USA | 77 MINUTES
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE HUNGRY
Documentary, Food, Sports
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.