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ESPN 30 for 30 aka ESPN Documentaries
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm watching the OJ 30 for 30, which still has another six hours to run. Just wanted to bump this to make sure Rich can toss in some thoughts when he gets a chance to watch all of it.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks.

I'll try to get to it. However, it's going to be tough for me to watch. A good friend of mine who is just a very thoughtful guy told me a story a couple of years ago about seeing Fred Goldman in a store...in Arizona (I think). He walked up to Mr. Goldman and told him that he was sorry for his son's death and wanted to let him know that people do care about him and his son, Ron. And according to my friend, Mr. Goldman wept on his shoulder.

That really completely changed my general attitude on the OJ case. He was always the guy that got away with murder in my eyes and a devout piece of shit. But, I took it as most people do...something that really didn't matter because it didn't happen to me or my family. And I think what got lost in all of this is how this destroyed the Goldman family.

I saw the documentary on OJ. I remember that they told a story of Nicole dating a guy with an Italian last name and how OJ harassed him and to the point where OJ knocked on his door and said he had stood outside his home and watched him have sex with Nicole the previous night. The Italian guy was intimidated by OJ and said that he didn't know what to do. I kinda found that funny as I grew up in a predominantly Italian neighborhood in NY and if OJ did that to some Italian guy in my old neighborhood, I would be surprised if OJ was around to tell it afterward. Unfortunately, OJ wasn't living in Syracuse.


***

Anyway, I did watch Believeland on 30 for 30 and I really enjoyed it.

I have lost some interest in the 30 for 30 series because it has become more about fandom than actual interesting and riveting stories that any person can be interested in. I really can't stand soccer, but Hillsborough was phenomenal. And I have no interest in the Baltimore Colts or a marching band, but The Band That Wouldn't Die remains one of my favorites.

Believeland was very much a fan documentary, but since it's Cleveland, there isn't much to sit and admire. Furthermore, the story started to revolve around the city and decline of the city.

A lot of this hits my heart as growing up in Syracuse, we've seen the same decline. While the Indians and Browns thrived in the 50's, Syracuse really thrived in '87 when the bball team made it to the finals and the football team went undefeated (with a tie at the end of the year against Auburn). After that, the city went in rapid decline and people started to leave the city in droves. Fortunately, SU basketball won their national title. The football team has been on a decline since and it's been really lousy to watch and hard to be a fan. That really translated well with this documentary and the people involved are proud of their city and still stuck with their fandom of the teams.

Part of the issues with the documentary is that they had to split the stories into the city decline along with the Indians, Cavs and Browns. So it was a lot to cover in little time. The other issue is they used Wright Thompson to head up the writing of the doc. I like Thompson, but his heart really wasn't into this one. He was far more motivated in Ghosts of Mississippi (which I thought was repetitive) than he was in Believeland.

Tony Rizzo was excellent. I actually started listening to him on the radio and listen to him on old clips on YouTube. Most people would think he's a typical sports radio host which quickly became passe years ago, but he's quite good.

The other issue I had was they tried to portray Art Modell better than he was. They left out a lot of key details to Modell's move like:

1. Yes, he 'took over' the old Municipal Stadium for the city. But that consisted of him paying $1 per year (yes, you read that right). For that, he had to maintain the stadium, but he did at a bare minimum to meet safety codes (otherwise they couldn't play there) and he got the Indians to rent the stadium to him while he got the Indians concessions and parking revenue. He didn't take it out of the kindness of his own heart to help the city out. He took it because it was a shrewd business move on his part that would net him millions.


2. He was furious with the city due to the Gateway project which took the Indians out of the stadium and also provided millions of dollars of new jobs and completely revitalized downtown Cleveland.


3. He was offered financing and new stadium deals, but was broke due to overspending. The Browns were 4th in attendance and sold out every game. His lavish lifestyle was the reason he was going broke. He no longer had the Indians money coming in


4. He was offered excellent deals to sell the team, but refused to do so.

5. He was caught lying to numerous people that had no connection to the city with promises that the team wasn't going anywhere when he knew they were.

6. He tried to take the Browns name and property with him before the NFL stepped in.

7. His complaints about a new stadium meant the team moved to Baltimore to Memorial Stadium for the first year which was a Grade A shit hole.

It's typical of ESPN reporting as they try to spin 2 sides of the story and treat things like he said vs. he said and think that the truth lies somewhere between instead of reporting actual facts. And that's where it creeps into the 30 for 30 series.

Fortunately, the main players like Rizzo, Scott Raab, and the footage was excellent enough to overcome that. And I ended up rooting for the Browns to finally turn things around. Hopefully Mr. DePodesta can work his magic in Cleveland.








YR
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JAG



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watched all of O.J.

Putting aside the Shakespearan nature of the least deserving black man getting away with murder because he was black...

It's amazing to me that white people still can't let go of O.J. killing two people and getting away with it, considering the volume of injustice committed against black folks and how quick everyone is to remind them to move on.

I'm generalizing because it's true. It's also jarring to remember how little has changed in most parts of the country when it comes to race in a quarter of a century.

Jagdip
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The OJ doc was well made, and the director pretty much let everyone talk for themselves. It's more than a bit ironic that even at 8+ hours that it could have gone *much* longer.

Example:

They get across the story that his NFL career started off poorly. They do the poor part "okay", which is all you expect out of a long doc like this that it looking at more than just sports. But they also give the impression that OJ turned it around with the 1973 season where he set the record and ran for 2000+. That misses the case that he already turned it around in 1972 when he led the NFL in rushing:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SimpO.00.htm

That's also the season Saban came in. The hard part about this is that they do explicitly say Saban turned it around when he came in, but give the impression that it was 1973.

This is easy to deal with, and doesn't take a lot of time. Just say that Saban came in, things turned around, and that in 1972 he led the NFL in rushing. Show a little footage of it, and pull one vintage interview clip of OJ saying how it was coming together... which certainly had to exist. It sets the table for what's to come: going from an All Pro to the Stuff of Legends in 1973.

There are a number of things like that.

I'm sure no one wants the trial run into the ground, but it's odd that 1 episode and change (i.e. the verdict carryover into the 5th episode) felt like not enough time for the trial.

I don't know... it's a hard one to rate. Having grown up with OJ being by football idol back when I was 7 years old and he ran for 2003, I know too much of the story covered. It's a great doc for folks who aren't hardcores on OJ or the crime. It's not "bad" for a hardcore, but there's also lots of nutty stuff that sticks with you that didn't make the cut:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/oj-says-girlfriend-not-on-juice

http://a.espncdn.com/mlb/news/1999/1001/90785.html

Quote:
"She's been doing drugs for two days with Pedro Guerrero, who just got arrested for cocaine, and I'm trying to get her to leave her house and go into rehab right now." -OJ


Of course I was a Pedro Guerrero fan as well, so the intersection of those two along with Coke and a Girlfriend... I mean... that's crazy shit that stays with you. :)


Last edited by jdw on Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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guren



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had never heard about the story with Pedro Guerrero before. Wasn't Guerrero famous for smoking cigarettes on the bench during games when the Dodgers were at bat?

glenn
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guren wrote:
I had never heard about the story with Pedro Guerrero before. Wasn't Guerrero famous for smoking cigarettes on the bench during games when the Dodgers were at bat?


I don't remember that. :)

Pedro was a terrific hitter, which was partially hidden by playing in Dodgers Stadium. Here are the top hitters in the NL in Pedro's best seasons, using the Offense metric of fangraphs.com:

1982
43.2 Pedro Guerrero
42.9 Mike Schmidt
42.1 Al Oliver
38.9 Jason Thompson
34.9 Dale Murphy

1983
44.5 Dale Murphy
40.5 Pedro Guerrero
40.2 Tim Raines
38.5 Mike Schmidt
32.4 Darrell Evans

1985
53.9 Pedro Guerrero
46.9 Tim Raines
42.3 Willie McGee
41.1 Dale Murphy
34.9 Mike Schmidt

1987
52.9 Jack Clark
51.6 Tony Gwynn
49.5 Darryl Strawberry
45.5 Eric Davis
45.5 Tim Raines
43.9 Dale Murphy
41.7 Pedro Guerrero

1989
58.0 Kevin Mitchell
55.0 Will Clark
52.3 Howard Johnson
42.1 Lonnie Smith
34.2 Pedro Guerrero

1-2-1-6-5 in his best five seasons. He did that even as the Dodgers moved him all over the place defensively. Here are his starts from 1982-87, sans 1986 when he was hurt:

1982: 93 RF, 41 CF, 14 3B
1983: 156 3B, 1 1B
1984: 72 3B, 30 RF, 19 CF, 16 1B
1985: 70 LF, 44 3B, 10 1B, 9 CF, 1 RF
1987: 108 LF, 39 1B

That he was the best hitter in the NL in 1982 & 1985 while moving all over the place like that is pretty amazing. If they had just tossed him in LF or at 1B and left him alone... :)

Anyway, one of my favorite hitters of the era. More than a bit goofy, and Tommy basically let him be goofy because he could hit like that. :)
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guren



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might be mistaken about the smoking since it has been so long since I heard about it. Google didn't come up with anything, but it did remind me of this great quote.

After Pedro Guerrero committed an error in right field to lose the game for the Dodgers, a reporter asked: "Pedro, what were you thinking out there before that play?"

Pedro: "I was thinking two things. Please don't hit the ball to me, and please don't hit the ball to Sax."
- Pedro Guerrero, LA Dodgers

This, of course, was during the days when Sax had the yips throwing to first.

glenn
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guren



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wooo! An inside look at ESPN's '30 for 30' on wrestler Ric Flair
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"I think Shawn Michaels and Triple H provided the best insight on Ric in and out of the ring. They seem to know him better than anyone and were very forthcoming."


God lord... :/
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guren



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sounds extremely boring, but may be of interest to some on this board.

ESPN to air 30 for 30 on NBA's storied Celtics-Lakers rivalry

glenn
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally watched OJ 'Made in America.'

The golden rule on docs is that it's 80% subject matter. The issue with the OJ case is that the subject matter has been beaten to death so many times that it is no longer as interesting as it once was. However, with ESPN's change of landscape which has promoted race baiting in the past couple of years, it's no surprise they brought up the subject again. From a 30 for 30 perspective, I was glad that they got back into serious filmmaking instead of fanboy projects like The U, The Bad Boys, Catholics versus Convicts, etc.

The beauty of the OJ Made in America is they understood that the subject matter had been beaten to death, so they scoured all of this new information and new perspectives that had not been previously seen or discussed. That made an 8 hour film about subject matter that has been greatly exposed over the past 20+ years easy to watch and hold the viewer's attention.

For instance, I never knew that OJ's father was gay or a lot of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering between the prosecutors and the defense team. We never really heard much from the jury until this film and it was greatly disappointing to hear the logic of a couple of the female jurors. One of whom felt that Nicole basically got what she deserved. More or less admitting that OJ did it, but she didn't care. She claimed that 'any woman that takes an ass beating and sticks around' deserves it, but one has to wonder if Nicole was black if her mind would change.

Here's what white people are up in arms about the OJ case...the inability for black OJ supporters to come out and admit that he did it. It's not even asking for black OJ supporters to admit that OJ hoodwinked them into thinking that he had the same plight as they did when it wasn't true.

Instead, what white people see is black OJ supporters who steadfastly believed he was set up (when he was protected by the police for years) and who now seem to give all reference to admitting OJ was guilty, but they will not actually admit it.

I also think that between the title and the content was trying to blame the country for OJ's rise in fame and fortune and then the entire conflict when I think it was really representative of the mess that Los Angeles was in at the time and the hysteria it created.

I'm certain that if Brett Favre killed his wife in Kill, MS that the judge would not allow for the trial to be on TV or any of the other glory hogging things that Lance Ito did. The same if Lebron killed his wife in Akron.

By the same token, as I am usually a supporter of law enforcement, the LAPD has had cases of rampant corruption dating back to the 19th Century. Quite frankly, the LAPD intimidates me due to their history of corruption which is unlike any other major city Police Department.

The fact is that white people didn't force OJ to kill Nicole and Ron Goldman. Neither did the cops or this country or even the city of LA. He did it because he had a horrible temper with women and his children.

As for reviewing this movie, I thought they missed out on what I always felt why OJ would be found innocent....the jurors didn't want to have another Rodney King riots.

If OJ was found guilty, the jurors had to go back to their neighborhood and possibly be the target as well as worry about their family's safety and have to worry about seeing their neighborhood once again in ruins due to rioting. If anything, it shows a major flaw in our judicial system when people with money can create a trial so long that it shallows the jury pool.

But in all, this was really well done and don't be intimidated by the length of the film as it's very easy to follow and very interesting. In the end, just about everybody involved comes out looking bad.






YR
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watched Catholics vs. Convicts, the story of the 1988 matchup between Notre Dame and Miami.

There has been a sizeable shift in 30 for 30 from making serious, mostly objective documentaries to fanboys docs where the director gushes over what team he and his buddies used to root for. This has been for the worse for the 30 for 30 series, but it still has produced some good docs like Believeland and Big Shot which overcame the awful writing and directing by Kevin Connolly.

Catholics vs. Convicts fits the same mold, but it was at least understandable given one of the main subjects was Pat Walsh who designed and made the Catholics vs. Convicts t-shirt as a Notre Dame student and hopeful basketball walk-on.

I could have done without Patrick Creadon's gushing over his friend Tom Walsh and kept referring him to as 'Walshy', but for the most part he got a lot of great access to the story behind the documentary.

The bigger trouble for me is if you don't like Notre Dame or Jimmy Johnson (I don't), you're going to be inundated with so much of their holier than thou/it's not my fault garbage. In fact, Lou Holtz comes off best in the entire movie...which is saying something.

The other issue is that they never went into how the insult of being called a 'convict' affected the players and the university. I doubt it really hurt the U of M players as a whole and more or less served to get them pumped up for the game, but I'm sure there were some players that really took offense to that. Which is surprising because of how ESPN has pushed race baiting in the past couple of years.

And with that, it was overall an 'okay' doc, but nothing that made somebody who is not a ND or U of M fan to be interested enough to care about.






YR
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with your thoughts on C vs C. It's solid enough, and for the fanboy docs it's far from the worst.

It's more than a bit annoying that they don't touch on Lou essentially getting the program onto probation, just as he had in his prior stops. ND pretty much sold their holier than though attitude to get back on top, and have spent two decades now pretending that they didn't even after it got exposed.

Of course Miami had their own tarnish, but it would have made for a balanced ending on the football side - the Convicts program took heat and is remembered as a outlaw program to some, but the Catholics had their own dark side to the program that came to light.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdw wrote:
Agree with your thoughts on C vs C. It's solid enough, and for the fanboy docs it's far from the worst.

It's more than a bit annoying that they don't touch on Lou essentially getting the program onto probation, just as he had in his prior stops. ND pretty much sold their holier than though attitude to get back on top, and have spent two decades now pretending that they didn't even after it got exposed.

Of course Miami had their own tarnish, but it would have made for a balanced ending on the football side - the Convicts program took heat and is remembered as a outlaw program to some, but the Catholics had their own dark side to the program that came to light.


Good point. Creadon had plenty of opportunity given that it would fit in with the hypocrisy of calling the U of M players 'convicts' and that ND punished Walsh quite severely for selling those shirts.

But, when you're a blind fanboy, those things tend to not make the final cut.





YR
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally got to see This Is The XFL. In hindsight, this may have been the most confusing doc in the 30 for 30 series of them all.

As I've mentioned many times before, the initial greatness of 30 for 30 was objective look at the subject matter that usually involved interesting stories that we may not have come across or major stories that have yet to be truly investigated.

Eventually, the 30 for 30 series took a different direction and started to get more into a series of fanboy docs like The U, The Bad Boys, Straight Outta LA, etc. which was to its detriment.

This Is The XFL had a weird vibe of praising Dick Ebersol, then bashing Vince McMahon and then reverting to knocking Ebersol before they praised him again. And this despite Ebersol continually praising McMahon throughout the doc and they are clearly close friends (Ebersol even wrote in his will that if he were to die, his kids would be under the care of McMahon).

So there was definitely a fanboy element in the doc, but it would be strong for Ebersol in certain parts and wane in other parts.

What I found ridiculous was the idea that the XFL could have ever worked. This is brought on by the enormous initial ratings. The enormous initial ratings gave credence to the subjects in the doc that it could have worked and then they blame it not working because of McMahon and that the teams didn't have enough time to be put together and practice.

Much like pro wrestling today, the XFL's problem was that it was too TV ratings oriented and not enough focus came towards filling out stadiums. The bigger issue is that the TV deal for the WWE is far greater than what the XFL had to offer so at least hurting attendance could be made up for by the TV contract. With NBC partnering with the WWE, it simply wasn't very likely they were going to make up the advertising revenue for the amount of money being spent on the league.

Furthermore, the XFL was taking place in the late winter and early Spring. Having lived in Atlanta for 9 painful years, I can tell you that it doesn't really warm up reasonably until April, if not May. February and March are the roughest months of the year in most areas and it simply doesn't not make watching live football appealing.

I felt bad for Matt Vasgersian because he had to put up with the same nonsense that every WWE announcer puts up with. He says that both Vince and Ebersol were barking in his ear giving him direction and Vince didn't know that Ebersol was doing that. Vince is a marketer by trade, so he's focused on buzz words and product placement instead of the natural ebb and flow of announcing. He was a horrendous announcer for his dad and why he really thinks he knows how to direct other announcers is beyond me.

I also felt bad for Jim Ross who doesn't get nearly enough credit for his announcing skills and has a good deal of experience in announcing college and pro football. They really seemed to attack Jesse Ventura as well, who also announced games for the Vikings for a while. And in the end, Ventura calling Rusty Tillman 'gutless' for not going for it on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line was the correct call.

It was stuff along those lines that made me think that nobody really understood the XFL, even in retrospect. Believe me, I'm not a fan of Vince McMahon in any regard, but to blame the downfall on him announcing 'THIS IS THE XFL' is completely missing the point. Just like the 'cool idea' to have the players scramble for the ball instead of the coin toss. It wasn't a cool idea...there was no real benefit to the team that won the scramble. Just like the quality of the play or the power going out because somebody forgot to put gas in the generator had little to do with the XFL failing.

The XFL failed because it was a very flawed concept from the get-go. Even if the play was pretty good, even if Vince took a backseat and let things happen even if they had 'real' announcers...it was doomed.






YR
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