5 Topics 30 for 30 Should Cover and the Next Slate

As I recently noted in my recent, I was glad to finally take the plunge into the Nine for IX series of docs. Aside from the online shorts I have been a very loyal devotee of the series owing both to my love of sports and my need to see more documentaries.

As this new slate shows there are a few titles where it’s about time the topic got covered like No Mas and Tonya and Nancy and some that should be eye-opening like the film on Eddie Aiku.

However, the world of sports filled with intriguing stories both off-the-field and on. Here are a few that came to mind as worthy subjects:

1. Danny Almonte

Danny Almonte

There are a few reasons I bring this topic up, none of them have to do with Almonte’s semi-pro career though. I think Little Big Men adequately covered the fact that Little League success doesn’t necessarily translate to the next level where fields match professional dimensions. However, this scandal did have a significant impact, not only on that tournament, but I feel it impacted a few to come. Furthermore, it changed, based on my knowledge, how Little League has handled some of these incidents since then. Most notably the Ugandan team’s visa issues a few years back. The media spin forces you to read between the lines to spot eligibility concerns, and when those facts came out they were consciously buried.

2. The 1994 MLB Strike


Well before all the NHL’s labor woes baseball took a huge backslide due to this strike. Its impact was a decline in popularity (only revitalized by a now-tainted era), a franchise’s eventual relocation and more. The fact that a stand-alone World Series was considered would only be one intriguing aspect of the story.

3. Colombia 86ed

El Bogotazan

If you look at the Wikipedia article on the 1986 World Cup, eventually hosted by Mexico, it glosses over the issues that lead Colombia to resign its bid four years prior to the actual tournament. It would also be enlightening to learn about the replacement process that led to Mexico being awarded its second tournament in 16 years. A very short span when you consider that other soccer powers (Brazil and England to name just two) have had to wait in excess of 50 years for a second chance. With a rise in the popularity of soccer this story would have an audience and it could be one that is layered.

4. 222-0


Maybe this is just a pipe dream that I’m better off submitting to Ken Burns, but, perhaps the single most fascinating scoreline I ever saw was this Georgia Tech dismantling of Cumberland in 1916. I first learned of it in the Guinness Book of World Records when I was young. I’m also glad to know I’m not alone in being fascinated by it as there has been a book written on the subject which could be the starting point.

5. 1996 Olympic Park Bombing

Olympic Explosion (CNN)

There are actually a few American off-the-field Olympic tales that could be told. I also considered the tale of the Salt Lake City bid scandal. However, this now-often-overlooked act seems like it’d be more relevant fodder for a documentary treatment.

Rewind Review- Rudo y Cursi (2008)

As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, hence the new title and little intro, regardless enjoy!

Rudo y Cursi is the feature length directorial debut of Carlos Cuarón, brother of Alfonso Cuarón. It tells the tale of two brothers who live in a rural economically depressed section of Mexico who are discovered by a talent scout and promised their chance at stardom in the Mexican soccer league with two fictitious teams.

The thing this film does best is incorporate a storytelling voice-over which draws parallels between soccer and life and also gives a little insight into the character of Batuta, played by the scene-stealing Guillermo Francella. Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna work together as if Y Tu Mama Tambien was completed yesterday and not eight years ago. Each is a bona fide star in his own right.

Both cinematically and as a soccer enthusiast one might be slightly disappointed by the in-game action. Very few of the game scenes shoot on field action but rather a reaction in stadium or around a TV or just the ball entering the net and people on the sideline.

The trajectory that each character takes to fame is quite different both as players and people – and that’s great. While their declines are also different they are equally predictable, however well-executed. Cursi (Bernal) offers a tremendously funny Spanish rendition of “I Want You to Want Me,” the music video thereof is undoubtedly the best scene of the movie and one of the best of the year, as he desperately wants to be a singer and shouldn’t be. Luna (Rudo) is spotted at a track and taken deeper into the gambling world.

There’s nothing terribly wrong with Rudo y Cursi. It’s a fine watchable film and even incorporates a decent subplot with Rudo’s wife looking for money and falling into a pyramid scheme but with such talent assembled on camera you kind of want it to do more. Things which get glossed over you want examined in more depth.

The ending ultimately, while you like Rudo and Cursi, was a bit too facile and I think as good as the voice over was, telling the tale from Batuta’s point of view might have been a mistake because it ultimately creates a distance. In the beginning we as an audience are wondering “Who is this guy?” If it was either Rudo or Cursi we might’ve been even more invested in the brothers’s plight even if all events played out the same.