Give “best 30 for 30s” a google. You will sadly find as I did that the lack of accuracy on this subject is astounding. There are a few of these docs that everyone can agree must top the list, but for some reason they are nowhere to be found or at least horrifically mis-ranked. I’m going to give you my list, which I think is pretty objectively correct with a little twinge of my personal opinion mixed in. Here we go.
10. Unguarded – It’s like The Fighter meets… I dunno some basketball movie. Chris Herren was ripping every drug from cocaine to meth to heroin DURING his almost excellent career. The high school and college basketball standout’s struggle with addiction makes for absolute must watch content.
9. The Best There Never Was – One of the most sports-sad (non death related) tales you’ll ever be told. Marcus Dupree’s lack of athletic success beyond high school will boggle your mind, and seat-edge your ass.
8. I Hate Christian Laettner – The story is fascinating but this gets special credit for how well it’s made. I can’t conceive of better presentation than Rob Lowe narration and the “five points of Laettner hate” illustration. Phenomenal events and phenomenal explanation of them to boot.
7. Brian and the Boz – If the unadulterated and unrelenting savagery of coach Barry Switzer doesn’t get you, Brian Bosworth’s uncontrollable flurry of post-steroid emotions will. The only negative is his BITCHASS son.
6. Survive and Advance – Jimmy V’s 1993 ESPY speech alone would be enough to put Survive and Advance in the top 10, but the incredible sports story and even more incredible man featured put this one at #6.
5. Rand University – Three reasons. Randy Moss’ high school and college highlights, Randy Moss’ INSANE accent, and most of all, Randy Moss’ best friend Sam Singleton Jr. Especially when Singleton talks about how fucked up the duo would get before dominating high school games.
4. The U (Both parts) – Why? “What’s your name?” “G-Reg.” “What you do?” “Get head.” “How you do it?” “Drop my drawers and let her see my third leg!” is why.
By the way, this song is far funnier and FAR dirtier than the doc gave it credit for. Definitely worth a listen of some portion of the 9 minute track.
3. Bad Boys – This has everything a good 30 for 30 should have. A great story, a fantastic cast of characters, and Dennis Rodman being the fun insane person that he is. This look inside one of the most famous and infamous teams in NBA history is loads of fun and genuinely intellectually intriguing.
2. You Don’t Know Bo – Umm, because Bo is fucking AMAZING I guess. If you sat there with a pen and paper and documented every moment you said to yourself “holy shit, everyone should know this impossible thing Bo did!” your hand would be cramping fifteen minutes in.
1. OJ: Made in America – This isn’t just the best 30 for 30 of all time, I think this is the best documentary of all time. All five parts are as riveting as movies can be, and professional and clean as any 30 for 30 has ever been.
Feel free to tell me which ones I missed/ how I fucked up the rankings.