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Film Friday: 'Any Given Sunday' and the 6 inches in front of your face

Al Pacino
Al Pacino, right, and Jamie Foxx starred in Any Given Sunday. (Handout)

It was a big week. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced Phase 1 and the re-opening of the state of Nevada. There’s light at the end of a tunnel. On a national level, the NFL regular-season schedule was released and it seems like the new-normal is starting to feel more normal. This week, I’m diving into a movie that has an important message as we enter life without social distancing. It also has one of the greatest film speeches of all time.

Any Given Sunday

Oliver Stone’s 1999 classic has aged remarkably well more than 20 years after its release.

The film starts at what appears to be the end of legendary quarterback Cap Rooney’s (Dennis Quaid) professional football career with a struggling Miami franchise that's considering relocation.

Enter a young, unknown third-string quarterback Willie Beaman (Jamie Foxx), who seizes what may be his one and only chance to prove himself in the league. Mix in an all-star cast led by the great Al Pacino playing coach Tony D'Amato, who feels like the game may have finally passed him by.

The theme of aging and the issues people face beyond the gridiron have placed this Hollywood gem in my Mount Rushmore of sports movies.

6 feet apart and the 6 inches in front of your face

In one of the pivotal moments of the film, Al Pacino is addressing his team before one of the biggest moments of their professional careers and lives.

“Life’s just a game of inches and so is football,” Pacino says. “Because in either game, life or football, it’s about the guy who is willing to fight and die for that inch."

That eulogy has been recycled and repurposed through the last two decades, but it’s more relevant than ever now.

Pacino eludes to, “Life is all about the 6 inches in front of your face”

We’ve been living in quarantine the last 2 months practicing social distancing and really separating ourselves from humanity for all mankind.

I can’t help but ask myself questions with all this extra time, namely: "What did I learn most? What did I take for granted before this pandemic took over? And how will my life and society change in the weeks, months and years following this historic time?"

We’ve all been at least 6 feet apart, but the 6 inches in front of your face are very real. And what you chose to do with this opportunity is your path and yours alone for the taking.

Phase 1 is here. How will you respond? What will you do to carpe diem life post-COVID-19?

I encourage everyone to at least watch the Pacino speech and if you have time, check out Any Given Sunday.

Julian Del Gaudio was once Nevada Sports Net's self-proclaimed Minister of Culture before losing that title in landslide fashion. But he knows about movies and will post a Film Friday review every week. You contact him at jcdelgaudio@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @JulianDelGaudio.

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