Archive for July, 2014

30 for 30 Docos Part 5

Posted: July 30, 2014 in Sport

The Best That Never Was

The 1981 recruiting of high school football player Marcus Dupree by multiple big-time college programs, his resulting injury-prone college and professional career, and how his pursuit by college and USFL teams changed the recruiting process

Simply amazing story. The tie in with the deputy sheriff involved with the “Mississippi Burning” three deaths was the first shock – just shows high school football even ranks above deep racism in these good old boys. Then we have the influence of religion in this story – the other classic trait in the south – where he trusts a minister more than any other actual sporting people like coaches!. Clearly a sublime athlete who could have been anything it is a story of wasted talent pure and simple but sadly Marcus himself is a bit pure and simple. He was big and fast and at times he glided across the field and you couldnt work out how they couldnt catch him ; other times he simply ran over the top. He struggled with weight and injuries but in a clear sign of some internal fortitude a few years after being crippled by a knee injury he dropped 50 kgs and got into shape all by himself. He subsequently did finally make it into the NFL even if a shadow of former self. The afro and the big glasses simply add to the whole package of someone just that little bit different and behind it all driving him was the story of a crippled younger brother who would never run. The coach from his Oklahoma College days gives a very frank and honest interview as well admitting his part in Marcus never filling his true potential post high school

The Announcement

No not the year I was voted Cleo’s Most Eligible Bachelor but rather

The events and aftermath of former Los Angeles Lakers player Magic Johnson announcing to the world that he tested positive for HIV.

Magic comes across as a genuine good guy – but then he is narrating the story. However you never hear bad things about him really and the standout friendship seems to be with old coach Pat Riley who really does come out of it smelling of roses. It was a magic time indeed in LA when he first ascended the throne and no doubt doing a lot of slam dunking off the court and not denying it. The Lakers were an extension of Hollywood La La land at the time and riding high. In the background all this time was his one true love Cookie who he did eventually settle down and marry – maybe not the smartest cookie in the box . The irony I guess is it appears he was ready to settle down and rack the cue so to speak – and then found out he was HIV positive. Of course how he , and those in the game, handle that devastating news is the crux of the yarn. Kudos to the Mailman for appearing as he was one of the loudest nay sayers at the time – no doubt reflecting the views of many but having the balls to say it then . There was never any accusation of drugs or homosexuality but in another one of those ironies his son who was conceived when he was HIV positive but not aware was tested HIV negative – as was Cookie – and is now openly gay. Magic also had a son from a previous relationship who it appears also is HIV negative but sadly stopped growing when he hit 5 feet 10. Some touching moments especially the HIV positive girl he consoles on live TV soon after announcement who appears in end credits now fully grown. No doubt it helps being a millionaire but he does show how to handle life changing events

30 for 30 Docos Part 4

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Sport

Slaying the Badger

Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond, who is now the first and only American to win the Tour de France. In this engrossing documentary, LeMond looks back at the pivotal 1986 Tour, and his increasingly vicious rivalry with friend, teammate and mentor Bernard Hinault. The reigning Tour champion and brutal competitor known as “The Badger,” Hinault “promised” to help LeMond to his first victory, in return for LeMond supporting him in the previous year. But in a sport that purports to reward teamwork, it’s really every man for himself.

Sadly I thought this was the sequel to one of my favorite movies “Stroking the Beaver” but alas it was about cyclists. Once over my initial disappointment I was indeed engrossed as demanded and it is of course topical as La Tour de Frog is currently on. It gave a great insight into the team dynamics in this most odd of sports and of course another reason to hate the French – as if needed. LeMond comes across as the quintessential clean cut boy which he may well be but hard to imagine he rose to the heights he did without some partaking in a little skullduggery . The Badger at least agreed to be interviewed and is convincing in his own way where as the coach comes across as a prize twat. It did not make me want to sit down and watch this years race at all – not when I can get my cycling fill watching the Velodrome in Glasgow where we regularly win – but it was well worth the 90 minutes for an insiders look at the sport and the pre One Ball Armstrong era which forever tainted the sport.

The Price of Gold

The world couldn’t keep its eyes off two athletes at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer – Nancy Kerrigan, the elegant brunette from the Northeast and Tonya Harding, the feisty blonde engulfed in scandal. Just weeks before the Olympics on Jan. 6, 1994 at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Kerrigan was stunningly clubbed on the right knee by an unknown assailant and left wailing, “Why, why, why?” As the bizarre “why” mystery unraveled, it was revealed that Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, had plotted the attack with his misfit friends to literally eliminate Kerrigan from the competition. Now two decades later, “The Price of Gold” takes a fresh look through Harding’s turbulent career and life at the spectacle that elevated the popularity of professional figure skating and has Harding still facing questions over what she knew and when she knew it.

Trailer trash V Beauty Queen. Harding comes across as a very interesting if somewhat shady character who had a tough life and always had to fight hard for everything she got but couldnt escape the impact of shady characters she hung around with and on occasion married. Her pleas of innocence do not ring true but certainly she aint the sharpest skate on the ice so ignorance may have played some part. Kerrigan did not participate in the story which is unfortunate but then she appears to be very much the manufactured “star”. Ice skating does at least make cycling look mildly interesting so did have that going for it and while enjoyable in a Jerry Springer way it does scream “Only in America” – that is if you can hear it over Kerrigan screaming herself.

Parkys Wish List

Posted: July 15, 2014 in TV

After the Knighted One Parky opened up Thorpedo like a can of week old sardines the search was on for equally fascinating interview subjects who were prepared to divulge very well known information disguised as a shock revelation if the ca-ching counter was pleased. I was fortunate enough to get a leaked copy of the interview synopsis which also included the “big reveal” and it only cost me my dignity. Talk about reselling used items!

1. Clive Palmer. Relates his moderately successful brush with the Michelle Bridges 2034 week plan but then reveals “I HAVE GRAVY ON MY CHIPS”

2. Darius Boyd . Fascinating insight into his meticulous planning prior to media interviews before finally admitting “I AM DUMB AND SHOULD PLAY IN THE FORWARDS”

3. Tony Abbott. Trumpeted his promotion of sheilas (his term not mine) in his cabinet before declaring “I HATE WOMEN”

4. Eddie McQuire. Outlines his Top 10 things he loves about Sydney and then blows it by finally admitting “I HATE SYDNEY”

5. Kochie. Admits to an underlying admiration for the work of the Today Show before snarling “I HATE KARL” (who doesnt eh Kochie?)

6. Kim Kardashian. Had nothing to say luckily but did reveal “A BIG ASS ” when she went running out in a huff.

7. Campbell Newman. Apologised for closing down Maryborough Pathology before luckily wifey stepped in to declare “HE CANT DO IT ANYMORE ”

8. Alan Jones. Did not let Parky get a word in for 2 hrs and then Thorpey came and picked him up for lunch “THEY HAD THE SAUSAGES” a loose lipped waiter later divulged

9. Greg Norman. Details the seventeen majors he lost through sheer bad luck before begrudgingly stating “I CHOKED IN 96”

10. Greg Bird. Bought along his brain scans to dismiss those nasty rumors but in an ironic twist turns out they were under developed too so he finally admitted “WISH I WAS A QUEENSLANDER”


Carbon Tax repeal passed after Clive Palmer removes impasse

In totally unrelated news it was revealed that Palmer had drafted and Abbott ensured passage of legislation ensuring Greg Bird must remain a Blue for rest of playing career

Its hard to moan really when you have just spent time with a fifth booteeful and healthy Grandchild but I do have certain obligations to the hordes of fan. Can hordes be singular? And then there was wonderful 10 course degustation at Restaurant 2 on Friday followed by (a bad nights sleep!) the very entertaining and rather talented Wayne Brady at Lyric theatre on Saturday with the CLP. Then Sunday morning dawned and despite wonderful advancements in digital magazines the CLP still enjoys the feel of a long cylindrical object in her hand – so has to buy the Sunday Mail paper version – and then roll it up tightly! Eventually when she had finished…………….. unwrapping it (dirty minds!) there in all its glory was the front page with the the big headline “I AM GAY” and a picture of Bigfoot. I said to her ” Hey blossom where did you get this 10 yr old paper from” ? I was somewhat stunned when she informed me that it was actually Sunday July 13th 2014 edition! So no one knew? Of course they did but I do agree it is no one’s business . We all have that one question we hate being asked all the time. Mine is “Arent you George Clooney” ? Am sure Thorpedo was sick and tired of being asked all the time. After all his biography quite clearly stated that he screwed several sheilas, both in sluggos and full body suit, in his day and as it is in print it must be true. So why does it suddenly become front page “news”. Yes I almost vomited typing “news” too. Then the penny dropped – but I wasnt bending over to pick it up in these uncertain times. Parky was talking to Thorpy on Sundy. Yes Y indeed. Well he got paid 400 k of course. Now once again no problem with that and good luck to him if New Idea would only go to $390 k because they shelled out big on the Princess Kate triplets yarn. But I did spew in my weetbix when all the comments were how “brave” he was. No folks, if he was truly brave he would have announced it years ago but of course in a sad reflection of some world wide cultures that could have killed off some sponsorship deals in the lucrative Asian market. Once again no problem with him earning a crust but lets see this for what it really is – a cynical publicity stunt which of course has worked. How many gay athletes may he have helped if he been “honest” all those years ago. Ian Roberts came out 20 yrs ago and yet there is still a stigma attached to an athletes sexuality – in some circles. Of course no one was game to say that to Roberts. This little black duck did not watch it of course – too pumped for the Kylie Bonking Hutcho segment later – but from the snippet I saw he didnt say he was gay, more a case of ” I am not Straight”. Maybe we need another term for that gray area between being gay and being straight ? Graight? Maybe just Confused ?

So QLD won the dead rubber of SOO 3 and yawns escaped across the land followed by all the “what ifs” like if Cronk had played the first two games would Qld be looking at nine series wins? Probably but the only certain thing is if we had scored more points than NSW in GAME 1 OR 2 we would have won. I think – its another of those gray areas. Parker was superb of course and the rest is in the who cares bin. Speaking of money grabbers was decidedly surprised and disappointed to see Bennett leave the Knights especially when he trotted out the old “it isnt You, its Me” Seinfeld line. Had not been that disappointed with Bennett news since he turned down the offer to coach the Newcastle Jets soccer team as well because you know then it would have been………… wait for it…………….. Benny and the Jets! Then to top of a bad media day we had the ridiculous scene of some floozy trying to interview the quiet man of NRL about the Bennett news – one Darius Boyd ,who must rank as one of the dullest people around. Great winger , personality of a block of cement. Floozy 1 would have known all this of course but still makes for that sound bite for the media to play on loop for 48 hrs.

You only need news to last 48 hrs because you know in every 48 hr cycle PUP Palmer will make a goose of himself and grab a headline or three.

And a Kardashian will either fall pregnant, marry a celebrity, divorce a celebrity or become a celebrity. Apparently

ESPN 30 for 30 Docos – Part 3

Posted: July 3, 2014 in Sport

June 17, 1994

Quick-cut archival footage captures the various US sporting events on the day in question and the emotions they generated, including but not limited to the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament, the Knicks/Rockets battle in the NBA Finals, Arnold Palmer’s last round in the U.S. Open, and the New York Rangers’ celebration of their Stanley Cup victory — all of which are overshadowed by O. J. Simpson’s run from the police.

Naturally the OJ story dominates and reminds you of the bizarre nature of it all – which must have been surreal at the time in the city. The constant pleas of the police to soothe OJ down and prevent a tragedy do them proud. One cant help but think of Seinfeld though with the glove trial (6’54”)and the Kramer/Gendason car chase. Arnie was of particular interest to moi and as so often happens in these cases ends with a whimper not a bang – or in this case a 3 putt.

Run Ricky Run

A profile of Ricky Williams focuses on his brief 2004 departure from the NFL, when he sought self-redemption amidst media criticism and fresh rumors of marijuana use.

Odd story about one cool dude. A rare talent that struggled with many issues but eventually found peace, it would appear, through yoga, weed and the love of a good woman. Once again a creepy Dad is in the background whose impact is difficult to fully assess but no doubt significant. No doubt the yoga etc maintained his physical ability beyond that normally associated with a man his age in a brutal sport. Or maybe he was still stoned

Fernando Nation

The euphoria created by Fernando Valenzuela’s 1981 arrival with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As with majority of these “sports” docos there is much more to the story. In this case the new Dodgers stadium was built on previous Mexican housing projects Chavez Ravine thus causing massive social upheaval – and pissing off the Mexican “fans” . The call went out for a “Mexican Pitcher” and they hit the mother lode with a chubby unassuming youngster Valenzuela. The “fans” came back in droves as Fernandomania was born in an historic 1981 season – Rookie of the Year/Cy Young/World Series championship

Tim Richmond: To the Limit

The career of NASCAR driver Tim Richmond, his flamboyant lifestyle, and his 1989 death from AIDS.

Nascar doesnt float my boat but it was clear this guy was a talent. He liked to party too and had charisma to burn. Then he started to cough a lot and was generally unwell. The story kept being rolled out was Pneumonia and then a relapse. The rumours started of course but continually denied. It was 1991 that Magic Johnson informed the world he was HIV positive. It wasnt going to happen in 89 in a “real man’s sport”. As with Johnson it was contracted through sampling many ladies at different times. Or at the same time. Where he loses any sympathy with this viewer was his continued exploits with ladies when he knew he was infected .


A look at the rivalry and friendship between tennis legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

The weakest to date. Of mild interest if you did not know of their friendship I guess but largely a love in and lets face it one of these sheilas broke our Sharkies heart. The other one he married.Archival footage shared over a cuppa and backslaps is a tad dull. Everts boobs appeared to have increased over time. I suspect they may be married by now

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson

The 1993 trial of Hampton, Virginia high school athlete Allen Iverson, convicted for his role in a racially tinged melee, and its impact on both the community and on Iverson’s life. (90 minutes in length)

A complex lad it would appear with a lot of anger issues. The trial clearly highlights racism in the community but this kid was no angel. Overall comes across as a story of wasted potential despite some of his achievements. A sad reflection on a time and a place. May be Todd Carneys role model ?

Without Bias

The death of Len Bias from a cocaine-induced heart attack, two days after Boston selected him as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, and its impact on casual drug use, especially by the sports community.

Another great, if sad, basketball yarn. Excellent participation by those closest to the event but do find it very hard to understand how their faith can lead parents to say its all ok “he is with God now.” This mother lost two sons in relatively quick succession and no doubt does excellent work now but dont know how she got there. The plight of the second, less known, son is probably even sadder

The Band that Wouldnt Die

A profile of Baltimore’s love affair with football and the Colts, focusing on the Colts Marching Band. After the Colts decamped for Indianapolis in 1984, the band remained in Baltimore and helped promote the eventual return of theNFL to the city.

Only in America. An interesting story though highlighting initially the complicity of professional team owners but essentially the story of community being held together by their love of their team living on in the band that never went away. And there is a happy ending with the Ravens winning the big one in 2000 and 2012. If it was the Dallas Cheerleaders with Debbie, I may have been glued to the screen more – at least I assume that is glue.

Catching Hell

The relationship between Chicago Cubs fans and Steve Bartman following Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series

But oh so much more. Compares the impact on a player and on a fan whose actions (in different eras) directly impacted on a game, a series and a clubs history. Baseball is a game loaded with curses and this story addresses the two best – Bambino and Billygoat. There is even an interesting seque to the definition of scapegoat. Deals significantly with the Bill Buckner Red Sox howler as well as the vilified Cubs fan who interfered with a foul ball – or not ? Baseball can be paint drying territory but this insight to the culture is tres fascinating. On a side note great to see Wrigley Field again – wish I had seen this before visiting last year as would have sought out seat 113