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Draft Day by John Debney (Review)

posted Apr 27, 2014, 8:20 PM by Kaya Savas

Ivan Reitman has given some glorious gems over the course of his directing career and has always been able to handle sentimental comedy quite easily. Which is why he was probably able to handle the sentimental drama Draft Day with ease. Ivan Reitman has worked with some great composers over multiple films such as Randy Edelman, James Newton Howard and of course Elmer Bernstein. John Debney scored No Strings Attached, which was Reitman’s last film and now Debney is behind Draft Day.

Draft Day is a score that sounds exactly as the film plays. This is a standard light drama about an NFL general manager’s life behind the scenes. Debney crafts a very capable score that is always on the rise. It’s a full-bodied score that definitely has presence, but never overbearing to the point of commanding presence. It has elements of energy with a whole heaping of sentiment. The score lives in a world between formulaic and enjoyable. The film is a by the books arc that will result in the main character making choices and learning lessons along the way. But it surrounds football, and football is America’s sport and gosh darn it brings us all together. When the NFL allows you to make a movie using its name and teams you can bet it’s going to be watered down to make sure it won’t offend anyone, and the score reflects the film’s limited ambitions. Musically you won’t find anything that engaging, and in some cases it pours on the melodrama very thick. The end result is a score that is enjoyable, but only in small doses.

As the final track on this album played I wanted to over dramatically jump up and scream “Yeeeeaaaahhhh” then run in the streets to high-five random strangers. But not before I silently smiled at my wife through a doorway as she tucked our kids into bed while at that moment I learned my lesson about family, teamwork and friendship. That’s the major tone of the film and unfortunately this score. The score can be heartwarming if you let it to a certain extent, and give you some warm fuzzy feelings but overall it’s just a bit too forced.