This past weekend, ESPN Films debuted a documentary directed by Nicole Lucas Haimes at the Tribeca Film Festival. Awful Announcing has since learned that The Good, The Bad, The Hungry will be released as a 30 for 30 installment and will air on July 2nd. That air date serves a nice promotional boost for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest, which airs live on ESPN on July 4th.
At this time, there is no trailer for the film, but the description of the film via Tribeca’s website is below.
“America’s independence isn’t the only reason to celebrate on the 4th of July. For residents and visitors on Coney Island, the date is synonymous with the nationally televised Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, a.k.a. the “Super Bowl of competitive eating.” The annual frankfurter consumption extravaganza even has its own “Magic versus Bird”: Japan’s Takeru “Kobi” Kobayashi and Californian Joey Chestnut. Their rivalry is deeper than cooked franks and water-drenched buns. Kobi and Joey’s competition is the stuff of vintage sporting drama, hot dogs and all, tackling personal challenges and questions about what it means to be an “American hero.”
In this documentary, filmmaker Nicole Lucas Haimes analyzes competitive eating’s most storied pair through lively and candid interviews with both competitors. She approaches an event that—let’s be frank—isn’t taken seriously by most people with earnestness and wide-eyed fascination, constructing both an insightful primer on a niche sport and an endearing humanization of two unconventional athletes.”
The film is currently listed at 77 minutes, which means it would fit into a 90 minute window with commercials when it airs on ESPN. There have been a few installments that have premiered at Tribeca or other film festivals before airing on ESPN, including Catching Hell, which debuted at Tribeca in 2011.
Tweets about the film from the festival showings are sparse, but seem to be positive.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE HUNGRY (2019, Haimes, ***1/2) Massively entertaining history of competitive eating contests proves there’s nothing too silly for Americans to be dumb and xenophobic about.
— Sean Burns (@SeanMBurns) April 27, 2019
— Daniel Cohen (@DCEE7474) April 27, 2019
ESPN’s gala screening of The Good, The Bad, The Hungry last night was funny, touching and thought-provoking. It begs the question: what makes a true American hero and do you need to be American in order to achieve that? Loved it. #esn30for30 #thegoodthebadthehungry #tff #doc #nyc pic.twitter.com/dcw3uBs8DZ
— Shahnaz Mahmud (@shahnazmahmud) April 27, 2019
We’re told that in between tomorrow’s The Dominican Dream and The Good, The Bad, The Hungry, there will be another 30 for 30 installment that should be announced soon.
Given that 2018 had the lowest output for 30 for 30 films to date, we’re encouraged to see the output ramping back up again. Hopefully, 2019 will bring us a few must-watch installments, because the series has been trending a bit towards mediocre over the last couple of years after a pair of strong slates in 2015 and 2016. If this installment delivers critical acclaim and strong viewership, maybe we’ll see ESPN veer away from major sports topics more, since there could be more low-hanging topics in more niche sports or events.