Monday Night Mayhem was made for and released on the TNT Network in the early part of 2002. The film is based on the novel by Marc Gunther and Bill Carter. Directed by Ernest Dickerson, the film stars John Turturro (Howard Cosell), John Heard (Roone Arledge), Kevin Anderson (Frank Gifford), Nicholas Turturro (Chet Forte), Brad Beyer (Don Meredith), and Shuler Hensley (Keith Jackson).
In 1968, ABC decided to take a chance on Monday Night Football, after it was passed on by NBC and CBS. Rather than stick with one commentator for the games, executive producer Roone Arledge approached the program with a new perspective: he would have three men in the booth and give it a 'primetime' feel. Two of them would be ex-football players to provide insight into the game and plays, with the third providing some drama. Howard Cosell, an accomplished sports reporter, was selected to be the third man. For the first season, Cosell was paired with Don Meredith and Keith Jackson. While critics were skeptical, the first season was a success. However, Jackson was ousted for Frank Gifford for the second season, and with him, the show really hit its stride.
While Monday Night Mayhem does encompass quite a few characters, the main focus is on Cosell. Turturro does a great job with the character, portraying him in such a way that even those unfamiliar with him can get a sense of why people both loved and loathed him. The supporting characters are less fleshed out, though are given enough time so the audience at least gets a feel for them. Even with not being a sports fan, I still found the film to be fairly entertaining, as much of the material was new to me since I was born in the late seventies.
Monday Night Mayhem is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame, as it originally debuted on television. The print displays a fair number of flaws throughout, including small scratches, specks, and a few marks. Visible grain is evident in a few scenes, especially those occurring at night. Colors and flesh tones are occasionally washed out and faded in appearance, though other times, appear normal.
Monday Night Mayhem is presented in Dolby 2.0 Stereo Surround in English. The case mentions a 5.1 track in English and a 2.0 track in French; however, these are not available. The track does have some hiss in the dialogue occasionally, but was clear and understandable for the most part. Optional subtitles are available in English, French, and Spanish.
The sole extra is a cast/crew list.
Monday Night Mayhem will probably appeal most to fans of Monday Night Football, though with a solid performance by John Turturro as Howard Cosell, anyone interested in the material should give it a rent.