Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating
Photos and Video
An eccentric New York window washer wants to be the Steve Prefontaine of competitive eating. If that sentence makes a kind of crackpot sense to you, then Crazy Legs Conti may be your personal The Sorrow and the Pity. The eponymous glutton also works part-time as a nude model and sperm donor, but neither of those pursuits quenches his appetite for glory like the prospect of scarfing down fistfuls of franks at the annual Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. So Crazy Legs takes to the road, first to New Orleans and later to Boston and Seattle, determined to win recognition from the International Federation of Competitive Eating and earn a seat on the Independence Day "Bus of Champions" alongside the likes of Ray "the Bison" Meduna and Eric "Badlands" Booker. These champion gorgers may be fatter and more experienced, but beneath Crazy Legs' slacker exterior beats the heart of a fierce competitor with a burning desire to achieve his personal best. This documentary takes us inside the world of its genial subject, who earnestly pursues his goals with support from bemused friends and relatives and an enviable Zen-like focus. See Crazy Legs "train" by chugging down raw oysters in his apartment. See him analyze videotape of his rivals in an effort to gain an edge on the competition. Above all, see the birth of a new American sports legend. In 20 years, when competitive eating has taken its rightful place as America's national pastime, you'll be glad you did.
Director's Statement Collapse
Competitive eating is a sport. It has all the intense drama and emotion that are innate in all athletic competitions. The players train and compete seriously, sacrificing time, effort and money, and their desire for victory is great. Competitive eating also has a comedic side and those that are involved understand both the serious and lighter side of the game. Crazy Legs' positive attitude and passion for competitive eating inspired us to document his experiences. Crazy Legs' determination as he trained and battled to overcome obstacles during his journey from fan, to amateur, to professional eater allowed him to experience great things, meet unusual people, and push himself to his physical and mental limits. We were entertained, disgusted and moved while making this film and it is our hope that everyone who sees it will come away with a feeling that any goal, no matter how absurd or seemingly impossible, can be achieved if pursued with passion and confidence. We were able to finance and produce this documentary due to our connections with the New York independent film community and the generosity of many friends, family, and colleagues. Many thanks to all of you who have helped and motivated us along the way.
Film Information Collapse
[CRAZY] | 2003 | 78 | Documentary Feature
Foreign Title: (Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating)
About the Director(s)Collapse
Danielle Franco was born in 1977 and grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. She attended the University of Michigan where she wrote and directed Louise, which won the Best Film Award. In 1999, she moved to New York and worked on such features films as Brown Sugar (2002), Unfaithful (2002), and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004). She spent the summer of 2001 working in Francis Ford Coppola's development office. Most recently, Franco directed the short film The Rest, which was featured at the New York 2003 RIPFest. Chris Kenneally was born in 1970 and grew up in Marlborough, Connecticut. While living in Boston, he directed several short films, including Just Like Yo Momma and Dead End. In 1998, he moved to New York where he worked as a post-production supervisor on such films as You Can Count on Me (2000), Chinese Coffee (2000), Lift (2001), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), and Undefeated (2003), and produced ESPN's The Season: St. John's Basketball. Kenneally is the lead singer and guitarist for The Knobs and runs a musical showcase -- Doctor Jellyfinger's Paradise Jam -- every Tuesday night in New York's East Village.