Sunday, March 23, 2014

Captain America: The First Avenger

I am pretty proud of myself to sneak in today's timely blog for 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger (trailer) within a couple weeks of the sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier hitting theaters. It was like it was crying out of my backlog box to be watched at this time. I have followed numerous comic book franchises off and on over the years, but have never been a big Captain America fan. I think I own a handful of the comics, and have fond memories of using him a lot in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games.

I have heard of his origin from fellow comic fans many times over the years, and thought they nailed his origin story to a T. Props to Marvel Studios for spending 35 minutes to get us acquainted with Steve Rodgers (Chris Evans) before he gets injected with the super steroi-.....ahem...I mean the "Super Soldier Serum" to jack him up to the gills and become the one man red, white and blue army on the big screen. Before that experiment, Rodgers is just an undersized 20-something who desperately wants to fight for his country in the middle of World War II. One of the army's scientists takes notice of his persistence and enrolls him in the Super Soldier program that injects him with the aforementioned serum that transforms him into Captain America.

By the way, if any of you have still been boycotting this film all these years because you could not get over the fact Chris Evans also played The Human Torch from the pair of Fantastic Four films several years ago, just give it a break already. There is a vast difference from Evans then and now, and the thought did not even cross my mind once while watching the movie because Evans does a superb job as Steve Rodgers and Marvel picked the perfect candidate to play the everyman that became Captain America.

In the comic books, the original Captain America run in the 1940s was all about him fighting the Nazis, and was more or less the rah rah USA material the country needed to get through WWII. While this takes place during WWII, the Nazis are not the antagonists. They play a minor role in the beginning of the film, but are quickly pushed off to the side when they are overthrown by another German resistance, Hydra. They are led by one Johan Schmidt, aka The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), who manages to procure the all powerful tesseract from the Thor films to and uses it to make tesseract-infused weaponry showcased throughout the movie.

I always associated Hydra as more of a primary villain of Wolverine, and while they play a nice foil for Cap here I cannot help but just shake this sour feeling in the back of my head as being Marvel's way to PC up this film so they could make it commercially viable in Germany. The Red Skull has always been one of Cap's top adversaries, and Hydra was linked to them in Marvel comic book lore, but this seems a little too convenient. That goes doubly so when you see most of the weaponry being featured in this film is Hydra's tesseract-infused weapons that reminded me of the kid-friendly laser rifles used in the animated GI Joe andX-Men cartoons of the 80s and 90s. I am probably reading too much into this as I still very thoroughly enjoyed this movie from beginning to end, but could not shake these little PC nuggets Marvel inserted throughout the film, and I could not help myself to imagine how much better this movie could have been if Marvel went all out with a gritty R rated version of Captain America.

That rant aside, I still very much enjoyed this film. The first origin act does a tremendous job capturing the essence of Steve Rodgers being an innocent, do gooder everyman who wanted to fight the good fight. The second act kicks off with Cap being the showpiece of a hilarious USO show-style American propaganda tool to promote war bonds, and captures his comic book style uniform to a T, it actually looks so ridiculous in the live action world they thankfully tweak it a bit once Rodgers is legitimately in the line of duty. After pushing back Hydra all the way to their main underground base in a very enjoyable series of montages, we get the climatic final battle against The Red Skull, and it pays off in spades like almost all the other Marvel films in recent years. Watching this film a second time, one of my few gripes I picked up on is a minor pacing gripe with not a lot whole lot of risk really being in Captain America's way as he essentially runs over Hydra forces nonstop through the film, with only minimal setbacks. I guess there is the whole, 70 years frozen in ice thing the filmmakers do a fine job conveying, and Marvel also does a fine job transitioning into bringing him into the modern day with some amusing tomfoolery on SHIELD's part. Like I said, it is a minor nitpick, and ultimately it seemed if there was to be a Captain America film, this was the prime way to go about it with him kicking all kinds of ass in 1940s.

I am thrilled that the first Captain Amercia film we got from Marvel Studios was his origin story from WWII, and not set in modern day. I am of course neglecting the extremely low budget Captain America film from 1990 which I only caught enough bits and pieces off of cable over the years to know to stay the hell away from it. The upcoming sequel is set in modern times, post-Avengers, and I am a little trepid going by the few previews I have seen as it makes Captain America seem like more of a secret agent than the super soldier we got on display here. However, early buzz indicates that this is another winner from Marvel that will not disappoint so I have good faith they know what they are doing.

Marvel did a bang up job delivering a good chunk of extras. Aside from the requisite commentary track, we have nearly another hour of extra features on top of it. There are five minutes of throwaway deleted scenes that really did not do a whole for me other than an extended first meeting between Rodgers and Nick Fury where they took their time explaining some back story. There is also a four minute original short featuring Agent Colston of SHIELD where he makes a road trip pit stop to get some snacks and some good, stupid, fun hijinx quickly transpires. There are six behind the scenes featurettes ranging from 5 to 10 minutes apiece. The ones I recommend checking out are Outfitting a Hero, that shows how they made Cap's suit come alive on the big screen, Howling Commandos explains the back story on Cap's WWII montage squad that has a brief role in the film, The Transformation is really fascinating as it dissects all the camera tricks and body doubles used to pull off a pipsqueak version of Chris Evans before he gets injected with the serum. Finally, make sure to watch Captain America's Origin, it is a quick watch that interviews the co-creator Captain America, Joe Simon, who has some entertaining stories on how he came up with Cap's original antagonists.

Other than The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger marks the only Marvel Studios release I own, and I think that is saying something. Do not get me wrong, I am a big fan of the Iron Man trilogy, the two Thor films and The Incredible Hulk, but those all wounded up being films that I got the most out of in a big budget action flick experience that I only desired to see in the theaters. Maybe it helps with me getting more out of Captain America's backstory and it taking place in the WWII theater, but in my opinion it rises above all the other Marvel Studios movies that focuses on the individual heroes.

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

As you may recall from my review of The Wrath of Kahn, that it took a little arm twisting to get Leonard Nimoy to reprise his role as the legendary Spock for the first Star Trek movie sequel. That film ended up being such a success, that after its initial box office weekend a third movie was instantly green lit. However, Nimoy only agreed to return if he could direct the picture himself. His demands were met, and in 1984 Paramount released Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (trailer).

When we last left the crew of the Enterprise, a touching funeral scene transpired on board the Enterprise as the crew were mourning the death of Spock as he sacrificed himself to save the Enterprise in the midst of a dogfight against the despicable Kahn. His coffin was shot onto the surface of the artificially created planet, Genesis, a planet created using highly coveted technology that Kahn was after. We really did not think that would be the end of Spock now, would we?

It turns out before Spock sacrificed himself, he bounded his essence/soul with McCoy (DeForest Kelley), which resulted in McCoy randomly acting like the legendary Vulucan. Spock's father informs Kirk (William Shatner) that he must recover his body from Genesis so he can reunite his body with the essence from McCoy so he can bring him back to life on the planet Vulcan. He actually berates Kirk for not knowing this beforehand in an amusing way. This shall not be an easy task though as the planet Genesis is become increasingly unstable as a result from the experimental technology it was created with. A science team is monitoring it, with David (Meritt Butrick) and Saavik (now being played by Robin Curtis since Kristie Alley demanded many monies) beaming down to track signals emanating from a new life form. While David and Saavik are exploring Genesis, a rogue Klingon ship, headed by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) that procured data on Genesis and discovered its location is making an attempt to claim it as a new home world for its race.

I am somewhere in between in ranking the third film between the long, dragged out original, and the sequel that blew me away. Let us start off with the good. I really liked the journey to find out what happens to Spock on Genesis, and the hijinx Kirk must go through in order to sneak the Enterprise back into action. I also like how it picks up immediately after the end of the last film, with the Enterprise still showing battle scars from its epic duel with the occupied Reliant. I was originally disappointed to see Kristie Alley not return as I thought she did a fine job with Saavik, but by the end of this film I was much more impressed with Robin Curtis's performance as the expressionless Vulcan. I am also digging how the special effects keep noticeably improving with each film. Sure, some of the shots they go out of their way to show off look downright dated now, but a lot of vector graphics used for computer monitors and a interactive game in a hobby room really pop out on here with another bang up remastering job by Paramount for the BluRay.

There are a few pivotal drawbacks though that drop this film down a couple notches for me. The first thing is more of a nitpick, but I am done with the Chekov character. The guy just walks around looking all pouty and depressed in every scene he is in, will someone just give the guy a sandwich and kick his ass off the Enterprise already? Onto more pressing concerns I have, one of which is that the antagonists here are nowhere near the same level as Kahn. Christopher Lloyd does a fine job as Kruge, but I am just not feeling him as this big rival to give Kirk a run for his money like Kahn did and he comes off more like a villain of the week on a TV series than an ultimate motion picture adversary. He is apparently treated just as much, as it seems the Enterprise takes little effort to make waste of him and his crew. The final battle on Genesis between Kruge and Kirk is pretty laughable as it is atrociously choreographed. I don't know, maybe this passed for 1984 standards, but them attempting fisticuffs was a pretty sad sight for the eyes in the history of cinema. Even with the weak final act, I thought they manage to repair some damage with the film's epilogue when Spock is returned to Vulcan to be reunited with his essence. I thought it was a pretty well done scene to show all is well again in Trek universe.

Just like The Wrath of Kahn, The Search for Spock is loaded with extras. A bunch of old extras return, with a commentary track by Leonard Nimoy, Charles Correll and Robin Curtis and nearly two hours of behind the scenes features. I watched them all so you do not have to. The ones going out of your way to see are a pair of 25 minute features with Captain's Log doing a detailed and worthwhile look at what it took to get this sequel made from start to finish. The other one is about terraforming, and relating the Genesis technology in the film into what if scenarios if we were to terraform Mars. There are two painfully dull and long features on the various ship models used for Star Trek films, and another on how they crafted the Klingon language for this film. At one point I briefly fell asleep during these features, and I could not help but get the feeling that only devout, hardcore Trek fans would get something out of them.

There is a new commentary track for the BluRay featuring Ronald Moore and Michnel Taylor, along with 40 minutes of new HD behind the scenes features. One is yet another throwaway Starfleet Academy segment summing up the plot for the film and another is a short interview with Stephen Manley, who briefly portrays Spock in this film. There is an interesting special effects feature here all about how the crew were able to pull off the special effects they were capable of at the time without the assistance of computers. I also dug the interview with writer of the film, Harve Bennett, as he tours the SciFi Museum Hall of Fame as he remembers old Star Trek props and has some humorous anecdotes from the Moscow premiere to share.

I know this is the second act of a three part trilogy in the films, with the next movie, The Voyage Home wrapping this arc up. Unlike The Wrath of Kahn however, I never got the feeling of any dangling plot threads as this had a pretty feel good, conclusive ending. We shall see however when I cover that film next month, as I hear it is a big step up from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. I may have harped on it a bit here, but I still quite enjoyed the film, and would easily recommend watching Star Trek II and III back to back any day of the week.

Star Trek Film Ratings

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 6/10
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn - 10/10
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - 8/10

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wrestlemania XXVIII

Finally....the Dale gets to blog about the Wrestlemania he attended in person two years ago, Wrestlemania XXVIII(WM28)! Let us flashback to one year prior on the RAW after Wrestlemania XXVII where they announced Rock would be coming out of his eight year retirement from pro wrestling (let us forget about his forgettable Survivor Series tag team match a few months prior, what a waste!) to face the most polarizing main eventer in WWE history, John Cena. Moments after they made that announcement, I told myself I had to be there for this historic match and over the next several months made all the proper travel plans with my fellow wrestling fanatic, Alex to make the trek down to Miami to witness my first ever Wrestlemania in person! As you can see in enclosed photo below by the looks on both of us doing the trademark pointing Wrestlemania pose, we were ecstatic to be there!

For the last several years I had a tradition of watching the previous year's Wrestlemania within a week or two of the next week one transpiring, but I got lazy last year and never got around to watching the home video release of WM28 last year. I was behind two 'Manias just a few weeks before Wrestlemania XXX, which is unacceptable! Over the last few days I watched both discs of the WM28 BluRay, which featured the three hour Hall of Fame ceremony that took place the day prior and the four hour WM28 card itself, along with about another hour of extra features. That is about eight hours in three days I crammed in! I would like to try and cram in even more and get to WM29 before WM30 happens in a couple weeks, so I may do two wrestling blogs in a row to get my tradition back on track. Enough prefacing, let us begin covering the home video release of WM28!

The first disc is the Hall of Fame ceremony. I am a sucker for the WWE Hall of Fame each year. For the past decade it has been about a three hour ceremony the day before Wrestlemania. They only air an abbreviated one hour version on television a couple days afterwards, so I usually hold out to watch it until they release the full version that is included with the home video release of Wrestlemania. Since I was there in person for the 2012 edition, it was not my first time seeing it as a whole, but that did not making it any less awesome to relive. There are a lot of good to great induction and acceptance speeches this year than before. JBL steals the show with a nonstop, charismatic induction of his longtime APA tag team partner Ron Simmons. Ron follows it up with quite the acceptance speech, damning us into astonishment...sorry.

DX does their routine comedy act to induct Mike Tyson into the....a....celebrity wing, of the hall of fame, who goes on rambling all types of crazy for several minutes before he abruptly cuts himself off and dashes away to the amusement of the crowd! The current tag team champs the Usos, gave a fitting induction to their uncle, the late Yokozuna ("he's Japanese!"), who Rikishi accepted on his behalf. Christian and Edge were the main event inductee/acceptance speech combo of the night, and both did a hell of a job celebrating the career of the Rated R Superstar. Only disappointing speeches were Mil Miscares who did not have a whole lot to say, and I was a little disappointed seeing Barry Windham be so soft spoken in his acceptance speech when the rest of the Four Horsemen were quite the opposite.

There were a few highlight reel clips and RAW moments as extra features on the Hall of Fame and WM28 discs. A few of them are worth watching again to get familiar with the feuds, but absolutely not necessary as they show enough mini-montages of past moments during WM28 itself to catch you up on most of the storylines. They do include the WM28 preshow match as an extra feature, where Primo & Epico successfully defended their tag titles in a triple threat match against Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd and The Usos. Unfortunately as with most triple threat matches this one was kind of a mess, though there were a few entertaining spots throughout it.

Onto the main WM28 card itself. It opened with Daniel Bryan losing his World Title in 19 seconds to Sheamus. I remember taking a couple photos when the bell rang and as I sat down Sheamus dropped Bryan, perennial crowd favorite to this day, with a big boot for the sudden three count! This pissed me off for about a good hour and the crowd proceeded with the first ever "Yes" chants that really caught on in WWE television for about a good half hour afterwards in rebellion. I still remember being livid at this, and remember walking back to the hotel and passing by a fan in a Bryan shirt just despondently shaking his head. Booo on WWE screwing Daniel Bryan at Mania two years in a row. At WM27 his match, also against Sheamus, got bumped to the preshow and turned into a battle royal halfway through, and then this the next year! I sure hope he gets the Wrestlemania moment he deserves in a few weeks and walks out of WM30 WWE champion!

I am going to try and blitz through the undercard before I ramble on forever on the feature matches. In a surprise outcome of the night, Kane got a rare Wrestlemania win against present day WWE champion, Randy Orton in a decent match that actually had the crowd into it by the end. Big Show won the Intercontinental Title from Cody Rhodes in a decent, but not great outing, but as the announcers hyped up, it was great to finally see Big Show have a mania moment of his own. Kelly Kelly & special guest from E network, Maria Menounos defeated Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres in a tag match that was far better than I remember last time....I miss Kelly Kelly, wait a second, none of these three then full time WWE Divas are no longer on the roster!

Another match that was better on the second viewing was the obligatory fit 10-15 guys in a match so everyone can get a Wrestlemania payday match. This was the battle for one GM of RAW and Smackdown with Booker T, Great Khali, R-Truth, Santino Marella, Kofi Kingston & Zach Ryder representing Teddy Long (I miss you making awesome tag team matches Teddy!), and Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, David Otunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler & The Miz representing John Lauranitis where team Johnny emerged victorious. This resulted in a sinister half year or so reign of "People Power" on RAW and Smackdown...yeah, I do not miss Johnny one bit.

That GM supremacy match was a nice way to catch my breath as it took place after the Hell in a Cell, "End of an Era" match between Triple H and Undertaker, with special guest ref Shawn Michaels. If you know your Wrestlemania history, you then know the significance of "The Streak," THE most important streak in all of sports where Undertaker is undefeated in Wrestlemania matches, currently at a jaw dropping 21-0! At WM27, Undertaker defeated Triple H....just barely though as he had to give it his all and be carted off to the back afterwards. The two 'Manias before that, he bested Shawn Michaels in two legendary matches, forcing him into retirement on beating him a second time. This time, all three bonafide stars played key roles in this match that stole the show in easily one of the best matches I have ever seen. The three played off the history between each other well, and this is one of the few times where a guest ref actually played a relevant and key role in the match. There are too many near falls that had the crowd electric and on its feet for nearly the entire bout. I only remember too well one fan freaking out behind me, "I can't feel my neck, I can't feel my legs!" after yet another close finish in the match. I was standing up throughout the whole thing as I took it in again. 'Taker and Hunter laid it all on the line, and delivered an instant classic for the ages!

CM Punk was in the midst of his 400+ day WWE Title reign at this time as he successfully defended against Chris Jericho. It is too bad this had to follow Hell in a Cell, as while this was a pretty good title match all together, it started off stuck in first gear for a little too long. It also did not help that the new GM threw in this stupid last minute stipulation where if CM Punk got himself DQ'd he would lose the title, so for the first half of the match we saw Jericho egging Punk on to get disqualified. Once they got past that stupid gimmick, the two got on with a good Mania-calibur title match, it is just too bad it had a lackluster first half.

Machine Gun Kelly and Flo Rida did special performances and sang their hit songs at the time to introduce The Rock and Cena for their main event. This did not go over well with the crowd. I am not a fan usually of them bringing in guest musical acts at Wrestlemania because fans come in from the world over for that show, and they have quite a diverse taste in music, which results in a crowd not really being into the current hip hop scene of music. I recall the crowd being respectfully....tolerant of Machine Gun Kelly with mild applause throughout his act until afterwards he gave a little speech about Cena saying how he is the best underdog in the business, when he is actually the exact opposite, which resulted in the crowd instantly shitting on Kelly and not giving anything to Flo Rida afterwards. I got a little kick reliving that moment on video.

Now onto the main event, the billed, "Once in a Lifetime" (only to happen again the very next year!) bout between John Cena and The Rock. Watching it again I remember the crowd being jacked at the match that was finally about to take place, and we were really into it for the first couple of minutes until we realized The Rock laid the smacketh down on his lungs and did not show up in any sort of cardio shape at all as he was breathing hard the entire match. Every few minutes Cena would grab a hold, or there would be some type of double KO spot to allow The Great One to catch his breath. I would say the match started off about 70/30 for The Rock but towards the end I want to say Cena won the crowd over by simply showing up ready to go and had about 40 to 45% of the crowd on his side until things picked up in the final minutes. It was getting pretty sad to see, and I give props to the announcers who usually tout the company line for actually recognizing The Rock showing up not in ring shape. The crowd was surprisingly tolerant of The Rock and did not boo him for his subpar performance, most likely because we all wanted to see Cena lose so badly and avenge the crapshoot that happened to Daniel Bryan. Thankfully, the two brought their A game for the final minutes as the action and near falls picked up in intensity, and the crowd absolutely lost it when Rock slammed Cena down with a Rock Bottom to walk out of WM28 victorious!

Even with The Rock's shortcomings in this match, this was still a thrill to watch again with all the hype surrounding it and to finally see Cena lose in a Wrestlemania main event. Another nice touch to the show overall was day progressing into night by halfway into the show, and once it was nightfall it provided a fantastic backdrop to the action; and it was only too fitting to have Hell in a Cell transpire in darkness! Hell in a Cell is easily the match of the show, and Rock/Cena is still well worth seeing for the sheer spectacle of it all. This was also probably one of the stronger Hall of Fame ceremonies from start to finish. Easy recommendation to add Wrestlemania XXVIII to your collection, or now instantly stream on the WWE Network! Speaking of the WWE Network, I may try and do monthly recaps of what I have been checking out on there as there is just so much content to consume so be on the lookout! Ok, my near 2200 words of doom are over, peace out!

Monday, March 3, 2014


I have owned this next movie I am covering for nearly a decade, and it is a sin it took me this long to get to it. I am using the excuse of the new NASCAR season kicking off last week to get to my blog on the ESPN original TV movie, 2004's biopic of Dale Earnhardt, 3. Now I scoured YouTube for a trailer to link to you, but for whatever reason can only find many links to only the film in its entirety off YouTube. I imagine ESPN is pretty laid back in this scenario as far as fair use rights go because this YouTube link to the entire film has been up for over three years now, which is remarkable because of how YouTube has been laying the hammer down on pulling content off with copyright claims lately. So if you have yet to see this old ESPN original film, make sure to check this one out off that link while you can and to avoid the other ESPN made film, Charlie Hustle at all costs because that one was pure crap.

I was actually really trepid going into 3 because of how awful Charlie Hustle was, and especially considering they were covering 40 years of Dale Earnhardt's life from 1961 until 2001 in just over 90 minutes. ESPN Entertainment got their shit together though and redeemed themselves big time. Full disclosure though, I am not a huge NASCAR fan, but am a big Dale Earnhardt fan, and yes it is because we both share the same first name and young naive seven or eight year old me that consumed almost all sports on television at that time discovered Dale Earnhardt first before that other driver, Dale Jarrett. His car also looked badass too. I still regret throwing out an old commemorative Dale Earnhardt box of Corn Flakes just a couple years before his death because the box was starting to get discolored.

Anyways I digress from my Earnhardt fanboyism. ESPN actually locked in some known talent for a TV film. Barry Pepper is the Intimidator himself, Dale Earnhardt, while JK Simmons plays his dad Ralph Earnhardt. A pre-Lost and Revolution, Elizabeth Mitchell plays Dale's wife, Teresa Earnhardt. Finally Sean Bridgers plays best friend and NASCAR colleague, Neil Bonnett. The main cast did a tremendous job with their performances. Simmons is outstanding as the hard working father busting his tail to make ends meet, Mitchell is as lovely and great as she tends to be and Pepper does a commendable job at looking and playing the part of Dale for the last 30 years of his life.

While I am a big Earnhardt fan, I do not know his life to a T so I cannot attest to how well this film covers his life, and when you only have 90 minutes to work with you can only address so much ground. The first act went appropriate enough showcasing Ralph being the local dirt track legend and Dale being the rebel son trying to follow in his footsteps. It jumps around pretty fast until Ralph's untimely death. It also goes pretty quick covering Dale's love life as it seems within 15 minutes Dale's first two love interests have come and gone (along with being introduced to his first three children) before he winds up with Teresa.

Again, I cannot swear by what pivotal moments of Dale's career and personal life 3 covered accurately, but the pacing felt fine all things considered.
I will tip my hat to ESPN for doing a fine job at getting a comfortable pace bouncing between Dale's fast lane love life and fast rise up the ranks in his career. In a brisk pace, Dale goes from local dirt track sensation to becoming the 1979 NASCAR rookie of the year and developing his win at any cost tactics on the track that earned him the nickname, "The Intimidator." I do recall Dale's early NASCAR success in the number 2 car, and the film did a good job at making the impact come across of him switching teams to the vintage number 3 Goodwrench car he became known for.

I can only imagine how tough it must have been for ESPN to choose which parts of his career to cover in the film, but I never got the impression they missed anything major and I liked the moments they dedicated the last act of the film too, which cover him coping with the lost of Neil Bonnett, his 1998 Daytona 500 win and reconnecting with his children and grooming Dale Jr. for his NASCAR career. There is a very well produced scene where the father and son have a heart to heart talk over a beer and campfire before that fateful 2001 Daytona 500 race, where Sr. recommends Jr. where the new safety harness NASCAR introduced before Dale's death made it mandatory the following season. Major props for the film's final moment on how they touch on his death, and find a great way at the same time to honor his life. As short as the wreck was that ended him, as is that scene, and it got me all choked up viewing it again just like it did a decade prior.

This two disc set is loaded with extras, like five hours worth! The first disc has the feature and two making of features combining for just over an hour. The first is on the making of the movie and it does a fine job detailing what ESPN did to get this movie made. The other documentary is a career retrospective on Dale Earnhardt. The second disc is four hours of Dale Earnhardt archives from ESPN, featuring an hour of interviews, two hours of highlights from four races, and an hour of him as a guest on two other ESPN shows. I managed to watch them all, the interviews are all from the 90s and cover a wide variety of topics, and I really dug the race highlights, with the final laps of the 1999 Bush 500 at Bristol and his first road win in 1995 at Sears Point especially standing out.

I imagine at some point in our lifetime, we will get a big budget, three hour-ish theatrical biopic of Dale Earnhardt's career that will kick all kinds of ass, but in the meantime I will gladly take ESPN's 3 as the de-facto biopic of Dale Earnhardt.