What makes a Buffalo wing perfect? A few years back, filmmaker Matt Reynolds enlisted the help of an eccentric crew of merry men, his then-girlfriend Lucie Mayerova, and a camera crew in order to find out.
The result: “The Great Chicken Wing Hunt,” a documentary that has since picked up a dozen festival awards and will make its cinema debut Tuesday, January 14th. In the coming weeks, the film will screen in New York City, Austin, Texas, and a handful of other cities.
"I felt like once we committed to doing it, it was just going to be this silly joke if we didn’t take it seriously," Reynolds tells us. "So we really had to dive in and go to nine or 10 places a day."
That’s 10 places daily for two weeks straight. Talk about grueling.
Over the course of the film, the group’s enthusiasm for Buffalo wings wanes. (Wouldn’t yours?) Reynold’s relationship with Mayerova is tested. By the end, everyone is cranky. But there’s a happy conclusion: they locate the best Buffalo wing in the country. Spoiler: it’s not in Buffalo.
After an experience like that, can Reynolds even eat Buffalo wings without gagging? ”I was kind of sick of them for a brief period of time, but I got over that pretty quickly,” Reynolds says. But the trip still took a toll. “For a while afterwards I was feeling kind of sluggish—for weeks afterwards.”
We feel sluggish just thinking about it. That said, the Buffalo wings featured in the film do look delicious.
Reynolds has since married his girlfriend, but (as the film confesses) chicken wings were not invited to the wedding. “I don’t eat them as much as you might think,” he says. “But I still love them as much as you might think.”
The film’s debut comes at an auspicious time. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Buffalo wing, which Reynolds says took place on March 4, 1964.