Because it's been a few weeks since the last "30 for 30" documentary aired, because the latest one is airing on a different night and time (tonight at 9 on ESPN) and because it runs two hours instead of one, and because this one airs on a weekend when my time is limited, I figured I would do a quick post before it airs, rather than after. A few quick thoughts after the jump, and feel free to discuss the movie here after it airs...
Billy Corben's "The U" covers the longest period of any "30 for 30" film to date - from Howard Schnellenberger's arrival as coach of the Miami Hurricanes in 1979 to Butch Davis's hire in 1995 - and features one of the larger casts of talking heads (Schnellengerber, Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson, most of the famous surviving Miami alums like Alonzo Highsmith and Michael Irvin, plus local columnists like Dan LeBatard, etc., etc.). And the story of the program's rise from afterthought to outlaw national powerhouse certainly merits the extra time(*), as the amount and degree of shenanigans the Hurricanes got into over this period means there's rarely a dull moment. As a piece of filmmaking, it's not as good as some of the earlier films, but the story itself is pretty irresistible.
(*) I'm told that, while most of the future films will stick to the one-hour format we've seen previously, some will be allowed to run two hours like this. The screening I saw a few weeks back of the next film, Dan Klores' delightful "Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks" (not airing till March) was long enough, and good enough, that I suspect it'll get the two-hour treatment as well.
Anyway, don't forget to tune in, and I'll be curious what you think.