Thursday, May 14, 2015

ESPN 30 for 30 Volume 3 Episode Guide

I have really enjoyed Volumes 1 and 2 of ESPN 30 for 30. An episode guide for Volume 1 is here; my ranking of those films is here. An episode guide for Volume 2 is here. In fall of 2011, ESPN ran a series of ESPN Films that continued the spirit of 30 for 30. A list of those film is here.

ESPN has announced plans to make more 30 for 30 episodes. Films for 30 for 30 Volume 3 include:

1. Trojan War directed by Aaron Rahsaan Thomas - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 9 p.m.
When Pete Carroll took over the football program at USC after the 2000 season, the once-great Trojans were under siege. But thanks to his football knowledge, upbeat personality and recruiting skills, Southern Cal was soon back atop the college football world as home attendance skyrocketed, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush won Heismans and the Trojans put together a 34-game winning streak. As it would be later discovered, though, the program was committing sins that would result in lost scholarships, victories and one of those Heismans. But those revelations didn’t come until after the national championship game in the 2006 Rose Bowl between USC and the University of Texas. Featuring interviews with Carroll, Leinart and others inside the USC program at the time, “Trojan War” looks at Carroll’s nine-year USC reign through the prism of that game, considered one of the greatest in college football history. It was also the beginning of the end.
2. The Prince of Pennsylvania directed by Jesse Vile - Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 9 p.m.
Back in the 1980s, the road to the Olympics was long and hard for an amateur wrestler. But then along came John du Pont, an eccentric heir to the family fortune with a passion for wrestling. His 800-acre Foxcatcher Farm outside Philadelphia became the hub of the sport, with state-of-the-art training facilities, free accommodations, generous stipends and the support of America’s best freestyle wrestlers, brothers Mark and Dave Schultz. It all seemed too good to be true – and tragically it was, with a savage ending. Featuring fresh testimonials and never-before-seen footage, “The Prince of Pennsylvania” is the story of a paradise lost to the madness of its creator, a man who had the means to buy anything except for the one thing he truly wanted.
3. The Gospel According to Mac directed by Jim Podhoretz - Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 9 p.m.
Football is a religion to many people. But few know the depths of both faiths as well as Bill McCartney, the former head football coach of the University of Colorado and the founder of Promise Keepers, a Christian men’s ministry. “The Gospel According to Mac” tells the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story of Coach Mac’s controversial national championship run – two seasons that followed multiple arrests and strife between his mostly African-American players and the Boulder police, continued with McCartney’s own daughter becoming pregnant by the team’s quarterback before seeing that same quarterback struck by cancer, and culminated in consecutive Orange Bowl match-ups against Notre Dame. Bill McCartney’s passionate and often polarizing beliefs have made him many enemies and many admirers, but it’s difficult to deny that he embodies the essential issues facing football in America to this day.
4. Chasing Tyson directed by Steven Cantor - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 8 p.m.
With his outsized personality and ferocious punches, Mike Tyson cast a commanding shadow over boxing in the 1980s and ’90s. Even when “Iron Mike” was in prison, the heavyweight division belonged to him. Meanwhile, like Ahab patiently waiting to reel in his giant whale, Evander Holyfield endured years of delay for the opportunity to take down Tyson. Though he captured the heavyweight title when he knocked out Buster Douglas, the prevailing view of the mild-mannered Holyfield was that he was a journeyman – the heavyweight champion, but never a truly great one. Though Holyfield dramatically lost and recaptured the heavyweight crown, and then lost it again, even he understood that his career would ultimately be defined by how he stood up to Tyson – if he ever got his chance. By the time of their much-hyped and oft-delayed heavyweight title bout in November of 1996, Holyfield was 34 and considered past his prime. Four years younger, Tyson was heavily favored to be standing over another meek and easily vanquished opponent at the end. Instead, we got two of the sport’s most memorable fights – but for very different reasons.
5. Four Falls of Buffalo directed by Ken Rogers - Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 9:30 p.m. ET
From 1990-1993, the Bills went on an unprecedented run of AFC Championship victories, appearing in a record four straight Super Bowls. Of course, that isn't what the Bills are mostly remembered for. This is the story of a team that went down in history not for herculean achievement of making four straight Super Bowls, but for losing them all.
6. The ’85 Bears directed by Jason Hehir - Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET
The film will look at perhaps the most famous football team of all-time – the Super Bowl XX champion Chicago Bears – on the 30th anniversary of their epic triumph. The birth of Buddy Ryan’s 46 Defense, the sweet-revenge victory over the 49ers, the loss to the Dolphins that ruined their perfect season and the “Super Bowl Shuffle” that was filmed the day after, are all topics explored in this film about a group of misfits who became the toast of football.
7. Fantastic Lies directed by Marina Zenovich - Sunday, March 13, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET
This film will return to the night of March 13, 2006, when Duke University lacrosse players threw a team party that ended up changing lives, ruining careers, tarnishing a university’s reputation and even jeopardizing the future of the sport at the school. It will premiere on the 10th anniversary of the party that ignited what became a national firestorm and resulted in a highly-charged legal investigation. Usually confined to the sports section, lacrosse suddenly appeared on the front pages of newspapers because of the lurid details of the case and the hot buttons that it pushed: sex, race, class, violence.
8. This Magic Moment directed by Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby - Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET
In the 1990s, the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway were the talk of the NBA not only on the court, but off it as well. So how did a partnership that burned so bright get extinguished so quickly?
9. Believeland - May 13, 2016 at 9:30 pm. ET
It was only a matter of time. ESPN is dedicating an episode to Cleveland sports. Akron native Kris Belman, who did the LBJ documentary More Than a Game, will direct 30 for 30 on the Cleveland sports fan. ESPN Cleveland says this version of the outstanding documentary series will focus on the unique experience of being a Cleveland sports fan. Next year marks 50 years without a championship in Cleveland.
10. OJ: Made in America directed by Ezra Edelman - June 2016
The five-part documentary is a miniseries event and the first episodic documentary by ESPN Films, starting a new chapter for the 30 for 30 brand. OJ: Made in America examines the history of race over the last several decades through the lens of OJ Simpson’s rise and fall. It is perhaps the defining cultural tale of 20th-century America, one that centers around two of our country’s greatest fixations: race and celebrity. OJ: Made in America will explore these themes in tracing a personal journey, from how Orenthal James Simpson first became a football star, to why the country fell in love with him off the field, to his being accused of murdering his ex-wife and his subsequent acquittal and why he is now sitting in jail 20 years later for another crime. This 10-hour epic will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22 and will debut on television in five parts in June.
11. Doc & Darryl by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio - July 14, 2016 at 9:00 pm ET
When they were good, they were the biggest stars on a team that captured New York City and the 1986 World Series. But when they were bad, Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry broke the hearts of Mets fans. "They were going to be our guys for years," laments Jon Stewart in this evocative yet searing 30 for 30 documentary directed by Judd Apatow ("Trainwreck") and Michael Bonfiglio ("You Don't Know Bo"). Reunited at a diner in Queens, the pitcher and the power hitter look back on the glory days of the mid-'80s and the harrowing nights that turned them from surefire Hall of Famers into prisoners of their own addictions. Listening to Doc talk about missing the parade down the Canyon of Heroes, or Darryl counsel others at his ministry, you can only wish that these two very different men had not followed the same destructive path.
12. Phi Slama Jama directed by Chip Rives - Tuesday, October 18, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
They were the most popular fraternity on the campus of college basketball in the early 1980s. Led by a Nigerian soccer player named Hakeem Olajuwon and a lightly recruited hometown kid named Clyde Drexler, the University of Houston Cougars not only electrified the NCAA Final Four with three straight appearances (1982-84), but they also helped transform the game itself. In this 30 for 30 film, director Chip Rives brings back the high-flying circus act under ringmaster Guy V. Lewis and spins a tale of true greatness and crushing heartbreak. But while exploring that larger narrative, Rives also focuses on the disappearance of enigmatic role player Benny Anders and the lasting brotherhood that compels teammates and 1981-82 co-captains Eric Davis and Lynden Rose to try and find him after more than two decades of mystery.
13. Hit It Hard directed by David Terry Fine and Gabe Spitzer - Tuesday, November 1, 8 pm ET
If professional golf were put to country music, then the song would be about John Daly. Ever since he shocked the sports world by winning the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick 25 years ago, the blond bomber from Dardanelle, Arkansas, has been one of the most popular—and polarizing—figures in a sport that cherishes its traditions and minds its manners. In this revealing and rollicking 30 for 30 film, directors Gabe Spitzer and David Fine cover Daly’s rise and fall, his redemption at the British Open in St. Andrews in 1995, and his struggles with booze, food, gambling, women and depression. They also uncover a person whose story runs much deeper than his motto of “Sip It, Grip It, Rip It.”
14. Catholics vs. Convicts directed by Patrick Creadon - Saturday, December 10, 9 pm ET
On October 15, 1988, Notre Dame hosted the University of Miami in what would become one of the greatest games in college football history. It was tradition vs. swagger, the No. 4-ranked Fighting Irish versus the No. 1-ranked Hurricanes, one coaching star, Lou Holtz, versus another, Jimmy Johnson. But the name still attached to the contest came from a t-shirt manufactured by a few Notre Dame students: “Catholics vs. Convicts.” In this 30 for 30 documentary, director and narrator Patrick Creadon (Wordplay, I.O.U.S.A.) doesn’t just look back on the epic game. He explores the deeper narrative as a Notre Dame senior at the time, a close friend to the young men in the middle of the “Catholics vs. Convicts” controversy (Joe Fredrick and Pat Walsh) and a fellow classmate of the player behind center for the Fighting Irish (quarterback Tony Rice). The coaches and players open up about the fight that started the game, the highly debatable calls that are still being talked about and the insensitive aspects of the irresistibly popular t-shirt. As compelling as the tale of Notre Dame’s dramatic victory is—even losing quarterback Steve Walsh calls it “a helluva ballgame”—the backstory is just as riveting.
15. This Was the XFL directed Charlie Ebersol - February 2, 2017
How two longtime friends, pro wrestling impresario Vince McMahon and NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol (Charlie Ebersol's father), teamed to form the XFL, a football league widely ridiculed during its brief run yet also appreciated as a forerunner of modern-day sports broadcasts.
16. One and Not Done directed by Jonathan Hock - April 13, 2017
The life and career of John Calipari, one of the most polarizing figures in modern college basketball, weaving his story around that of his 2015–16 Kentucky team.
17. Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies - June 13 and 14, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET
"There are rivalries, and then there is the Celtics vs. the Lakers.
18. George Best: All By Myself - June 30, 2016 at 9:00 p.m. ET
He was the Beatles of soccer - a handsome, charismatic lad from Belfast, Northern Ireland who worked wonders with the ball and thrilled Great Britain.
19. Mike and the Mad Dog - July 13, 2016 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, and their "Mike and the Mad Dog" show ruled afternoon sports talk for 19 years. When all was said and done, they changed sports radio forever.
X. Nature Boy Directed by Rory Karpf
The life and times of professional wrestling legend Ric Flair.
X. Down in the Valley directed by Jason Hehir
What does a sports team mean to a community? For the people of Sacramento, the answer is simple – everything. For three decades, Sacramento has been the improbable home to one of the NBA’s most improbable franchises – the Kings. Through the good, the bad, and the laughably ugly, Kings fans have stood by their team. So when news broke in 2013 that the team was likely leaving for Seattle – the second time in two years that it appeared relocation was inevitable – it sent shock waves through the community. All hope was seemingly lost until the city decided to fight back – again. At the helm was the city’s mayor, Kevin Johnson, a Sacramento native and former NBA All-Star, who seemed uniquely positioned to play point guard for the comeback attempt. “Down in the Valley” follows this historic saga from the locker room to the board room as a city and its favorite son fought to pull off perhaps the most unconventional upset in NBA history.
X. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

5/14/2015 - ESPN announces plans to make 30 more ’30 for 30′ episodes

9/9/2015 - ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Volume III to Launch this Fall with a Five-Week Run of New Documentaries

1/5/2016 - ESPN Films Announces New 30 for 30 Documentaries and First-Ever 30 for 30 Miniseries Event “OJ: Made in America”

10/3/2016 - ESPN Films Announces Next Three Documentaries in 30 for 30 Series

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