At surface level, you’d think anything documenting the Eagles’ Super Bowl season would be worth your time and money, and that rings true for Maybe Next Year, the recently-released film that follows four Eagles fans throughout the 2017 championship campaign.
There’s Barry Vagnoni of Berks County, who, instead of retiring to Florida, used his life savings to build an addition to his home that now serves as an Eagles sports bar, complete with five televisions and seating for guests. There’s Jesse Callsen, who faces the challenges of dealing with his dad’s cancer while raising an autistic son. Also documented is Bryant Moreland, aka EatDatPussy445, whom you probably already know from his famous, profanity-laced Youtube videos.
And finally there’s Shirley Dash, aka “Eagles Shirley” of 94 WIP fame, and let’s address the elephant in the room right away:
Yes, we have been critical of Eagles Shirley on this website. She was ranked #3 overall on our top ten list of the worst sports radio callers in Philadelphia, mostly due to the fact that her phone calls go off the rails as her excitement and passion fails to “flourish” in a radio format.
But this is a much more intimate and in-depth look at Shirley Dash, and Maybe Next Year takes us inside her home and into the workplace. We get to see her teaching the game of football inside a North Philadelphia church, her students comprised of women who don’t totally understand the rules and find frustration in the fact that their husbands ignore them during the NFL season. There’s a scene where family and friends surprise Shirley during her birthday and you get to see a personal side of her that goes much deeper than casual radio interactions with a carnival barker.
Eagles Shirley, in ‘Maybe Next Year’
Barry’s story is told equally well, and the film features absolutely outstanding footage of his “Eagles locker room,” which is like a man cave on the world’s-best steroids. It’s a decorated wall to wall with Birds gear and we get to watch him host games while wearing his typical Sunday attire – an Eagles jersey with shoulder pads, receiver gloves, eye black, a fuzzy green and white hat, and a wireless microphone hookup that allows him to talk over public address, as if he was Ted Nugent performing for a crowd of 25,000 in Detroit.
Callsen’s tale was perhaps the most interesting. This is the traditional “blue collar” Eagles fan story and some of the moments with his ailing father and autistic son are among the more intriguing portions of the documentary.
We also get a healthy dose of Moreland’s videos, which feature a lot of cuss words and temper tantrums. There’s a lot of him screaming at the camera.
“My anger comes from a lot of things. The Eagles sucking ass. Me not having a girlfriend,” he says in a pretty candid and vulnerable moment.
Later in the film, you see a softer side of Moreland, which balances out the aggressive and somewhat juvenile tirades.
It’s a very simple film, but it’s well done. Produced by Wavelength Productions in association with Bow + Arrow Entertainment, it was directed by Drexel University graduate Kyle Thrash, who does an admirable job capturing the spirit of the region with some beautiful and raw footage. Jackson Greenberg’s musical score really sets the backdrop for a lot of these gritty and organic sequences.
Some of the scenes are incredibly accurate and on-point, for example, a guy puking in the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot before another dude almost blows his hand off with a firework.
“A little bit of peroxide, a little bit of vodka, and we’re fucking good,” says the somewhat hapless victim while grabbing his hand and trying to play it off.
The opening shot, which shows a panhandler saying “Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love,” as first responders load a a random guy onto a stretcher, really sets the tone for the entire film. It really does capture the grimy and coarse nature of the city.
Some other random takeaways from the documentary:
- The brief shots throughout the region are great. Diaz Flat Fix in Kensington, Alina’s Place, Top Shelf Lounge – these are really random and cool choices.
- There’s a great mix of different voices. You hear John Clark, Jim Gardner, Don Bell, Pat Gallen, Natasha Brown, Jamie Apody, and some other sports and news personalities. It’s not just Angelo Cataldi or Mike Missanelli the entire time. That was important, I think, because sports fandom in this city goes well beyond the two radio stations, and sometimes in these documentaries the producers use 94 WIP as a crutch (see: All or Nothing).
- There’s one scene with douchebags flipping off and taunting a Falcons fan for no reason. Of course there’s a loser section of the fan base that does dumb shit like this and makes us look bad. This angers me.
- The film skips through a lot of the regular season and spends more time with the Super Bowl and playoffs, which is obviously most important, but it was a little odd to see them rip through the middle of the campaign and you look up at the screen and all of a sudden the Eagles are 7-1.
Overall, really nice job by everybody involved. It was nicely done, and it’s worth watching if you’re an Eagles fan. Rent the film for $3.99 or buy it for $9.99 on whatever service you like to use. You can also purchase it on DVD and Blu-Ray.