A 30 For 30 about Ric Flair breezes too quickly through pro wrestling’s most important era

B-

Nearly every film about professional wrestling hits a crucial point, where the participants have to decide how fully they want to answer one of the oldest and most persistent questions about their entire industry: “Is wrestling fake?” It’s something wrestlers themselves are understandably sick of talking about, for…

A short, sharp 30 For 30 looks at one of sports talk radio’s most famous teams

B+

Fans of rock docs or any other Behind The Music-style specials about the rise and fall of a popular band should be familiar with one of the most oddly satisfying scenes in the story of a breakup: when those responsible for ending a relationship look back with regret, realizing that whatever petty problems they were…

The epic Celtics-Lakers rivalry inspires one of the best 30 For 30s

A-

When ESPN launched 30 For 30 back in 2009, one of the mandates for the series was to tell sports stories that hadn’t already been wrung dry by countless magazine articles and TV retrospectives. It’s hard to argue that “Celtics/Lakers: Best Of Enemies” meets that standard. The NBA’s most famous rivalry? The epochal…

The Simpsons shifts into sports documentary mode for its amusing “22 For 30”

B

“22 For 30” dresses up The Simpsons’ formula in the gym togs of ESPN’s 30 For 30 sports documentary series, and, as far as stunts go, it’s a well-executed one. The arc of a traditional Simpsons episode and that of the average “troubled sports figure” doc mesh up neatly, as Bart, after honing his crumpled paper ball…

A classic college football game gets the 30 For 30 treatment in “Catholics Vs. Convicts”

B+

Two months ago, ESPN’s 30 For 30 offered a counter-narrative to its own “Survive And Advance” with the episode “Phi Slama Jama.” Now the series flips the script on its popular “The U” and “The U Part 2” with “Catholics Vs. Convicts,” the story of Notre Dame’s 1988 upset football victory over the University Of Miami.…

30 For 30 swings big with John Daly, golf’s flawed folk hero

A-

Given that 30 For 30 aired the sprawling five-part documentary masterpiece “O.J.: Made In America” just a few months ago, it’d be inapt to say that any other episode this season is “the best the show has done in a while.” So instead, consider “Hit It Hard” to be the best regular episode since “Fantastic Lies” back in…

The latest 30 For 30 looks at Houston’s game-changing “Phi Slama Jama” era

B-

30 For 30 has been around long enough now to start contradicting itself. One of the series’ best and most popular episodes is “Survive And Advance,” the inspiring story of how Coach Jim Valvano willed an underdog North Carolina State basketball team to a national championship in 1983. A big part of the myth of the…

30 For 30 looks at two Mets superstars who didn’t fulfill their early promise

B+

When Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball through Bill Buckner’s legs in Game Six of the 1986 World Series, it was a pivotal moment in the history of two franchises—but one whose meaning would change over time. For Boston Red Sox fans, the error represented a crushing moment of heartbreak; but it was also part of a long…

ESPN’s five-part O.J. Simpson documentary is a masterful portrait of a crime and its context

A

Thanks to one of those odd periodic showbiz confluences—the kind that gives us two killer earthquake movies in the same year or two animated films about talking ants or two Truman Capote biopics—the 30 For 30 docuseries O.J: Made In America is hitting TV screens just two months after FX had one of its biggest hits…

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