One of America’s greatest accomplishments as a country is all due to a little Italian woman in Buffalo, New York in 1964. In a bind for time, bar owner Teressa Bellissimo created the chicken wing on a whim. What was originally thought to be scraps of a chicken is now a delicious cultural mainstay. Fifty years later, in the most American way possible, Matt Reynolds decided to make a film in search of the perfect chicken wing – The Great Chicken Wing Hunt.
In the documentary The Great Chicken Wing Hunt director Matt Reynolds gathers a group of oddball wing-lovers to help him search the Northeastern part of the U.S. for the best wing in the world. Like Nick Fury assembling the Avengers of wing judges, Reynolds leaves his prime journalism job at Reuters in Slovakia, and calls upon volunteers to join him on this crazy hunt. In fact, one of the judges is actually named Thor. Reynolds comes off as a great leader who genuinely cares about everyone around him, while at the same time getting his crew to continue to trudge on through more grease and hot sauce than a human being should consume.
Along with the previously mentioned crew of judges, Matt’s Slovakian girlfriend, and the zany Slovakian camera crew, Matt Reynolds rolls pretty deep. I’m not sure if that is his reasoning behind a “four wing” limit or if he’s simply trying to resist overindulging. I also think it’s an incredible feat to have such a large crew, and be able to come out the other end with such a great documentary. As much as Matt put on the line to film this movie, all of these people put their lives on hold for two weeks to do an insane amount of travelling and certain damage to their colons.
Being the wing lover that I am this movie made me salivate for wings, but there were times I sympathized with the crew’s wing exhaustion. I also would have never thought presentation matters when it comes to wings, but when the crew thought the wings were bad they looked the part. On the other hand, when they were a hit with the crew they looked just as delicious. Let’s just say I plan on making a trip to taste the wings of the contest winner at least once in my lifetime.
Not every documentary need to have a message or be about the most depressing subject you can possibly find, or even worse, make you depressed about something you love. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a message in The Great Chicken Wing Hunt and Reynolds kind of explains it at one point. He says that he feels that people in America just aren’t trying anymore. Here’s a man that left a great job, pursued something so off-the-wall-that-it-just-might-work all for something he loves and believes in. The chicken wing. Isn’t that the American dream? I swear I’m not getting sentimental. I just bit into a wing smothered in some “make-you-cry” hot sauce.
Matt Reynolds put together a thoroughly re-watchable documentary (available now on Hulu). It’s a great watch before a big game (hint, hint). Wings are always good. The amazing crazy crew that makes this whole thing so damn entertaining. If you come away from this not craving the winning wing, you are made up much differently than myself.
The loop de loop travelling seemed like a nightmare. The times when they made wings not look good.
Wings. Wings. Wings. Buffalo sauce. Blue cheese & celery. More wings.