Monday Night Mayhem (TV Movie 2002) Poster

(2002 TV Movie)

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8/10
Not bad . . .
bbbaldie18 January 2002
This was my time. I was 11 years old when the Monday Night Football thing got rolling. I probably watched as many games through the 70's as the guy in the movie who converted his garage into a Monday night football sanctuary.

I was a Cosell hater who often listened to music on the stereo while watching games. But I also defended him against the ridiculous racism charges (well presented in the film). He had a runaway mouth and an ego the size of John Madden's stomach, but he was colorblind in the truest sense.

The fact is that the movie was a pretty good show. The historical accuracy was a bit lacking (e.g. the theme song of the "first" game was actually not used until the 80's. I was disappointed that the catchy original tune was not featured. I Love Lucy was also long gone by the late 1960's.). But John Turturo played a mean Howard. His performance made up for the lightweight, almost parodied emoting of Brad Beyer and Chad Coleman. Kevin Anderson's Gifford passed muster, but what a shame we didn't get more of Shuler Hensley's brilliant Keith Jackson. I guess that was ultimately Roone Arledge's fault (nicely played by John Heard).

As far as TNT offerings are concerned, place this movie a (distant) second place to Pirates of Silicon Valley. Not too bad, really.
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A seminal (at best) football fan speaks
supersarcastic119 January 2002
This was a great movie!! I didn't expect to like it, but the actors were so dead on in their performances, it was impossible to resist. I rarely watch football anymore, largely because there is no show with the chemistry of the original Monday Night Football lineup. A lot of ink was given to incredible acting displayed by John Turturro as Howard Cosell, but in my opinion, Brad Beyer was even better as Don Meredith. Who likeable enough as a sportscaster, always seemed two dimensional until Beyers performance.
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9/10
The essence of Cosell and the broadcast-It doesn't get much better.
imhetzer8812 August 2005
So many memories came flooding back for me while watching this, the nostalgic aspect was worth it right there. From most of 1970 until Meredith left, my buddies and I were fixated in front of the TV on Monday nights. It was an institution, and we always talked about the game and Howard the next day. No one could ever begin to capture what Howard Cosell was all about, but Turturro does one heck of a good job. Heard does an equally good job of capturing Arledge, and everything else just falls into place. While we were watching the broadcasts, no one had a clue as to what was really going on, but there were clues that everything wasn't as it seemed. This movie really brought the inside to the outside. I closed my eyes during the halftime highlight segment, and by jobe, I could actually hear Cosell doing the bit, especially the pronunciation of Jim Lash. But perhaps the best scene of the entire movie was Cosell announcing to the world that John Lennon had been killed. When he originally did it back in 1980, Cosell brought me to tears, and Turturro's imitation of that moment has the same effect. If you remember those halcyon days of MNF, then this is the holy grail for the fans. Nothiong will ever come close to the real deal, but this movie gives anyone who is interested a little peek, and that is telling it like it is.
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8/10
bought back memories of those Monday night games
mm-3919 December 2002
This has got to be John Turturro's best role so far. He was actually believable as Cosell. It shows how Cosell made Monday Night football as much as everyone hated him. I remember some of those games and comments. He was always a guy full of surprise comments and an articulate verbal arsenal. They made Frank Gifford look really stupid in this movie. I also think they made a big mistake when they did not resign Cosell. They left out the famous speech between Cosell and Meredith. This is a must see for any Monday Night football fan. 8/10
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"I tell it like it is!"
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman19 January 2002
I must admit that The start of ABC'S Monday Night Football was before my time, But personally, I thought this was an excellent telling of the events leading from it's creation to the resignation of Howard Cosell. John Heard portrays Roone Arledge, the man behind the creation of ABC's Monday Night Football. He enlists play by play announcers Howard Cosell (John Turturro), "Dandy" Don Meredith (Brad Beyer), Keith Jackson (Shuler Hensley), and later, Frank Gifford (Kevin Anderson). The movie centers mainly on the action happening inside the booth, And on its rise to popularity. Memorable scenes include a drunken Cosell doing play by play during an Eagles game, Meredith at the Mile High Stadium literally "Mile High", and a scene where Cosell drops a lit cigarette butt(accidently) into Keith Jackson's trouser cuff during play-by-play, while Jackson, noticing his pants are on fire, nonchalantly pours his coffee onto the flame without missing a beat. But the main events center around Howard Cosell, who eventually became to stuck on himself and resulted in him resigning and never returning to the broadcast booth.

As to the acting, John Turturro lives up to being in the starring role and is excellent as Cosell. Heard gives another great performance as Arledge, Beyer and Anderson, whom I've never seen before are great as Meredith and Gifford, John's bother, Nicholas Turturro, puts in a strong performance as the director of the show, and Eli Wallach is great as always with the screen time that he is given.

all in all a very entertaining look into Monday Night Football. TNT does it again

10 out of 10
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8/10
John Turturro's Finest Two Hours
The Phan20 January 2002
John Turturro's portrayal of Howard Cosell in this film is so absolutely perfect that it has Emmy written all over it. While this movie (based on a book of the same name) is more than just a Howard biopic, Turturro really shines as America's most beloved and most hated sports broadcaster. He has the many mannerisms of Cosell down pat, down to the nasal voice that was both inimitable and grating. His narration of MNF's halftime highlights is particularly inspired.

Nicholas Turturro, John's brother, also stands out as Chet Forte, the gambling, womanizing MNF director, as does John Heard as Roone Arledge, the brains behind MNF and ABC Sports for so many years. The only downer is Brad Beyer's performance as Dandy Don Meredith. Nothing against Brad, but he was the wrong pick for this role. His baby face and forced Texas accent make me wish they had cast someone with a genuine Lone Star State drawl (Beyer is from Wisconsin).
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9/10
Monday Night Football at it's best
Kotter75797 May 2004
This is a great movie. After seeing it, one doesn't get the sense that it was made for cable (TNT originally aired it.... More than once!) John Tuturro plays Howard Cosell, and does a great job. The only minor issue is that it seems he was too young to portray Cosell, especially by the early '80s when the real Cosell looked quite a bit older. The voice, mannerisms, and dramatizations are worthy of noting as a great performance. Eli Wallach and John Heard were the best in this film. They were cast perfectly. Portrayals of Meredith and Gifford weren't bad. The man playing Pete Rozelle was adequate, but not memorable. It did a great job telling the story of how MNF was born. Roone Alredge from ABC truly revolutionized the game by adding flare, more cameras, more angles, and the three-man booth. One problem is that film lacks real game footage that was true to the era (1970-85). There seem to be re-creations of the games and their moments, and the uniforms are a bit "off" during some of the game highlights. (For example, take a close look at the Joe Namath shot. That's not the original shot of him. I don't think it's him at all.) Also, there are a few moments that were supposed to be taking place in the 1970s but some of the extras looked too present-era to pull this off. Overall, an excellent film. Football fans should definitely see this. MNF is still one of the greatest additions to the field of sports and entertainment.
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9/10
Birth of an era, superbly done
rickmcq18 January 2002
Warning: Spoilers
** Spoilers? **

Howard Cosell is the focus and should be, with Roone Arledge a major figure, too. Well written drama brings back pungent memories of the Cosell zingers and why he was one of a kind. And Turturro as Cosell is great casting. Nice story of the risks, messiness, and rewards of creating a new media format. Also a timely reminder of the 72 Olympic massacre in Munich; it brings back a chill. I wish they would have shown more of what football was like pre-Monday Night; it really lets you appreciate the modern spectacle of sports, and viva la spectacle. Definitely worth seeing as a piece of TV history and to hear a great character mouth off with intelligence and class.
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Good job
cam293 June 2002
The presentation was a little cheesy but all in all a strong movie. Turturro was great. I saw some criticism in previous reviews from people who fail to realize that this is ACTING not imitating. You don't need to get the look/speech perfect to play a real-life figure. Turturro seemed to capture what Cosell was all about and that's the point. Actors act, if you want to see imitating go to a Rich Little show.
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7/10
A friendly portrait of Cosell......Still entertaining.
rxfore15 January 2002
An entertaining behind the scenes look at Monday Night Football from it's inception to the departure of Howard Cosell.

The movie is extremely friendly to Cosell, and is based mostly upon him, and Roone Arlidge. Not much dirty laundry is aired during this movie....Of course there are the well known incidents such as Cosell getting drunk and vomiting on Meredith's boots, Chet Forte's gambling, the clashing of egos in the broadcast booth, and the little monkey comment that caused so much furor.

John Turturro as Cosell seemed to be a stretch. I felt Turturro was a little over the top in his portrayal, but not so much it was annoying.
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4/10
Doesn't Even Get A Wild Card Spot
sddavis6325 August 2003
I remember settling down in front of the TV on Monday nights, just waiting for that voice to introduce "Monday Night Football" - "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, this is Howard Cosell." As this movie pointed out, Cosell in fact was "Monday Night Football" - without him, as was pointed out in this movie, you didn't have "Monday Night Football," you had football on Monday night. "Monday Night Mayhem" is an expose type movie, showing us the mostly unsavoury events that went on behind the scenes: the tension in the broadcast booth, director Chet Forte's gambling problems and womanizing. Some of it was interesting, but I really didn't find most of this to be particularly engrossing.

Perhaps the problem was John Turturro as Cosell. I'm almost tempted to let him off the hook. Who could really play Cosell - the look, the voice? But then again I've seen "Ali" and Jon Voight's uncanny ability to capture Cosell. Turturro just didn't do it. He never came across - to me at least - as Howard Cosell; he was always an actor trying to be Howard Cosell (and trying too hard at times in my opinion.) The same can be said for those portraying the rest of the on-air MNF cast. Kevin Anderson as Frank Gifford, Brad Beyer as Don Meredith, Chad Coleman as O.J. Simpson, Shuler Hensley as Keith Jackson - none of them seemed like the real thing. That just threw me off too much.

I thought some of the insights into Cosell were interesting. Cosell comes across as surprisingly insecure, not just wanting the approval of his superiors (especially Roone Arledge, played by John Heard) but needing to be told that he has their approval. In an interesting balancing act, Cosell also comes across as arrogant - disdainful of his "jock" broadcast colleagues, and even of "Monday Night Football" itself, believing himself really more suited to more serious news reporting.

There were some interesting aspects to this movie, but I never really thought it found its footing and it seemed to lack any real consistency. I'd call it a mediocre movie at best.

4/10
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censorship of this movie by Arab TV channel
piersjessop-599-1151744 December 2009
Monday Night Mayhem is a great movie with Turturro's best performance yet. But my enjoyment of it on Dubai One TV last week was not helped by the censorship of the sequence detailing the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics by Palastinian terrorists. Sequences in the film are flagged in advance by titles reading, for example, 'Clay v Liston', or 'Superbowl 1959'. The title announcing 'Munich Olympic Games' appeared, but instead of showing Howard Cosell's reporting of the tragic events which occurred, we found ourselves back in New York and on to other events in Cosell's life. Had it not been for the incompetence of whoever made the cut in leaving in the title, I would have been unaware of this censorship. Are TV companies purchasing broadcasting rights to movies allowed to censor them in this way? Piers Jessop.
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7/10
Entertaining expose on a successful TV institution.
michaelRokeefe18 January 2002
To expound or pontificate without just and moral actuality sustained with guarded malice and remorse would be an injustice, disservice and undeniable shame. This is a very good TNT production that is not afraid to show the back stabbing, bitching, pompous ego clashing and 'money talking' maneuvers that made Monday Night Football a revered TV institution.

Putting three men in a booth to call a football game was thought to be foolish, haphazard and ratings suicide. Just getting the right trio was not the easiest thing to do, let alone an event that would flourish without its own inherit complications on, off and behind the camera. The focal character from which this story radiates is that of Howard Cosell, portrayed excellently by John Turturro, who never played football, but could make you believe he invented the game. Cosell with his talented brand of commentary seemed well versed and articulate of any and every topic one wanted to entertain.

There are other notable characters that have major parts in this mayhem that began in 1970. There is football heroes Frank Gifford(played by Kevin Anderson)and 'Dandy' Don Meredith(Brad Beyer). John Heard seems flawless as major contributor good and bad, producer Roone Arledge. Outstanding is Nicholas Turturro as director Chet Forte. Forte's story alone is like opening a can of worms. In smaller rolls, but not taking away from their actual importance to Monday Night Football are Shuler Hensley playing a disgruntled Keith Jackson; Michael McGrath as the stoic Jim McKay; Zak Orth portraying Don Ohlmeyer; and Chad Coleman as O.J. Simpson.

High fives to director Ernest R. Dickerson and of course the Turturro brothers. Even if you were not a faithful follower of Monday Night Football or even a sports fan in general you should still find this interesting. Hardcore fans and armchair quarterbacks can use this as entertaining fodder to sustain the memory of the beast. Monday Night Football was mayhem.
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7/10
Poorly Acted; But, It Got It's Point Across
Schafe-215 January 2002
A candid behind-the-scenes look at Monday Night Football from its infancy, "Mayhem" exploits the trials and tribulations of what has become an institution for NFL fans the world over. Being a football fan, if you take this movie at face value like I did, you can appreciate what the viewer doesn't see. This movie delves into the conflicts between on-air and off-air personalities well beyond what you may have read in the newspapers. However, as a movie fan, I was disappointed at the overall acting. Although a finely written script, I had to do my best to drown out John Turturro's poor imitation of Howard Cosell, to appreciate the unparalleled verbiage that only Cosell could provide. Same is true for those imitating Frank Gifford, Keith Jackson and "Dandy" Don Meredith. All in all, I gave this movie 7 stars.
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7/10
Tells it like it was
midnightrane15 January 2002
Fans of MNF will absolutely love this movie. Fence-stradlers will enjoy it and anti-football fanatics will relish the opportunity to say, "See, I told you they were idiots!" A behind the scenes look at ABC's Monday Night Football, "Monday Night Mayhem" included all the 'well-known' hijinx plus some more obscure shenanigans. Focusing on Howard Cosell (portrayed with grit and depth by John Turturro) and his relationship with producer Roone Arledge, the movie pulls few punches. It doesn't flinch on most incidents, including alleged racism, the infamous 'bird', booze in the booth, gambling and groupies. Best of all are the collage sequences featuring some good tunes and classic commercials from the era. As a child of the 70s, it was nostalgia overload. There are some excellent performances and some lackluster parts but overall it succeeds. I give it a 7/10: solid.
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9/10
very cool portrayal of Monday Night Football...
JohnKGraham14 January 2002
I have been watching Monday Night Football for over 25 years and didnt quite realize the turmoil of the behind-the-scenes. Great dialogue and information came out of this movie for me. Kudos to John Heard and to the Turturro Brothers, they all made this movie very enjoyable to watch. I would suggest this to anyone who enjoys the "spectacle" of Monday Night Football.
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Well documented insight into Howard Cosell's Monday Night Football years.
conromj18 January 2002
I'm 35 years old and the Cosell years on Monday Night Football bring me back to an age when football was the most exciting thing in my life. Although John T. overplayed Cosell's character, this movie kept my interest throughout the length of the film. Maybe it's my age, but this movie brought back memories of the famous 'monkey incident', the O.J. years as well as many other exciting events of the Cosell Monday Night Football years. I would highly recommend this movie for anyone looking for a very interesting and well documented account of Monday Night Football and the infamous Cosell.
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6/10
Probably most enjoyable for folks my age or older.
MartinHafer14 September 2013
"Monday Night Mayhem" is a film about the early days of Monday Night Football on ABC--with a particular emphasis on Howard Cosell. One thing I noticed early on in the film is the movie's use of labels for each of the people in the film--so you'd know who someone was and their job title. I REALLY liked this and actually wish more films did this. However, while it did a great job of getting this detail right, many other details were often omitted or were left dangling so you were left a bit confused--such as when Don Meredith left the network to go work for another--but then he STILL is in the rest of the movie doing Monday Night football. Another big example is a QUICK glimpse of Cosell's godawful flop of a show "Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell". You see him doing an episode but then hear NOTHING about it. And, for that matter, there are way too many montages--and I hate montages. Yet, despite the film's problems, there is still a lot to like. I appreciated how it tried to humanize Cosell and it did a good job in creating a nostalgic look. But, I also feel that it's a film younger folks wouldn't appreciate at all--as they have no idea who Meredith, Cosell and Keith Jackson are, nor would they appreciate what a phenomenon the show was in its day. Interesting but flawed.
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6/10
Good movie, informative. www.FootballMovieReviews.com
DuaneUltraV28 November 2010
This movie is a pretty good one. I was surprised. It told a story Howard Cosell and his time spent inside the broadcast booth on the new live television show Monday Night Football. It gave an inside glance to the network cat-fighting and some inside the booth drama. The movie kept me glued to the television as I wanted to see what Mr. Cosell experienced during his time at the station. This is supposed to be a true story. If so, there are some pretty crazy things that took place way up there in the glass cage. Howard Cosell went through a lot during his time working for Monday Night Football and this movie, Monday Night Mayhem, exposes much of it.
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Some scripting problems, but otherwise a good watch.
Cinemade17 January 2002
Although there are some scripting problems, this film is otherwise a very good watch. Overall, it was fun, and did a great job of bringing back the good feelings associated with life in the 70's.

And John Heard is terrific.
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7/10
Not Bad
vraydio25 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I remember full well the early days of Monday Night Football, and this film truly captured the spirit of those time. There were two errors I found annoying.

1. The opening music for the first game is not the original theme "The Score", instead it's the modern theme.

2. When Keith Jackson asks for his messages from a hotel clerk, the guy asks him about the Bucs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not exist until 1976, long after the first year of Monday Night Football.

I thought John Toturro captured the essence of Howard Cossell quite well. Overall, a pleasant way to kill a couple of hours. I watched it instead of the American Idol final.
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TV Night Indifference...
mentalcritic9 August 2004
Not having seen a full game of American Football in my life, I'm not going to comment on how accurate or authentic this TV-movie is. Instead, I am going to comment on how engrossing or entertaining it is. Or rather, it isn't. One of the fundamental problems with this production is how little it has to distinguish itself. The video cover and the title go a long way to imply that it is a warts and all look at one of professional sports' most innovative eras.

The problem is that it is anything but. If it had been expanded just a little and instead focused on Cosell, maybe it would have worked. Unfortunately, anyone who has anything to do with Monday Night Football gets their five-minute snippets. And it comes at the expense of any depth or meaning.

Before the show begins, all I knew about Cosell was that he was some jerk who at least partly deserved all the hate mail and death threats he got. After the credits rolled, I didn't feel any different. Those who took up the commentary box with him come off much, much worse. The only things I knew about Frank Gifford before this show was that he was married to some talentless diva called Kathy-Lee. That's all I really knew about him after the credits rolled. The man they hired to play O.J. Simpson didn't even look anything like him. The Spinal-Tap-style captions to let the viewer know who is who don't come frequently enough to make a difference, either.

John Turturro's performance as Cosell brings raging questions to mind. If the performance is accurate, then I have to commend Turturro for having the nerve to portray such an unlikeable character. If it isn't, then one has to wonder where the idea to play the man like this came from. That nasal voice, that shark-like sneer, it all makes for a very shaky sympathetic focus.

The real problem, however, is that all the backstage antics one expects from a story about a live show that began in the 1960s are nowhere to be seen. The attempt to appeal to a general television audience, and all that entails, keeps this show from getting interesting. If it wasn't for the curiosity factor, I'd be giving Monday Night Mayhem a one out of ten. As it is, a two should really indicate how little of its potential this collection of "I'm here, where's my paycheck?" performances realises.
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3/10
Monday Night Inaccuracies
sewill21 January 2002
This was one of biggest wastes of 2 hours. I felt the film was poorly acted. My biggest problem was some of the inaccuracy of some of the games that were featured the wrong teams. I realize that I am big football fan, but how hard is it for the writers to do a little research on the games and particular teams involved that were played in the history of Monday Night Football?
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Bad Imitation
slick-3819 January 2002
I have just watched this movie about Monday night football and I am sorry to say that John Turturro's portrayal of Howard Cossell is the worst I have ever heard. Out side of that I enjoyed the movie very much.
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