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Askew Review 15

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CRAZY LEGS CONTI: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating (Blue Underground) 2004. 72 minutes. Documentary. Not rated.    Begun by Max Rosen and passed to the new duo in charge of the International Federation Of Competitive Eating, George and Rich Shae, eating contests have been around for quite sometime. The coveted and most difficult championship is held yearly on the Fourth of July at Nathan’s on Coney Island, New York, and not only does Crazy Legs tells us how he got into the game as just an observer and great fan, he gives us a rundown of every bit of information related to the sport and manages to do it with a slight tongue in cheek and a heap of humor. Soon after becoming a player, he was inhaling 34 dozen oysters (still the national best) and joined the I.F.O.C.E. traveling the country and beyond eating his way into fame. Though jumping from several jobs including a window washer and a sperm donor, Jason finally settled on delving into the circuit full time.
  Fortunately I love eating, and, as it turns out, I enjoy watching people gorge themselves for prizes. So, as luck would have it, I watched and thoroughly enjoyed Jason Conti’s Tribeca, Los Angeles, and Silverdoc’s film festivals Official Selection documentary, ZEN and the ART of Competitive Eating. Though I don’t normally find it too thrilling to sit through a documentary in any form, this one kept me interested from beginning through bonus features (many showing removed footage and a few about the documentary itself). Watching many of the competitors munch their way through whatever food they are devouring is just utterly amazing, and you will see a lot. Crazy Legs is the kind of guy we’d all love to hang out with, not even withstanding the fact that he sounds remarkably like Howard Stern. Anyway, check it out and enjoy the lighter side of a sport that has truly come into its own. You may never look at a hot dog the same way again. - Stew Miller



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