Swallow Your Pride
Wikipedia defines Wing Bowl as “an annual eating contest founded in 1993 by Philadelphia talk-radio hosts Al Morganti and Angelo Cataldi as a celebration of gluttony.” You read that right: “a celebration of gluttony.” Every year, on the Friday before the Super Bowl, 30,000 Philadelphians gather to watch 30 eaters compete in an annual wing-eating competition, the largest eating contest on the planet. The contestants’ names range from El Wingador to Yao Wing to Hank the Tank. They are escorted into an arena by beautiful wingettes who wear only enough clothing to cover a small Chihuahua and are cheered on by a crowd that had been tailgating since the night before. Oh, and the festivities begin around 5am.
Swallow Your Pride follows 6 contestants, who qualify for Wing Bowl by completing an eating stunt for the radio station that hosts the event – from 20 hot dogs in under 5 minutes to 2 lbs of raw dolphin – on their road to Wing Bowl. However, for the audience that yearns for outrageous live-eating footage, be patient, because the film moves way deeper than covering fat people eating enough for a small country.
The film introduces you to 6 different contestants, their families, their friends and their neighbors. Among the 6 contestants we follow, El Wingador is the star. A 4-time Wing Bowl Champion, El Wingador is Philly’s own and when the International Federation of Competitive Eating starts entering their members, El Wingador becomes the hometown favorite. We watch him train, meet his family and in one his best scenes, we watch him show a cheering high school how he eats a wing. Among the other contestants are three members of the IFOCE, and as we learn about them, the film shows us their passion for competitive eating as well as the growth and history of competitive eating as an industry.
The film goes far beyond the party that is Wing Bowl (which does, however, take center stage in the last 30 minutes). It teaches you about an industry that you probably never knew existed and makes celebrities of 6 average people who have one thing in common: they can eat about 1 wing every 10 seconds for 30 minutes.
broadandpattison’s movie wing rating:
4 wings (out of 5)