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R.D. Mangles
Jan 10, 2004


I couldn't find the old thread, so I figured I might as well get some discussion on these now that they're on Netflix. 30 for 30 is a series of documentaries made by ESPN initially for the 30th anniversary of the network. Despite the fact that ESPN's original programming usually sucks and the project was headed by SAS bette-noir Bill Simmons, a lot of the films are really well done and on topics not normally covered by sports documentaries. Here are the ones I've seen and how I'd break them down:

Must-watch

The Two Escobars
June 17, 1994

I just finished The Two Escobars after having saved it for awhile and the hype is true. Its easily the best I've seen of the series and I can't recommend it highly enough. June 17, 1994 is about that infamous day when OJ took off in the Bronco, but it also saw the end of Arnold Palmer's PGA career, the first day of the World Cup in Chicago, an NBA Finals game, and myriad other sporting events. The most interesting part is that it is put together only through news and raw footage with no narration and the events all fold together in real time, which really resonated with me because I remember a lot of the OJ shots but was not quite old enough at the time to really process what was going on. Also it's a welcome break from the traditional narrator-footage-talking head format that these documentaries invariably fall back into. The Escobar one has no narration and the talking heads are all in Spanish and subtitled, but I thought all of the interviewees were really fascinating and they have found some stunning footage of the chaos in Colombia.

Really good sports documentaries

Catching Hell (Bartman)
Once Brothers

One Brothers is about the fracturing of the Yugoslav basketball team and the relationship between Drazen Petrovich and Vlade Divac. As a Cub fan, Catching Hell was really tough to watch, and the footage of Bartman leaving Wrigley is absolutely terrifying.

Enjoyable

The U
Winning Time (Reggie Miller vs. New York)
Pony Excess
The Best There Never Was (Marcus DuPree)
No Crossover (Iverson)
Jordan Rides the Bus

The Reggie Miller one was way better than I thought it would be and also brought back good memories of NBA on NBC. Also Ahmad Rashad looks exactly the same. The DuPree one is worth it for the footage of him just destroying everyone in high school and college and makes a strong case for the jheri curl/giant glasses look to come back for running backs. Combined with Pony Excess, it has made the process of football recruiting look even more stomach-churning. Both the U and Pony Excess wore me out with the incessant talking heads, but The U is great because of coinflip staredowns and the greatest football taunt ever recorded by humans.

Eh
Run Rick Run

I like Ricky, but this one was kind of all over the place.

What
Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?

I made it about 10 minutes through before deciding I wanted to strangle the narrator. That is impressive since he goes for the early sympathy play by attempting to interact with the vile Donald Trump.

What else should I check out?

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Grittybeard
Mar 29, 2010


Depending on how much you know about Terry Fox Into the Wind is a good one. I knew nothing about him going in and it's just such a completely ridiculous/amazing/sad story.

I also liked Guru of Go (Paul Westhead/Loyola Marymount/Hank Gathers). Muhammad and Larry (Ali/Holmes fight in 1980) I enjoyed, but I'm a pretty big boxing fan.

Grittybeard fucked around with this message at Sep 6, 2012 around 12:42

KYOON GRIFFEY JR
Apr 12, 2010



If you didn't love The U then Get The gently caress Out.

TUS
Feb 19, 2003

I'm going to stab you. Offline. With a real knife.


If you like fantasy sports, the one about the start of fantasy baseball is pretty interesting (Silly Little Game). Other good ones are Roll Tide/War Eagle and The Announcement. I still have a long ways to go in seeing them all, but Catching Hell so far is my favorite. Just brutal about Bartman and how quickly the mob mentality grew in Wrigley after that incident.

GOOD TIMES ON METH
Mar 17, 2006




Fun Shoe

I'm just starting through this series as well and the only ones I have seen are The U and Pony Excess. The stories and video clips from each were interesting but I wasn't really impressed with the actual storytelling/film-making part. Especially with Pony Excess, which kept doing really obnoxious foreshadowing "LITTLE DID THEY KNOW..." poo poo throughout the whole thing.

The parts where they just let the old video play and let the viewer just watch it as it happened back then are by far the best of each one. Like the obviously nervous SMU guys trying to lie about a letter on live tv or 'I ain't scared of you bitch'.

Grittybeard
Mar 29, 2010


Goetta posted:

I'm just starting through this series as well and the only ones I have seen are The U and Pony Excess. The stories and video clips from each were interesting but I wasn't really impressed with the actual storytelling/film-making part. Especially with Pony Excess, which kept doing really obnoxious foreshadowing "LITTLE DID THEY KNOW..." poo poo throughout the whole thing.

The parts where they just let the old video play and let the viewer just watch it as it happened back then are by far the best of each one. Like the obviously nervous SMU guys trying to lie about a letter on live tv or 'I ain't scared of you bitch'.

June 17, 1994 will take care of these complaints.

e: Literally no narration, 100% old footage

Grittybeard fucked around with this message at Sep 6, 2012 around 13:17

RC and Moon Pie
May 5, 2011


The ones on Tim Richmond and Allen Iverson are good. You can see beyond Iverson himself and the many problems with high school/local/race-related sports culture. The one on Richmond would have worked as something longer, but for its short length is pretty interesting.

The USFL one gets points solely for Neusheisel singing the San Antonio Gunslingers theme.

I was disappointed with Without Bias and The Band Who Wouldn't Die. The latter didn't appreciate the unique situation enough and spent too much time with their pseudo-relationship with the Ravens.

Declan MacManus
Sep 1, 2011

It's this one thing

The Larry Holmes/Muhammad Ali one is great/depressing even if you're not that into boxing.

tadashi
Feb 20, 2006



KYOON GRIFFEY JR posted:

If you didn't love The U then Get The gently caress Out.

Even non-sports fans I know who have watched The U think it's amazing. It's worth it for the end zone dances alone.

I love the part in Catching Hell where they focus on Buckner's glove. I've never really understood how he completely missed the ball or how he could live with himself but, seeing that the glove clearly folded on its own once it hit the ground, makes me feel like it wasn't totally Bucker's fault. I was hoping that, in the end, the would be some silver lining for Bartman in that he is finally able to start living a normal life again. The fact that there isn't is really devastating especially considering all the evidence that the documentary collects to show that people should just let it go.

tadashi fucked around with this message at Sep 6, 2012 around 14:13

spamman
Jul 10, 2002

Chin up Tiger, There is always next season...


Isn't that one a total whitewash of what really happened?

What are the good post 30 for 30 docos that have come out? I think the last one I saw was that excellent Fab Five doco.

DJExile
Jun 27, 2007

If loving you is binturong, I don't want to binturight.

I don't follow racing but the Tim Richmond one seems pretty hated by racing fans as a total whitewash by ESPN and the France family.

Someone once said "Winning Time" could just as easily have been 90 minutes of footage of Spike Lee crying. Goddamn is that true. I forgot how obscenely clutch he was against the Knicks.

I wanted the one about Jimmy the Greek to be a lot better than it was. The whole thing was just fuckin' weird.

Fab 5 was loving fantastic. Alliteration

CBJSprague24
Dec 5, 2010

Again, Torts took him to a very high mountain and showed him Nationwide and all its splendor.

"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will lay down and block for me." -Jackets 15:16



I've only seen two so far, the one on Tim Richmond (when it originally aired) and June 17, 1994 (yesterday on Netflix). I went to look for the original thread and couldn't find it, so I'm glad this one was posted.

Richmond's was interesting and gives you a feel of "Oh God why did he have to loving die?". It, like many other things NASCAR (as goons said in the old thread), was a bit whitewashed, but gave a good look into Tim as he faded and, through Jerry Punch and Hal Needham, what went on in the last days. Bill France, Jr.'s admission that "Well, the test was flawed" made me think , though given Richmond's personality, it was definitely believable that he'd use a car as a suicide machine to "Go out doing what he loved/in a blaze of glory". I wish he'd have kept his original message on the banner (which I guess was a well-worded attack on Bill France). Being the most comprehensive Richmond piece I'd ever seen, he definitely was a cocky rear end in a top hat, which I guess had to do with him being brought up by a family who supposedly bought him a car, boat, and airplane for his 16th birthday. But there was something so redeeming about him that, unlike a guy like Scott Speed who's a complete smug douchebag, I could look past it.

It also brings to light NASCAR's drug-testing policies and how the France family could have them hosed up and bury it if they really wanted do, especially interesting in a time where Jeremy Mayfield was booted for life and has fought tooth-and-nail, other minor guys like Aaron Fike and Kevin Grubb were banhammered, and AJ Allmendinger has recently caught flak.

June 17, 1994, between the lack of narration and eerie-looking timestamps, was chilling and had the feel of that 9/11 documentary History shows each year which is made up of home videos, has no narration, and the only information given comes in the form of timestamps and periodic warnings of "The following documentary features graphic images. Viewer discretion is advised." (or something like that). It was that chilling, especially since I was 6 when the OJ chase went down.

The film could've used a bit less of the "channel flipping" effect as seen at least twice, but seeing the media reaction in the days before shock value news shows was amazing. Costas looked like he'd seen a ghost and didn't know what the gently caress. It was also interesting that there were so many outlets covering it at the same time that the graphics crossed over between networks ("And we don't actually have Barbara Walters, that's a crossover from ABC's feed"). I'd seen clips of the people lining the overpasses to see the chase but never realized that people had PUSHED OUT ONTO THE INTERSTATE to have a look.

e- I guess it wasn't known at the time (or maybe it was because I saw the footage for the first time after the event actually happened), but did anybody at the time think OJ was REALLY going to kill himself or did people think it was "I'LL DO IT MAN! I'LL DO IT! YOU JUST WATCH..."?

More simply put, June 17, 1994 was really drat good.

CBJSprague24 fucked around with this message at Sep 6, 2012 around 14:39

Professor Funk
Aug 4, 2008

God is dead, true love is a lie, and the yard belongs to the Big Dog.

OH IT'S TRUE. IT'S DAMN TRUE.


Dunno if I'll catch any flak for this, but the 30 for 30 on Matt Hoffman/BMX loving owns.

Trin Tragula
Apr 22, 2005



The death of Andres Escobar is the kind of story that everyone feels like they know all about, because it was so massive at the time and it's firmly embedded in pop culture as a Thing That Happened. What the documentary does so brilliantly is it demonstrates how you weren't necessarily wrong, just that there's so much more than that to the story.

BrooklynBruiser
Aug 20, 2006


I watched Catching Hell about a month or so back and holy poo poo, I just feel so bad for Steve Bartman.

(Plus, he probably cost the Yankees a World Series )

maxallen
Nov 22, 2006

me irl
(fuck bama)


Bleak Gremlin

I watched the Tim Richmond one the other day and it made me absolutely furious. Bill France saying whoops the test was wrong (no it wasn't, you just wanted rid of him), the smears against Richmond saying he would kill himself/was too sick to drive when winning was all he wanted to do and he had medical clearance, and the constant excuses of "well back in the day we didn't know." gently caress you, gently caress your excuses. Just admit you were wrong and treated Tim like poo poo.

Bird in a Blender
Nov 17, 2005

It's amazing what they can do with computers these days.


I watched Catching Hell around when it first aired, and it made me feel bad all over again for what happened to Steve Bartman. It also shed light on what happened inside Wrigley right after the incident, which I didn't know about. If I remember right, there's still one rear end in a top hat who is completely unapologetic about what he did to Bartman, pissed me off so much.

Recently watched the Matt Hoffman one, thought it was pretty good, but a little underwhelming. Once Brothers was really good, and brought up a bunch of stuff I kind of knew about, but not really, regarding the whole split of Yugoslovia. Last one I recently watched is The Band That Wouldn't Die, and i found it interesting, especially as a former marching band nerd myself. You can see the pain a lot of those people still carry with them from the Colts moving to Indy.

I'm going to have to rewatch The U because I haven't seen it since it aired, and I remember it being hilarious. I've got June 17, 1994 and Two Escobars in my queue now to watch.

Declan MacManus
Sep 1, 2011

It's this one thing

I recommend June 17 -> Escobars -> The U, for maximum uplift

Grittybeard
Mar 29, 2010


CBJSprague24 posted:

e- I guess it wasn't known at the time (or maybe it was because I saw the footage for the first time after the event actually happened), but did anybody at the time think OJ was REALLY going to kill himself or did people think it was "I'LL DO IT MAN! I'LL DO IT! YOU JUST WATCH..."?

I can't remember what I thought at the time (I was 17ish), but I do remember as I was watching the show wondering how OJ would be remembered if he did kill himself. Even if it came out after that he probably killed Nicole there wouldn't have been the huge spectacle of the trial educating everyone about just how guilty he was.

It seems weird now but he was damned near universally loved. Sure it was for superficial dumb things, but most of us didn't know about any trouble at all with Nicole and just thought of him as the amazing running back who was hilarious in the Naked Gun movies.

Hello Towel
Aug 9, 2010



I absolutely love Catching Hell. Being a young-ish teen in the Chicago area at that time, I remember the feelings of hate and fury that came out of that, even though I didn't live anywhere near Wrigley, or even that end of the city.

As a soccer fan, I have to love The Two Escobars. I also really got into Winning Time; Reggie Miller was one of my favorite players as a kid, despite me being a Bulls fan. Jordan Rides the Bus was pretty cool too.

I also really enjoyed Small Potatoes for the weirdness of it all. I think I'll watch the Fab 5 one next.

R.D. Mangles
Jan 10, 2004


Grittybeard posted:

I can't remember what I thought at the time (I was 17ish), but I do remember as I was watching the show wondering how OJ would be remembered if he did kill himself. Even if it came out after that he probably killed Nicole there wouldn't have been the huge spectacle of the trial educating everyone about just how guilty he was.

It seems weird now but he was damned near universally loved. Sure it was for superficial dumb things, but most of us didn't know about any trouble at all with Nicole and just thought of him as the amazing running back who was hilarious in the Naked Gun movies.

I was pretty young at the time, but when Kardashian read that note, I can't imagine anyone thought OJ was still alive. The chase became so surreal that anything seemed possible. I don't remember people going out on overpasses just to watch the car pass, though.

The SituAsian
Oct 29, 2006

PLEASE WORK OUT

RE: Pony Excess what was it about the talking heads that bothered you more than The U? I didn't find it as enjoyable either but that was mainly because of how the way the film was edited but was it more the fact that there seemed to be more interview footage in Pony Excess-if there was it couldn't have been by much-or the fact that Craig James, Eric Dickerson and Skip Bayless are more detestable than Tolbert Bain, Michael Irvin and Dan LeBetard (they are)?

Once Brothers suffers from the fact that it was made by NBA Entertainment so it's quite contrived but it is a pretty gripping story about two men whose friendship was ruined by war and circumstance.

The Band that wouldn't die is pretty light fare compared to the rest of the 30 for 30 but it can be pretty emotional at times like when they show Robert Irsay's infamous drunk press conference and you hear Jim Irsay reminisce on how his dad used to be and what he became. Kinda timely as well since Art Modell just died.

jeffersonlives
Jul 22, 2007

"Mathewson pitched against Cincinnati yesterday. Another way of putting it is that Cincinnati lost a game of baseball."


Almost all of these were between good and great, but Once Brothers is probably the best in terms of a really interesting documentary.

tadashi
Feb 20, 2006



I thought Dotted Line was pretty interesting. The Michael Jordan stories from David Falk and coverage of Peter Greenberg could almost be their own pieces if they expanded on them. There's some bonus footage at the end of the credits of Falk telling more stories, too.

FlamingLiberal
Jan 18, 2009

Would you like to play a game?


I just recently watched The Real Rocky, and that was a pretty interesting study about fame and how it can be both a boon and a curse. I hadn't watched that one when it aired, since the airing schedule for the docs they made after the original 30 for 30 run was very random. I'm not sure how many people even saw this one.

Same goes for the one about the trans tennis player, who obviously had a pretty rough life since she played pro tennis in the 1970s.

I enjoyed Small Potatoes, since I wasn't around when the USFL was a thing, and it was interesting to see how well a minor league did at that time, even stealing some future HOFers away from the NFL for a time. But of course Trump has to ruin everything he touches and sued the NFL.

Grittybeard
Mar 29, 2010


FlamingLiberal posted:

I just recently watched The Real Rocky, and that was a pretty interesting study about fame and how it can be both a boon and a curse. I hadn't watched that one when it aired, since the airing schedule for the docs they made after the original 30 for 30 run was very random. I'm not sure how many people even saw this one.

poo poo I missed that? I'll have to track it down, I was pretty excited about it.

Peanut President
Nov 5, 2008



Yeah I liked the Tim Richmond one as long as you remember that NASCAR (and the France family) will never EVER admit they hosed him over. As a story about Richmond's life and death it's pretty good.

If I recall correctly, they actually started drug testing policy just so they could ban Richmond for violating it.

El Gallinero Gros
Mar 17, 2010


I love Run Ricky Run and Once Brothers. I cried during Once Brothers, such an emotional film. And Run Ricky Run is all over the place, but that's kinda appropriate given how Ricky's life has been since he went pro.

It's funny, a friend of mine from Philly once said that the city never forgave Donovan McNabb for the fact that Philly didn't pick Ricky, picking Mcnabb instead. I always wondered if that was true or if it was just within that guy's social circle or what. Furthermore, it makes me wonder how Philly's ruthless fans would have responded to a guy who was perceived to be total headcase like Ricky was. That said, the film made me feel like I have a better understanding of Ricky as a person, and I basically feel like it's no longer fair to refer to Ricky as a headcase.

OrangeKing
Dec 4, 2002

They do play in October!


FlamingLiberal posted:

I just recently watched The Real Rocky, and that was a pretty interesting study about fame and how it can be both a boon and a curse. I hadn't watched that one when it aired, since the airing schedule for the docs they made after the original 30 for 30 run was very random. I'm not sure how many people even saw this one.

Same goes for the one about the trans tennis player, who obviously had a pretty rough life since she played pro tennis in the 1970s.

I've been watching any of the 30 for 30 or other ESPN docs on Netflix that looked interesting to me over the last few days. Both of these were on there (the second one is called Renee), and I loved both of them. Also couldn't get enough of The Best that Never Was, and the Magic Johnson one was fairly interesting (Magic even narrated it himself). Jordan Rides the Bus was also interesting, because like everyone else at the time, I considered his baseball venture a complete failure, but as an adult realizing just how impossible that transition should be, what Jordan did was actually fairly impressive -- especially when you consider that he was improving over the course of a few months, and did decently in the Arizona Fall League after that.

ozymandius1024
Mar 14, 2006

You don't yank on the Spine of God


Professor Funk posted:

Dunno if I'll catch any flak for this, but the 30 for 30 on Matt Hoffman/BMX loving owns.

I absolutely agree. Seeing him do that stuff to himself and not give any fucks was just crazy (not to mention all of the stuff that he innovated, if the doc is to be believed).

I'm not that into BMX or extreme sports, but I thought it was really interesting.

Professor Funk
Aug 4, 2008

God is dead, true love is a lie, and the yard belongs to the Big Dog.

OH IT'S TRUE. IT'S DAMN TRUE.


ozymandius1024 posted:

I absolutely agree. Seeing him do that stuff to himself and not give any fucks was just crazy (not to mention all of the stuff that he innovated, if the doc is to be believed).

I'm not that into BMX or extreme sports, but I thought it was really interesting.

I'm not an extreme sports guy either, but it's just so weirdly enthralling. I want to say it's like an episode of Jackass but with a purpose, but that really doesn't do it justice. It's just loving interesting to watch a guy whose only goal in life is literally "I want to jump higher on my BMX bike than anyone else" go about doing what he does. Our reaction to that kind of life might normally be "well that's loving stupid" but seeing how much joy he gets out of it, and how much work he puts into it ("it" being "going high") it's pretty hard to doubt the legitimacy of it.

Also some of his (100+) concussions

Declan MacManus
Sep 1, 2011

It's this one thing

El Gallinero Gros posted:

I love Run Ricky Run and Once Brothers. I cried during Once Brothers, such an emotional film. And Run Ricky Run is all over the place, but that's kinda appropriate given how Ricky's life has been since he went pro.

It's funny, a friend of mine from Philly once said that the city never forgave Donovan McNabb for the fact that Philly didn't pick Ricky, picking Mcnabb instead. I always wondered if that was true or if it was just within that guy's social circle or what. Furthermore, it makes me wonder how Philly's ruthless fans would have responded to a guy who was perceived to be total headcase like Ricky was. That said, the film made me feel like I have a better understanding of Ricky as a person, and I basically feel like it's no longer fair to refer to Ricky as a headcase.

It's possible they could have rallied around him and embraced him like they did with Iverson.

El Gallinero Gros
Mar 17, 2010


Iverson never walked out on the team though. The worst he ever did was the whole "PRACTICE?!?!" debacle.

HOTLANTA MAN
Jul 4, 2010

One day, that lion gets up and tears the shit out of everybody. Cause every once in a while, the lion has to show the jackals who he is.


Lipstick Apathy

I love Pony Excess if only because it's one of the only times I unironically enjoyed Skip Bayless.

Genocide Tendency
Dec 24, 2009

I get mental health care from the medical equivalent of Skillcraft.


Pony Excess and Once Brothers were both good.

The one that I can't turn off though is Unmatched. It covers probably one of the most fascinating athletes ever Martina Navratilova and her rivalry/friendship with Chris Evert. Watch this.

bewbies
Sep 23, 2003

Bo?


Fun Shoe

I think that "The 16th Man" was the best that I've seen. It might be redundant if you've watched "Invictus" I guess.

It does sort of make all of the other docs seem relatively weightless.

nature6pk
May 26, 2006
Left Coast Lame-o

Since September 16th is fast approaching you might as well watch "Into the Wind" to find out (more) about Terry Fox and how his legacy has changed the world for millions of people.

also to cry

DJExile
Jun 27, 2007

If loving you is binturong, I don't want to binturight.

Danica! posted:

Pony Excess and Once Brothers were both good.

The one that I can't turn off though is Unmatched. It covers probably one of the most fascinating athletes ever Martina Navratilova and her rivalry/friendship with Chris Evert. Watch this.

Unmatched was a very underrated episode.

Shrapnig
Jan 21, 2005

a real bad post

Professor Funk posted:

I'm not an extreme sports guy either, but it's just so weirdly enthralling. I want to say it's like an episode of Jackass but with a purpose, but that really doesn't do it justice. It's just loving interesting to watch a guy whose only goal in life is literally "I want to jump higher on my BMX bike than anyone else" go about doing what he does. Our reaction to that kind of life might normally be "well that's loving stupid" but seeing how much joy he gets out of it, and how much work he puts into it ("it" being "going high") it's pretty hard to doubt the legitimacy of it.

Also some of his (100+) concussions

I really enjoyed this the first time I watched it but I put it on again a couple nights ago and I couldn't watch it.

Not because it isn't enjoyable, it's just after you've seen it once watching a guy try to kill himself on a bicycle for 25 years is just not a fun time.

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Nut Bunnies
May 24, 2005



Fun Shoe

June 17, 1994 was amazing because it managed to go from a documentary of one day in sports history to a criticism of the media without using any narration or interviewing.

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