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ESPN Films Collection, Vol. 1 [5 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Synopsis

Charismatic
This ESPN documentary chronicles the longshot 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner and its troubled jockey, Chris Antley. The horse's Triple Crown bid fell short, with Antley saving its life at the finish of the Belmont Stakes. ~ Roger Leister, Rovi

Catching Hell
Bad luck tends to follow the Chicago Cubs like it's the team's mascot, but even longtime fans had a hard time swallowing what happened on October 4, 2003. The Cubs made it to the National League playoffs, and were leading the Florida Marlins 3 to 0 in the sixth game of the series. The Marlins were up three games, but a win for the Cubs would have tied the series and put them one game away from a pennant victory for the first time in 48 years. However, while left fielder Moises Alou was jumping to catch a foul ball in the eighth inning, a fan in the stands, Steve Bartman, tried to catch it without seeing Alou, and accidentally knocked the ball from his glove. The play threw the game into the Marlins favor, and they gained a second wind, scoring eight runs and walking away with the pennant. Bartman immediately became the most hated man in Chicago and was belittled for costing the Cubs the World Series, even though a close look at the game reveals he was hardly the villain of the piece. Filmmaker Alex Gibney examines the facts and the legend behind Steve Bartman's infamous catch, as well as the nature of sports fans who demand a scapegoat, in the documentary Catching Hell, which also explores a similarly embarrassing moment in the history of Gibney's favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. Produced for the ESPN cable network, Catching Hell received its world premiere at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

The Fab Five
Originally created as part of ESPN's 30 For 30 documentary series, The Fab Five looks back on the University of Michigan men's basketball team that became one of the most popular and galvanizing squads of their time. Freshmen Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson came to campus in the fall of 1991 and were widely considered one of the best recruiting classes the school had ever seen, and the anticipation led to them being dubbed "The Fab Five." The filmmakers sit down for interviews with not only the players themselves (except Webber who refused to participate), but also with many of their opponents, including members of Duke. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Herschel
This documentary profiles former Georgia running back Herschel Walker. The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner overcame teenage bouts with bullying for being overweight and having a severe stutter. ~ Roger Leister, Rovi

Renée
In 1976, Renee Richards began competing in amateur tennis tournaments in California, and immediately made a name for herself -- a six foot, two inch tall woman in her early forties who played left handed and with unusual skill, strength and stamina was not going to go unnoticed for long. When people began asking questions about Renee, they made an unexpected discovery -- only a year earlier, Renee had undergone sexual reassignment surgery, after spending her life as Richard Raskind, an amateur tennis champ, surgeon, husband and father. When Renee filed suit to be allowed to play in the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament as a woman, she struck a blow for the rights of transsexuals, but she also put herself and her family into the public eye, with unexpected consequences. Filmmaker Eric Drath explores the life of Renee Richards both on and off the tennis court in the documentary Renee, in which her friends and family discuss the impact of sudden fame on her life, a number of noted players (including Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King) talk about her skills as an athlete, and Renee herself talks about her journey and her difficult relationship with her son. Renee was produced for the ESPN cable television network, and was an official selection at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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