The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
Cormac McCarthy’s bones and Ridley Scott's style do not make The Counselor something more than an interesting curiosity. A film that seems destined more to be remembered as that move where Cameron Diaz does that thing with the car than anything else.
Are you ready for some football! "Any given Sunday you are going to win or are you going to lose. The point is whether you can win or lose a man."
The movie starts as the lowly Sharks are in the process of losing their 4 game in a row. They look to their leader, and MVP, Jack 'Cap' Rooney ( Quaid) but as luck would have it he gets hurt on a play and has to leave the game. This leads to the team needing to put in their second string quarterback. His luck isn't better as he gets hurt on the next play. Finally coach D'Amato ( Pacino) is forced to turn to the third stringer 'Steaming" Willy Beamen ( Foxx) who is a journeyman player at best playing for his 5th team already. He doesn't succeed in winning the game but shows flash and potential to lead this fragile team to have a little hope.
Fast forward to next week and Beamen is starting to get more confidence. The problem is he is also starting to get more cockiness too. He starts changing the plays in the huddle from what D'Amato calls. Luckily for Beamen he has success but at what cost? The rest of the team starts drifting apart feeling that Beamen isn't a team player. This doesn't stop Beamen who thinks without him that this team wouldn't even had made the playoffs. This back fires during the last regular game of the year as all the players stop blocking for him or trying and the Sharks get pounded and limp into the playoffs.
In a turn of events the team finds out Cap is cleared to play and coach D'Amato wants to give him the ball. This doesn't sit well with Beamen as he still feels that he got this team into the playoffs but the coach has made up his mind because Beamen is a great player but not a greater leader.
During the playoff game Cap leads the team to a close margin in the first half capping with a glorious drive to the end zone where he gets hit pretty hard and takes a few minutes to get up. In the half D'Amato realizes that Cap is done and that he is going to have to put Beamen in. The difference is that while watching Cap and listening to the coach Beamen has understood what it means to be a leader and to be a team player. Beamen comes into the final half and ... (watch the movie to find out as it is one of Stone's classics).