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Movie Review

Draft Day

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and sexual references.

Reviewed by: Emily Saur

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Sports Comedy Drama
1 hr. 49 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 11, 2014 (wide—2,700+ theaters)
DVD: September 2, 2014
Copyright, Lionsgate click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Kevin CostnerSonny Weaver Jr.
Jennifer GarnerAli
Tom Welling … Brian Drew
Terry Crews … Earl Jennings
Sam Elliott … Coach Moore
Rosanna Arquette … Angie
Frank LangellaAnthony Molina
David Ramsey … Thompson
Chadwick Boseman … Vontae Mack
Denis Leary … Coach Penn
Ellen BurstynBarb Weaver
Patrick St. Esprit … Tom Michaels
W. Earl Brown … Ralph Mowry
Kevin Dunn … Marvin
Pat Healy … Jeff Carson
Sean Combs … Chris Crawford
more »
Director: Ivan Reitman
Producer: Summit Entertainment
OddLot Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Lionsgate

“The greatest victories don’t always happen on the field.”

“Draft Day” is an action-packed drama that captures the excitement of Draft Day in NFL football. General manager Sonny Weaver Jr. of the Cleveland Browns has to choose the draft picks for the 2014 season. No matter what decision he makes, someone is going to be upset—putting careers and relationships on the line. What will Sonny do?

“Draft Day” does have some moral messages, but it is not without offensive material. Profanity is frequent throughout the movie, with several uses of God’s name in vain—not unexpected in movies of this genre. G** d*** is used 11 times, Jesus’ name is used in vain 8-10 times, God’s name (6), Christ (2), h*ll (9). F***er is used once, s*** (16), a** (4), p*ss (1), b*tch (1), and b*stard (2).

Violence is moderate. One character throws a laptop in anger, and another character trashes someone else’s office. Also, there is mention of a gang fight and someone being hurt so badly he is in the hospital.

There is mention of a character’s 21st birthday party where he claims he doesn’t remember anything.

There is also a lot of sexual misconduct in this film. Although we do not see anyone having sex, a woman’s back is seen in the shower. We later find out that this woman, Ali, is Sonny Jr’s girlfriend and she is pregnant. While it is a relief that Ali does not plan to abort the baby, the Bible warns against fornication (Mark 7:20-22; Galatians 5:19). To make matters more sinful, Sonny was previously married and now divorced. Therefore, even if he marries Ali, he has committed adultery and will continue to do so (Matthew 19:9; Matthew 5:32; Mark 10:11-12). It should also be noted Ali is about 20 years younger than Sonny Jr, which some people may find offensive. She also wears tight skirts. Men are heard gossiping about another sleeping with multiple girls in a week (and uses the derogatory term “smack” for having sex) and talking about their past experiences. Again, we are reminded of the sin of fornication. Male genitalia is referred to as b*lls and d*cks. One character tells another to perform incest with his mother. An athletic trainer hits multiple characters in the buttocks. There is also potty humor.

Another issue in the movie is worry. Many characters are worried about keeping their jobs and making ends meet. Jesus tells us not to worry (Matthew 6:31). Christians can see the stress the characters are putting themselves under and remember that we have a choice and can avoid such stress by trusting the Lord God. Idolizing work is also a problem, because one character says she “devoted her life to football,” and we should only devote our lives to God.

Despite the distracting offensive material, the movie has overtones of standing up for what’s right, even while risking angering others. Jesus tells us we will face persecution for doing what’s right and that He will bless us for doing so (Matthew 5:10). I will not say any more as that may spoil the ending of the movie.

Several characters admit when they were wrong. Christians could learn from this because we are expected to make peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ (Matthew 5:23-25) and also to confess our wrongdoings to one another (James 5:16).

Overall, “Draft Day” is a drama that keeps viewers on their toes. There is some objectionable content, but there is some good as well. It’s up to you.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild to moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—The only thing that keeps me from giving this an “Above Average” is the language. I know that I should probably be more hung up on language than I am, but while I don’t want to hear an excessive amount of it, I do understand that there is going to be some. I get way more concerned about the thematic elements of movies, and story lines, than I do about language.

The story had some really positive themes—doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do—doing the right thing when it comes to relationships, the main character placing more value on a player’s character than on his very high level of skill. Costner’s character, who is the GM of the Cleveland Browns, is trying his best to honor the memory of his late father, and several other themes that reflect Christian ethics and morals.

I really enjoyed this movie, and I feel like I would recommend it to Christian friends, with the caveat, of course, that there is a certain amount of language. There is a small amount of violence (football violence) and sexual innuendo. I walked away from this movie with a whole lot more good feelings than negative ones.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Don, age 51 (USA)
Positive—As a woman and a huge pro football fan, I was really looking forward to this movie. Unfortunately, as mentioned by other reviewers, the language is pervasive and frankly completely unnecessary. Also, there is an unplanned pregnancy angle that wasn’t needed in the film. If you stripped out both those issues, this would have been an excellent movie. It does show the emotion of the draft day for all the people involved and is a nice “behind the scenes view” of the process to choose players.

If you like pro football and decide you can stomach the Lord’s name used in vain on numerous occasions, then you will find this an entertaining movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—C. Nelson, age 53 (USA)
Positive—I slipped this rental in with “Moneyball” in mind, wondering (even hoping) it would measure up to it without repeating the formula. I was only slightly disappointed. It begins with a ticking clock counting down to to pro football’s draft day and some slick split screen editing. So we have a little urgency and something interesting to watch. Okay. So far, so good. Ultimately, I bought Costner’s portrayal as the GM of the Browns juggling his team’s overbearing owner, his newly acquired Super Bowl winning coach, his recently widowed mother (unrealistically asking him to deliver his passed father’s eulogy on that very day), the news of his girlfriend’s pregnancy, and three hopeful prospects and the price he must pay to get the one he wants… like so many colored balls.

The best thing about this movie for me came from one line delivered by his girlfriend: “Sometimes the best path is a tortured one.” It instantly made me think of Christ and the treacherous path He took to save our souls from unspeakable condemnation from God to instead gain unspeakable joy! The worst thing about this movie as other reviewers have stated is the language. “There goes Hollywood again,” I thought, “putting rocks in their brownies.” Not once or twice but over and over in a PG-13 movie. “Judge not, lest you be judged,” I thought, and it’s only a movie. So there are a few Biblical lessons to take away from a pretty good, but not great, movie. In the end, I liked “Moneyball” better.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jeff, age 57 (USA)
Neutral—This is an excellent movie that creates a lingering feeling of euphoria, if you can ignore the third commandment. Although the profanity is not continuous, it appears in repeated flurries, principally taking the Lord’s name in vain. The cinematography is excellent, considering they had little more than Cleveland to work with. The editing is captivating, with characters “magically” walking through the split screens of telephone conversations, and the acting is all you would expect from Oscar winners Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.

But the story is the heart of this movie. Kevin Costner portrays an NFL general manager who creates a model for Christians in his repeated attempts to look beyond the earthly value of the men he recruits, judged here by their football ability, to discover the heart and character inside the man.

Because of the profanity, I find it hard to recommend this movie to Christians; but you should send your non-Christian friends. In addition to a great movie with a profound moral lesson, they will get to hear the Lord’s name used frequently, in a manner they may be familiar with.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Brian Schacht, age 67 (Canada)
—Took the Lord’s name in vain so many times I lost track. I DO NOT take that lightly. Will NEVER watch this again or recommend it. Such an shame, especially since Kevin was raised by a preacher.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Shinelle, age 31 (USA)
Negative—I took my 14 year old son to see this, as he really enjoys playing football and likes the business aspect of building a team, signing and trading players and so on. Both of us were extremely DISGUSTED with this film. The story was fine, the film-making quality was fine, the acting was fine, but taking the Lord’s name in vain countless times is just DISGUSTING! I would much, much, much, much rather hear 500 “F-bombs” in a movie than even one blasphemy, period! I have no problem watching or even allowing my son to watch a biographical movie or true story that contains realistic cursing, but I DESPISE blasphemy and for this movie to just throw a bunch of blasphemy in it made no sense at all and was abhorrent!

Stay away from this movie! Do not watch it! Do not even think about buying it! Do not even think about recommending it to others! It’s high time for Christians to DEMAND Hollywood remove all blasphemy from movies. There is no purpose for it, and it hurts studio’s bottom line anyways. It is far, far more offensive than racist or sexist terms which are being eliminated to a large extent, and it needs to go, period!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Rich, age 35 (USA)

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