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Word Wars
     

Word Wars

4.0 1
 
The directorial debut of filmmakers Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo, Word Wars: Tiles and Tribulations on the Scrabble Circuit is a humorous documentary look at the culture surrounding the National Scrabble Tournament. Focusing on four players in particular, the film details the intense competitions that lead up to the finals in San Diego, where each of the

Overview

The directorial debut of filmmakers Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo, Word Wars: Tiles and Tribulations on the Scrabble Circuit is a humorous documentary look at the culture surrounding the National Scrabble Tournament. Focusing on four players in particular, the film details the intense competitions that lead up to the finals in San Diego, where each of the competitors hopes to take home the 25,000-dollar prize. Premiering at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, Word Wars screened as part of the documentary competition.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
An involving but not always illuminating window into the world of competitive Scrabble, Word Wars joins the documentary niche shared by Spellbound and a handful of earlier Scrabble-themed films. Like Spellbound, it's more interested in the idiosyncrasies of its characters than in showcasing the training regimens that elevated them to dominance. The problem is, the characters aren't over-the-top quirky, just shy of the type you'd find in a Christopher Guest mockumentary, which would allow them to carry the movie no matter what its topic. They have colorful nicknames like "G.I. Joel" (Joel Sherman), so named for his frequent gastro-intestinal problems, but they're mostly just intensely focused individuals who blend into the woodwork. Consequently, the Scrabble itself needs to pop off the screen and find a deeper thematic resonance for the casual, non-initiated viewer. Filmmakers Julian Petrillo and Eric Chaikin attempt to visualize and dramatize what's at stake by showing simulated racks of letters onscreen, then shuffling the letters in the air to demonstrate other potential plays and point values. But there's nothing to approximate the performative drama of a child straining to spell an ungainly word, which gave Spellbound a more edge-of-your-seat urgency. Word Wars is a useful enough but ultimately rather average documentary, the kind that closely follows the time-honored "countdown to the event" format. Scrabble-philes should find the tournament esoterica interesting, but the average viewer won't grasp the beauty of the game any better than he or she did before.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/05/2005
UPC:
0013131302899
Original Release:
2004
Rating:
NR
Source:
Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:21:00

Special Features

Full frame presentation (1.33:1); Bonus footage; Other featuredocs ; trailers

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. The Grandmasters (Main Titles) [4:45]
2. Las Vegas [5:18]
3. Marlon Hill and Joe Edley [4:50]
4. Language vs. the Word [4:02]
5. Washington Square Park [4:15]
6. The Marathon [8:10]
7. Humble Beginnings [4:40]
8. Stamford [7:36]
9. Dictionary Dilemma [2:10]
10. School Scrabble Program [2:42]
11. Rematch at Washington Square [4:58]
12. San Diego and The Nationals [5:10]
13. Day Two [3:46]
14. The Tension Builds [5:32]
15. Championship Match [11:32]
16. End Credits [1:01]

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Word Wars 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago