Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Square Fillers: War vs. Play

Sometimes I'm wrong.
In my summer movie preview I included the movie Warplay as one of the vomit-enducing films of summer.
My reason for not being excited about Wordplay was because: "After I saw Word Wars the documentary about crazy scrabble obsessed people, I'm afraid to see a documentary so soon about Crossword Puzzles."

But yet as I said, I was wrong.

The other night we went and saw the film with some friends, and I found Wordplay to be a very enjoyable documentary.

After seeing Word Wars I did a post about documentaries. I said: "A documentary is valuable if it tells an important story, one your very interested in, or one that connects to you in a way that helps you understand the world."

To me, Word Wars failed at that, because it was far more bizarre than intriguing and told an odd story of some unique people that gave up everything to try to be Scrabble masters.

Wordplay (the crossword documentary) was different in this way. While some of the characters in this film are a little bizarre and incredibly dorky it paints a behind the scenes picture of how crossword puzzles are made and chosen. The players who compete while wierd, still are more relatable, just a little obsessed, but you can see how they are roped into the crossword puzzle culture.

Also, the documentary Wordplay paints a wider picture of crossword puzzles by showing how pop-culture and political icons like Jon Steward, Bill Clinton, and the Indigo Girls have slight obsessions with crossword puzzles. These interviews help the legitimize the film.

In addition, director Patrick Creadon the director and cinemotographer for Wordplay did a great job using graphics and interesting production techniques to tell the story and bring the viewer into the crossword puzzle word, connecting them to a small black and white checkered puzzle.


Jordan M. Poss said...

I'm really interested in seeing Wordplay, mainly because I'm one of those mildy-obsessed crossword geeks. Unfortunately, none of the theatres near where I live get anything but your typical summer lowbrow fare. Oh well--there's always DVD.

Kimberly Ann said...

I loved this movie! I especially loved the geeky Elaine (?) from NYC who attempted batton twirling in Central Park and had this to say about being the Crossword Chamption of the world: "So I had a boyfriend once... (pause) "and um, he would give me a hard time about doing crossword puzzles. And I asked him, "Why are you bothering me? What are you best in the world at?" Loved it!!!!!!

JW said...

I liked this movie (I have a review on my site somewhere, heh). However, the one thing I didn't like how the movie was rather condescending towards the one woman who had won previously. The one Kimberly Ann mentions.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so open about the movie. Yes it's true, a crossword movie can be fun.

I didn't feel condescended to. That's just me in all my natural awkwardness.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. . . I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and must admit I thought Ellen was refreshing and engaging (as I actually did most of the characters) . . .someone who was open and comfortable with her strengths and not obsessed with trying to be superficial or meeting someone else's view of what she should like . . .or be. It actually presented a view of real people who not only cared about an intellectual pursuit--but who had formed a "community" where they cared about each other. I would definitely like to see more movies (and characters!) like these!!