MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami football team may have played their last regular season game over a week ago but the school, the team and its history were front and center on Thursday night at The Colony theatre in Miami Beach.
Filmmaker Billy Corben welcomed several former Hurricanes’ players and coaches to the premiere of his sequel to 2009’s ESPN 30 for 30 film The U, aptly titled The U Part 2.
“The U Part 2 picks up where the first one left off, so right about ’92,” said Corben. “This move bookends with NCAA investigations. It starts with the pay for play scandal with Uncle Luke, you have the drug testing cover-up scandal, you have the Pell Grant scandal and then it goes all the way to two weeks ago. The movie ends at the end of the 2014 regular season.”
Hurricanes fans packed The Colony theatre and re-lived both great and not-so-great memories that encompassed the last two decades of University of Miami football.
“That was always the plan,” said Corben. “It was gonna be another rise and fall arc, which is what the first movie was. Nothing is more indicative I think of the rise and fall of this program then unfortunately this past season.”
The film features interviews with former Hurricanes coaches Butch Davis and Larry Coker and former players such as Jonathan Vilma, Santana Moss, Greg Olsen, Jeremy Shockey, Kenny Phillips, Najeh Davenport, Phillip Buchanon and many more.
Among those in attendance was Coach Davis, who received several warm receptions from the fans at the theatre, some of which were calling for his return to the Hurricanes sideline.
“Obviously I thought it was fabulous,” said Davis with a smile. “It was an honor to be a part of it and more than that it was an honor to be a part of this university. I’ve told people before that the greatest years of my life, and everything I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish, all got its roots right here at the University of Miami.”
Also attending the premiere was former Canes linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who was a key part in several of the storylines covered in the film.
“I thought Billy did a tremendous job,” said Vilma. “I think he did a very good job keeping it unbiased and it was really about the players perspective, and he also got the perspective of the media and it was great to see that contrast of how we thought and perceived ourselves, how we acted and tried to conduct ourselves, and then you hear the other side and the perspective of the media where they’re quick to write us off or bring us back to what’s familiar to everyone which was the bad boy image, even when we’re trying to do right.”
Vilma was appreciative to the film’s ability to allow the people who were involved in all the scandals and unfortunate events that transpired around the Hurricanes football team to provide their firsthand accounts of what happened while still keeping everything at an even keel.
“For better or worse we got in trouble, whether it was malicious or some things we had no control over, like a Nevin Shapiro,” Vilma explained. “We had no idea he was doing a $930 million Ponzi scheme. It was great to see that Billy Corben was able to really capture and encompass the last 15 years from every angle and keep it about as unbiased as possible.”
The U Part 2 received a standing ovation, as did all the former Canes in attendance. Following the conclusion of the film, Corben brought all the past Hurricanes down to the stage.
Corben was introduced to the crowd by Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine. Before getting the film rolling, Corben took a moment to make light of one of the more distressing moments in Hurricanes football history.
He made the referee signal for an incomplete pass, looked at his watch and took a long look around the theatre before pulling out a yellow flag and tossing it across the stage. He was doing his best Terry Porter impression from the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
Corben also took a shot at LeBron James while poking fun at Coach Davis.
“What kind of [person] would leave Miami to go to Cleveland??” he jokingly asked.
The U Part 2 will air Saturday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN, following the 2014 Heisman Trophy presentation.
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