This Sunday, ESPN is airing a marathon of six of their 30 For 30 documentary movies. Beginning at 10 am PST and running until 7 pm PST, the movies include Run Ricky Run, Once Brothers, Pony Excess, Tim Richmond: To The Limit, Into The Wind, and Muhammad and Larry. In our fast paced world it’s a luxury to sit down and spend a couple hours on the couch vegging so why not take advantage with your significant other while catching up some sports history. We’ve mentioned the 30 For 30 movies quite a bit here on Queen of Sports because we are fans; they are all so interesting and well made.
Here’s a summary of each of the movies so you can determine which ones you want to catch.
Run Ricky Run- Ricky Williams does not conform to America’s definition of the modern athlete. In 2004, with rumors of another positive marijuana test looming, the Miami Dolphins running back traded adulation and a mansion in South Florida for anonymity and a $7 a night tent in Australia. His decision created a media frenzy that dismantled his reputation and branded him as America’s Pothead. But while most in the media thought Williams was ruining his life by leaving football, Ricky thought he was saving it. Through personal footage recorded with Williams during his time away from football and beyond, filmmaker Sean Pamphilon takes a fresh look at a player who had become a media punching bag and has since redeemed himself as a father and a teammate.
Once Brothers-We wrote a post about this movie back when it was premiering on ESPN. You can read a summary here.
Pony Excess- From 1981-1984, a small private school in Dallas owned the best record in college football. The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University (SMU) were riding high on the backs of the vaunted “Pony Express” backfield. But as the middle of the decade approached, the program was coming apart at the seams. Wins became the only thing that mattered as the University increasingly ceded power of the football program to the city’s oil barons and real estate tycoons and flagrant and frequent NCAA violations became the norm. On February 25, 1987, the school and the sport were rocked, as the NCAA meted out “the death penalty” on a college football program for the first and only time in its history. SMU would be without football for two years, and the fan base would be without an identity for 20 more until the Mustangs’ win in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. This is the story of Dallas in the 1980′s and the greed, power, and corruption that spilled from the oil fields onto the football field and all the way to the Governor’s Mansion. Director Thaddeus D. Matula, a product of the SMU film school, chronicles the rise, fall, and rebirth of this once mighty team.
Tim Richmond: To The Limit- Natural. Rock star. Outsider. In the 1980s, race car driver Tim Richmond lived his life the way he raced cars – wide open. Born into a wealthy family, Richmond was the antithesis of the Southern, blue-collar, dirt-track racers who dominated NASCAR. He also was a flamboyant showman who basked in the attention of the media and fans – especially the attention of female admirers. Nevertheless, it was Richmond’s on-track performances that ended up drawing comparisons to racing legends. And in 1986, when he won seven NASCAR races and finished third in the Winston Cup series points race, some believed he was on the verge of stardom. But soon his freewheeling lifestyle caught up to him. He unexpectedly withdrew from the NASCAR racing circuit, reportedly suffering from double pneumonia. In reality, the diagnosis was much more dire: He had AIDS. Richmond returned to the track in 1987, but he was gone from the sport by the next year as his health deteriorated. He spent his final days as a recluse, dying on August 13, 1989, at the age of 34. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rory Karpf will examine the life and tragic death of one of NASCAR’s shooting stars.
Into The Wind- In 1980, Terry Fox continued his fight against bone cancer with the pursuit of a singular, motivating vision: to run across Canada. Three years after having his right leg amputated six inches above the knee after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, Fox set out to cover more than a marathon’s distance each day until he reached the shores of Victoria, British Columbia. Anonymous at the start of his journey, Fox steadily captured the heart of a nation with his Marathon of Hope. However the 21-year old BC native’s goal was not fame, but to spread awareness and raise funds for cancer research. After 143 days and two-thirds of the way across Canada, with the eyes of a country watching, Fox’s journey came to an abrupt end when newly discovered tumors took over his body. Two-time NBA MVP, proud Canadian, and first-time filmmaker Steve Nash will share Fox’s incredible story of perseverance and hope.
Muhammad and Larry- In October of 1980 Muhammad Ali was preparing to fight for an unprecedented fourth heavyweight title against his friend and former sparring partner Larry Holmes. To say that the great Ali was in the twilight of his career would be generous; most of his admiring fans, friends and fight scribes considered his bravado delusional. What was left for him to prove? In the weeks of training before the fight, documentarians Albert and David Maysles took an intimate look at Ali trying to convince the world and perhaps himself, that he was still “The Greatest.” At the same time, they documented the mild-mannered and undervalued champion Holmes as he confidently prepared to put an end to the career of a man for whom he had an abiding and deep affection. In the raw moments after Ali’s humbling in this one-sided fight, it was not fully comprehended what the Maysles brothers had actually captured on film and, due to unexpected circumstances, the Maysles footage never received a public screening or airing. However, in the intervening years, the magnitude of this footage is now clear. An era ended when the braggadocio and confidence were stripped away in the ring, and the world’s greatest hero was revealed to be a man. Here for the first time is the unseen filmed build up to that fight, accompanied by freshly shot interviews by Albert Maysles with members from both the Ali and Holmes camps, as well as others who were prime witnesses to this poignant foolhardy attempt at courage.
*Movie summaries via ESPN.com