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Friday, September 03, 2021

‘Once Upon a Time in Queens’ director Nick Davis surprised by candidness of the 1986 Mets

Unlike Oldman, Davis’ stars never have won an Academy Award for Best Actor, but they include no shortage of colorful characters, from a hilariously profane Lenny Dykstra to Keith Hernandez and his cat, Hadji.

It is a wild ride that recreates a wild era in New York, one Davis experienced as a Mets fan who was 21 at the time.

In “Once Upon a Time in Queens,” he gets to sit down with most of the key players of that era, a now-56-year-old speaking to peers who themselves are in late middle age.

It is that distance from the events of the 1980s that he believes makes this the ideal time to catch up with these guys, when they still are vibrant but far enough removed to have perspective.

“I think 10 years [after] is too early, because they’re still protecting their own images and protecting their reputations,” Davis said after a recent screening in Central Park of the first two episodes.

“These guys are all in their 50s or 60s. They’re letting it all hang out. Nobody was holding back. They were willing to tell me absolutely everything that went on – that they could remember.”

That remembering could be a challenge not only because of the passage of time, but because of the mental fog induced by some players’ regular use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

It all is documented in the film, including a reflective and remorseful Dwight Gooden, who recalls that when Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose in 1986, Gooden told his drug dealer that he wanted some of what Bias had used.

Davis believes Gooden had not told that story publicly before, but the director acknowledged his primary mission was not breaking new journalistic ground about a season that has been chronicled thoroughly.

“[Viewers] may know about the facts, but it’s never been told cinematically,” he said, later adding, “It is a chance to tell this sweeping, epic story, and hit people on an emotional level.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 03, 2021 at 12:59 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: 30 for 30, mets

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: September 05, 2021 at 09:18 AM (#6038358)
"Hilariously profane" is one way to describe someone who is barking-mad at this point.
   2. Adam Starblind Posted: September 05, 2021 at 11:12 AM (#6038364)
Speaking as a lifelong Mets fan, I am so sick of hearing about the ‘86 Mets.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 05, 2021 at 12:15 PM (#6038368)
The '86 Mets crushed Whiteyball's ####### little fleas for at least one year, and AFAIC that alone redeems them.
   4. CFBF is Obsessed with Art Deco Posted: September 05, 2021 at 05:06 PM (#6038390)
Aren't the 1986 New York Mets one of the most thoroughly documented teams in MLB history?
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: September 05, 2021 at 06:06 PM (#6038401)
that team was so remarkable that 7 of us flew (on People's Express !) from Newark to Chicago for a weekend of Mets-Cubs debauchery at Wrigley Field and beyond.

um, so did literally thousands of others from NY and NJ. it was amusing to see all the Mets blue in the stands in the very dawn of the era where it began to become practical for non-wealthy fans to make such a trip. I have told those stories, as well as the one where I lucked into a ticket for Game 7 of the World Series at Shea Stadium that year.

and yet.... well, I guess I'll watch this one.

but yeah, am not feeling as if there are many more rocks to be overturned on this front and at this point.
   6. John Northey Posted: September 05, 2021 at 09:22 PM (#6038436)
The big question I'd ask of many would be do they have any anger towards the druggies on the team who screwed their own careers and helped end what should've been a dynasty a lot quicker than it should've died. Also if they are annoyed at all about how their pitching coach pretty much forced Gooden to change after he had one of the best seasons of all time because a fastball based career can't last (while Nolan Ryan was still pitching and would for another decade, plus Randy Johnson was just about to emerge thus putting the lie to that theory). Those Mets could've been remembered for more than 1 season. Over a 7 year stretch the Mets were #2 5 times, twice #1 (86 and 88 when they were knocked out in the NLCS). In 1990 and 1991 the GM pulled the plug on managers part way into the season (90 when they were 2 games under with the amazing Davy Johnson running them, then his replacement got kicked out when the team was 6 under the next year). By 1996 they'd do those panic changes twice more, but only once since (2008).

I get why NY Mets fans would be obsessed with 1986 - it was their last WS title (twice there since but 2-8 in those). As a Jays fan I know I loved 1992/93 but moved on a long time ago.
   7. Lassus Posted: September 05, 2021 at 11:28 PM (#6038450)
I get why NY Mets fans would be obsessed with 1986 - it was their last WS title (twice there since but 2-8 in those). As a Jays fan I know I loved 1992/93 but moved on a long time ago.

If game 6 had been a normal victory there's half the attention of the last 35 years gone, poof. But that's not what happened.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 06, 2021 at 11:35 AM (#6038471)
Yeah, when you combine that game 6 finish with the Curse of the Bambino narrative, you've got a Series that will live on forever. In truth game 6 of the Cardinals - Rangers Series was every bit as dramatic, but there's no way that any rivalry between St. Louis and Arlington, Texas can ever compete for attention with the blood feud between New York and Boston.
   9. bobm Posted: September 06, 2021 at 12:48 PM (#6038474)
Candidness? How about candor?

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