John Malkovich’s Ad for Sunday’s Patriots-Jaguars Game Was a Little Meta Masterpiece

The actor gets biblical for CBS's telecast

CBS Sports

At least, that’s the amusing conceit of the meta four-minute ad. It opens on the actor phoning his agent, feigning indignation at the overwrought monologue he’s supposedly been asked to deliver as an intro to the AFC Championship Game. Before long, he’s storming down to interrogate the young (and somewhat clueless) director during an orchestra rehearsal.

There, as the musicians run through the score for Malkovich’s benefit (he wonders why they’re even there in the first place), he rattles off what he feels the story should be—a simple but dramatic football version of David (the Jacksonville Jaguars) and Goliath (the New England Patriots) battling for a shot at The Super Bowl.

It’s a fun little set piece, driven by Malvoich’s energetically cranky performance and the fact that everybody is laughing at themselves. It is just a game after all, even if it might be causing more long-term brain damage to its players than anyone previously thought—including, disturbingly, when all those hits to the head aren’t causing concussions.

The fact that, in this telling, the proverbial David didn’t win—possibly thwarted by a bad call late in the game—might complicate things a bit. Then again, it’s still worth the watch after the fact. Even if Bill Belichik’s machine keeps grinding on.

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.