Day is at least engaging. Next week is shaping up to be a lot like last week: crowded and varying wildly in quality.