Semi-comprehensive list of indispensable plot points for Kevin Costner’s “Draft Day” film about the Cleveland Browns

by Matt Borcas on April 15, 2013

Matt Borcas is a Mentor, Ohio native who recently emerged from a field of 4,000 competitors to land a job writing about the NFL for ESPN’s Grantland. Matt’s Browns-centric column on the NFL Draft will run regularly here all the way up to draft weekend and through its immediate aftermath. Enjoy!

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In these days of pre-Draft angst, it’s comforting to know that a perfect, if fictional, Cleveland Browns Draft lies on the horizon of 2014 theatrical releases. For the uninitiated, the movie is called Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner as the Browns GM, Dennis Leary as the head coach, and Jennifer Garner as the GM’s love interest.

Waterworld

Co-screenwriter Rajiv Joseph described it thusly to Plain Dealer film critic Clint O’Connor:

It’s a movie that takes place in one day. It’s about the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. His professional and personal lives collide on the day of the NFL draft. He has these draft picks and he’s trying to save his team, which is going down the drain. Not a big stretch for many Browns fans.

This is a noble project in theory, and not just because it’ll presumably feature Garner strutting her stuff in a Women’s Pro Line Trent Richardson jersey. For Browns fans, the Draft is at once an acknowledgement of the failures of previous years, an annual reprieve from feeling irrelevant, and most importantly, a wellspring of hope. That this wellspring hasn’t run dry yet in Cleveland since ’99 is just one obvious reason why this warrants big screen dramatization as much as anything in this cold world. The Draft (not drafting, mind you) is what Cleveland does best.

Yet despite all this, its impossible to tune out the skeptics, such as this website’s proprietor, who reduced the concept of the Draft Day film to mere “ridiculousness” in a terse email in response to my proposal for this column. The problem being, of course, that this is also big budget Hollywood sports fiction, so we know how it’ll end: happily ever after, with a middle finger shamelessly extended towards reality. And worse, a reality that’s inflicted such unimaginable pain on so many. Could fiction possibly have anything to add to the truth here? Could this film possibly attempt to mirror the front office ineptitude that’s plagued Berea since 1999? Well, if it doesn’t, it’s surely doomed, so here’s a semi-comprehensive list of indispensable plot points to help save Costner from another Waterworld-type debacle:

Costner feuds with the team President – and wins. This conflict will comprise the first quarter of Draft Day. Costner and the President will be diametrically opposed on first round strategy, to the point where the Pres. finds it necessary to fire him. Team Owner sides with Costner, and history moves on.

Costner sends profane email to a fan. Perhaps unseating the President was too much of a confidence booster for our antihero. Fans have every right to question a GM’s decisions, especially a Browns GM, but that’s not how the nose-thumbing Costner sees it. So when he receives an innocuous email urging him to trade up for the Draft’s top QB prospect, his innards boil with rage. My inbox isn’t a damn suggestion box, he’ll seethe, and promptly fire off an ill-advised reply imploring the fan to, among other things, “go root for Buffalo!” (Note that there was only one other team in the running as the subject for this film.) Fortunately, Deadspin won’t get ahold of the email until Day 2, so we can save the fallout for Draft Day II: The Second Round.

Costner has a substance abuse problem. What good character doesn’t? For obvious logistical reasons, this can’t result in a mysterious mid-movie dismissal, but it can at least be something that local shock jocks pay cloying reference to on a far too regular basis. Moreover, this will cause Costner’s romantic strife with Garner. (Remember, co-screenwriter Joseph ominously referred to his “professional and personal lives [colliding].”) The payoff here won’t just be dramatic, but also history’s first Oscar for an inanimate object.

Costner is hated by the local beat writer, shielded from the public eye by top men, glorified by a prominent WASP, and possess a suspect track record. Just to keep the plot current and interesting.

Costner botches the trade. This is how IMDb sums up Draft Day: “The manager of an American football franchise struggles to acquire the number one draft pick for his team.” There’s only one way for this thing to end.

_ _ _ _ _

FRIDAY: With the Draft just two weeks away (!), we shift back to nonfiction.

  • bupalos

    Wait. This is real? It is? What??!?

    • p_forever

      yes it’s super real we beat out buffalo to be the team in the film (at least that’s how i heard it)

      • bupalos

        I’m not going to comment on any of this until I’m fully satisfied that you all aren’t working some kind of scam here.

    • BIKI024

      where have you been??

      • bupalos

        News travels slowly out here in the sticks. Plus I’ve had a Kevin Costner filter on my googletubes ever since I realized he is the worst actor in history and that I wouldn’t be able to explain his existence to my children without maiming their chances for childhood joy.

        • BIKI024

          worst actor in history? wow, that’s pretty harsh. no wonder we disagree on almost everything. No Way Out, Untouchables, Field of Dreams, Dances with Wolves, JFK, Tin Cup, Open Range, For the Love of the Game (Kelly Preston is sooo damn HOT), Upside of Anger, Mr. Brooks, and now of course Draft Day are part of his illustrious career.

          in fact you may like him better because of one of his business endeavors, was a key player in helping with the Gulf Spill: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/gadgets-electronics/stories/6-of-the-latest-advances-in-oil-spill-cleanup

          • bupalos

            Yes he’s turrible and I have no doubt that he lies at the heart of all our disagreements. Doesn’t mean his movies are terrible though. He is effective at playing himself, so if you need an earnest, slow-witted, handsom-ish mediocrity in whose very person and presence the possibility of joy or noble human ambition is refuted, he’s a true delight.

          • BIKI024

            seems like you get angrier and angrier with each new addition to the Buppettes.. i guess fatherhood isn’t what i’m hoping it will be, lol

          • Petefranklin

            So I take it this is no?

      • Petefranklin

        Speaking of that…Are you going to pick up my Cheddar entry next year? After all you have, cough cough, 15 dimes coming from your bookie this week.

        • BIKI024

          well, only some of it will actually be transferred to me, i parlayed it all (and then some) onto the Tribe OVER 77.5 and Yankees UNDER 86. gonna be a fun summer! but yes, of course, this is written confirmation that I got your Cheddar entry fee. put it on the board Frownie!

          • Petefranklin

            Thank you sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar!

          • Petefranklin

            He lets you parlay season win totals?

          • BIKI024

            not sure if they allow that or not, never asked. i was using the term in it’s original definition..

    • dubbythe1

      I give Bup a pass considering his new addition, but yes this is real.

    • CleveLandThatILove

      Don’t ever change.

  • p_forever

    it has to be a good sign that kevin costner has done potentially the greatest sports movie ever (field of dreams) and that he’s been a part of another very good one (bull durham) and we can just forget about the golf one (honestly i could just forget about golf as a sport or even a thing overall, but at least let’s just agree to forget about how awful kevin costner’s golf movie was).

    • Petefranklin

      Tin Cup was cool for a golf movie. His best by far was For Love Of The Game.

    • BIKI024

      wow P, Tin Cup is def one of my favorites.. his little bet against Don Johnson was filmaking at it’s finest.. and any movie with Cheech Marin in it is an automatic classic for me, the dude is a legend. and lest not forget Rene Russo, she fiiiine.

      • p_forever

        i suppose “awful” might have been strong – i mean, it’s watchable, but not even in the same league as an actual super good sports movie like field of dreams.

        neither, for that matter, is it in the league of super good golf movies, like caddy shack.

        but if you guys like it, it’s even more reason to be optimistic that the brownie movie won’t be awful.

        • BIKI024

          Field of Dreams is in a league of their own, no pun intended. i think there have been only 4 golf movies in recent history: Caddyshack obvious #1, Bagger Vance and Happy Gilmore, I’d put Tin Cup in 2nd bunched in with the othes.. . It was directed by Ronnie Shelton, who did Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump, etc, he does good stuff. i think those may be the only 4 golf movies i can think of.. surprised Lifetime didn’t put out a Tiger Woods scandal movie those smut peddlers..

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

      Kevin Costner and Denis Leary? If this was 1995, I’d be peeing my pants with joy.

  • BIKI024

    didn’t Savage tell the fan he was bantering with to go root for Buffalo as well??

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      Yes.

  • dubbythe1

    I have a family pack of AMC giftcards just oozing with excitement for this production!!!!!

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      Frownie field trip to Valley View Cinema! We can hit the bat-o-rama for cones and a few cuts beforehand.

  • Terpsmandan

    A movie about the Browns…. The Indians had been in the dumps for years when they made Major League and look what happened, we got a nice ride with them for most of the 90′s.

  • BIKI024
    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      Well there’s a little excitement for a Monday afternoon.

      • BIKI024

        my money is that Bup is thinkin price fixing

        • bupalos

          I wouldn’t count out the possibility of some kind of malfeasance in regards to Haslam boys and the U of Tenn opening their vast (publicly owned) acreage for fracking. There’s some definite dirty money rolling around somewhere on that one.

          But yeah, good old fashioned price fixing would be my first bet.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

            What’s all the fuss about? I’m sure it’s nothing major – somebody probably found some tainted beef jerky and wasn’t sure how to properly credit the payments from their ledgers as sunk capital expenditures. Everyone’s just taking the appropriate precautions. Simmadownnow, everybody.

      • dubbythe1

        quite a lot of excitement for a Monday (or any day for that matter) Goodness me.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          God, yeah. I hadn’t seen the Boston news when I left that comment.

  • Beeej
    • nj0

      Now being reported as a raid.

      • nj0

        Obviously this is just speculation, but I wonder if this is why Haslam felt the need to scurry back to Pilot after his brief stint of running the team.

        • BIKI024

          was he ever “running the team”? while Lombardi’s title has changed since he got here, Banner has always hide title of CEO. think Haslam stepped down to be more involved. but yeah, maybe the guy he brought in at CEO did something shady and he stepped back in??

          • nj0

            True. Sloppy of me. Being involved is a better description rather than running anything.

  • rodofdisaster

    Wait, is this Hollywood or is this based in fact? ;-)

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