Seeking help from a financial advisor doesn’t always work, either. “You think there are sharps in the hood, the gangbangers and the drug dealers,” warns one player. “You ain’t seen nothing until you step into some of these white collar criminals.” NFL quarterback Michael Vick hired one advisor who was soon jailed for running a Ponzi scheme out of her home; her replacement somehow began acquiring Vick’s cars and jewelry.
The saddest moments in Broke describe the way players’ friends and families prey on them. One player recalls a teammate who got a bill for $25,000 from his own mother, her fee for raising him. And there’s a distant but unmistakably heartbroken look in the eyes of Bernie Kosar, the University of Miami quarterback who went on to NFL success, as he recalls that his 2009 bankruptcy was “a blessing in disguise” that finally removed the dozens of relatives who had attached themselves to him like swollen leeches.
“When people don’t think you have money, they don’t call you as much,” Kosar says softly. “Family included.”
In Broke, Corben once again displays his astounding narrative skills, weaving a complex tapestry of facts, numbers and anecdotes from dozens of interviews and a mountain of archival footage. Not to be found among the latter: anything from the see-no-evil NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, who can’t imagine why anybody thinks there’s a problem here.
Similar problems might have been expected to ground Airport 24/7: Miami long before takeoff, but producer Jeff Sloan, a longtime aviation nut, got a dumbfounding amount of cooperation not only from the airport but the tangled thicket of federal agencies that operate there. From the lost-and-found department to the security control room, practically everything at the airport was open to Airport 24/7’s cameras.
The result is an eclectic, electric peek into a “mini-city on steroids” with 36,000 employees that hosts 38 million passengers a year, while handling 800 flights and 115,000 bags a day. From the difficulties parking and unloading an A380 Airbus — 50 tons and wider than a soccer field — to the logistics of helping stage a surprise marriage proposal by a soldier returning from Afghanistan — Airport 24/7’s stories never lose their snap.
They may even lessen your irritation the next time you’re standing in one of those endless airport security lines. Seeing a collection of the stuff that TSA agents have taken away from boarding passengers is a stupefying experience: Knives. Guns. Crossbows. A power saw. A mace (not the tear-gas spray, but a giant spiked iron ball on a chain). Even a hand grenade. “Of course, everybody needs to bring a grenade to the airport,” shrugs Lauren Stover, the wisecracking director of security.
The droll Stover quickly establishes herself as one of the show’s stars. Another is ramp manager Albert Cordeshi, who cheerfully brings the cameras along on what he calls Poop Service, the emptying of jumbo-jet toilets. “I just got up right now and I already smell it,” Cordeshi narrates with a Jacques Costeau-like sense of wonder as he stands atop a ladder, thrusting his face into the drain. “And I’m already like, ‘Arrrrrrgh!’ ” By the way, Cordeshi says, incoming Miami passengers produce truly majestic defecatory items — “ Huge, bro!” Has anybody called the Chamber of Commerce?