Film

The 10 Best of ESPN's 30 for 30

On the occasion of 30 for 30's fifth anniversary, ESPN Films has released a 100-Film Gift Set. And on that occasion, a list of the 10 best 30 for 30 films.. so far.

On the occasion of 30 for 30's fifth anniversary, ESPN Films has released a 100-Film Gift Set. The metal locker includes all 30 for 30 films, as well as 30 for 30 Shorts, 2013's Nine for IX series, and 2014's 30 for 30 Soccer Stories. Below, a list of the 10 best 30 for 30 films, so far.

Special mentions for Venus Vs. (Ava DuVernay 2013) and Hillsborough (Daniel Gordon 2014), and the shorts, The High Five (Michael Jacobs 2014, 10 mins), and Judging Jewell (Adam Hootnick 2014, 20 mins).

 
Film: 30 for 30: Once Brothers

Director: Vlade Divac

Studio: ESPN Films

Year: 2010

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/o/oncebrothers_poster200.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 10

Display Width: 200

Once Brothers
Vlade Divac

Growing up in Yugoslavia, Vlade Divac idolized the players of the NBA and dreamed of “flying away”. But his film, Once Brothers, is not only autobiographical; it also situates his life inside a series of complicated recent histories, from the introduction of European (and South American and Asian) players into the NBA to the violent breakup of Yugoslavia. When his national team won the Olympic Silver medal in 1988 and the World Championship in 1989, several players were signed to NBA teams, including Toni Kukoč, Dino Rađa, and Dražen Petrović. Divac and Petro's special friendship was first disrupted by the war (Divac being Serbian and his friend Croatian), then ended tragically when Petrović died in a car accident in 1993, when he was just 28 years old. Beyond this personal story, the film underscores the irony that even as the NBA made efforts to “internationalize” its team rosters, expanding its profits, the rest of the world followed its own course: bloody and utterly brutal.

 
Film: 30 for 30: The Price of Gold

Director: Nanette Burstein

Cast: Tonya Harding, Ann Schatz, Connie Chung, John Powers, Tony Kornheiser, Sandra Luckow, Jerry Solomon, Mary Scotvold

Studio: Asylum Entertainment/ESPN Films

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/t/thepriceofgold_30for30_poster2001.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 9

Display Width: 200

The Price of Gold
Nanette Burstein

Tonya Harding's remarkable triple axel at the 1991 US Figure Skating Championships is a fascinating starting point in The Price of Gold, which goes on to follow the story of Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, her rival during the early '90s and, of course, the skater who was attacked with a police baton on 6 January 1994 in Detroit. But Harding’s historic achievement has everything to do with that story, in the sense that it describes her determination, her gifts, and her obstacles, the story of her life and career. The film considers media storytelling, in the forms of the scandal and the legal case, and also the preposterous, wholly predictable, and fabulously lucrative decision to include both skaters on the US Olympic team in 1994.

 
Film: 30 for 30: Bernie and Ernie

Director: Jason Hehir

Cast: Bernard King, Ernie Grunfeld, Hubie Brown, Marv Albert, Chuck D (narrator)

Studio: ESPN Films

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/b/berniendernie_30for30_poster200.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 8

Display Width: 200

Bernie and Ernie
Jason Hehir

Structured around the bond Bernard King developed with his University of Tennessee teammate, Ernie Grunfeld, Jason O'Hehir's film offers a potent indictment of racism in its many forms. It also celebrates the healing provided by community and sports. In basketball, Bernard King finds a sense of connection and identity that being part of a team might provide. Along with thrilling game footage and stories of athletic triumphs, the movie begins with King's memories of a working class childhood in Brooklyn, then reveals a traumatic encounter with Knoxville police, an episode that resonates with many others, traumatic for "a guy from New York that didn’t understand the South". His continuing pain, visible in his face as King speaks, offers a lesson in the terrors of racism.

 
Film: 30 for 30: Benji

Director: Coodie and Chike

Cast: Scoop Jackson, R. Kelly, Mario Coleman, Michael Wilbon, Nick Anderson, Billy Moore, Wood Harris (narrator)

Studio: ESPN Films

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/b/benji_30for30_poster200.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 7

Display Width: 200

Benji
Coodie and Chike

Ben Wilson was a star. Personable, talented, ambitious, he was the first Chicago player to ranked as the top high schooler in the nation. Two days before the start of his senior year at Simeon Vocational High, he was shot dead on the sidewalk by two students from another school. Benji uses talking heads to recount the promise and the loss, including Ben's older brother Curtis, coaches, lawyers, and teammates. As it also uses animation to reimagine game highlights as well as the murder, it introduces something else, an interview with one of the shooters, William Moore, whose story speaks to circumstances both familiar and frightening, the circumstances of being young and black in the projects.

 
Film: Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks

Director: Dan Klores

Cast: Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing, Spike Lee, John Starks, Mark Jackson, Pat Riley, Mike Francesa, Jeff Van Gundy, Donnie Walsh, Byron Scott, Cheryl Miller

Studio: ESPN Films

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/news_art/w/winning-time.jpg

Display as: List

List number: 6

Display Width: 200

Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks
Dan Klores

“It was almost a biblical proportion,” remembers Cheryl Miller, “You had Indiana, the Holy City, and New York, Sodom and Gomorrah.” It’s true, at times the longstanding opposition between the Pacers and the Knicks could seem a matter of life and death, or at least a clash of cosmic forces. That said, Miller ‘s take on the contest is understandably biased, as her brother Reggie was then the star guard for that Holy City, on occasion called on to carry his team over to victory. Reggie and Cheryl and the other interviewees in Winning Time remember the saga shrewdly, with good humor and great wit, perfectly in tune with the film's operatic score.

Next Page


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Books

The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.

Music

Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.

Music

King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.

Music

Jim O'Rourke's Experimental 'Shutting Down Here' Is Big on Technique

Jim O'Rourke's Shutting Down Here is a fine piece of experimental music with a sure hand leading the way. But it's not pushing this music forward with the same propensity as Luc Ferrari or Derek Bailey.

Music

Laraaji Returns to His First Instrument for 'Sun Piano'

The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.

Music

Kristin Hersh Discusses Her Gutsy New Throwing Muses Album

Kristin Hersh thinks influences are a crutch, and chops are a barrier between artists and their truest expressions. We talk about life, music, the pandemic, dissociation, and the energy that courses not from her but through her when she's at her best.

Music

The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.

Music

Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.

Film

The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.

Music

'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.

Music

Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.

Books

Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.

Music

South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.

Music

Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.

Music

'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Music

The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.