Did you see Spellbound?

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 16, 2007 02:30am | Post a Comment
'Did I see? Why, what kind of trick is thi-?'

No, no ... I'm watching Wordplay on a Sunday, which means it's extra hard to watch today so if you're tired, wait until Monday ...  anyway, it reminded me of another documentary Spellbound, which I was also the last to see. I should call my movie blogs 'The Finally Founds' or perhaps more accurate would be something along the lines of 'No Attention-Span Theater'

As I was saying, Ladies and Gents, I present to you
Wordplay aka Word Play:

An incredible look at Crossword Puzzles, the folks who can do them faster than I can find a pencil - yes, pencil, and fascinatingly: how crosswords are made.

Especially this fella, goes by the name Will Shortz? Face it, when you think artificial heart, you think Jarvis-7 and Barney Clark. Snap. (Some argue the order, but hey ...) When someone says crossword puzzle, you think The New York Times and Will Shortz. (Some argue the order, but hey ...)

If you have no idea what I am talking about, it's even more reason for you to see this docu-mama as soon as you can get yer hands upon it!

My new motto as of last week? I know nothing!  I promise you, it's freeing. Try it. Whee.

I am no stranger to the squares and cursing beneath my breath as I struggle with that last corner of an angry weekend puzzle. I'm also no stranger to a really bad Monday when I couldn't even finish the puzzle in the Oakland Tribune. Lucky for me, I also remember the joy I got from any Sunday New York Times puzzle that I finished or not. (Most of them, not)

Whether you're a truck driver who can speak who can speak Klingon on your CB radio and master 18 forward gears and 2 reverse gears, or a consulting actuary who can ... consult and, um, actuary while being able to do a New York Times puzzle in 2:04 minutes - there's a fine clan of people out there that would be proud to call you kin. This, world, is why I love documentaries:

Now, I understand that many people were hot on Spellbound because they were drawn to the incredibly charming and funny little kids. There's not a whole lot of that here. But if you liked the insight into a small subculture, one of many in our fantastic and weird little world of words, you need this DVD.

Except, wow, what if the spelling bee people and the crossword people hate eachother? What if the creators of this fine documentary heard that a lot and just hate it? Oh dear. Oh blat.

Here is where in the documentary they lie:

"Small Dictionary" = your house doesn't have one this damn big and if you think I'm lying, see Trip Payne's dictionary collection.  (I used to have a real dictionary. Two Volumes, both bigger than your kid. Yeah, that one. Bigger!)

"Amateur" = Oh, as if.

"The last arena where humans are still better than computers"  = well, I love computers and all, but ... c'mon!!! They have yet to program any computer, or gather together the monkeys, who can eventually write something like ... oh, I don't know ...

                                              maybe even ...


No. You think?

Favorite Quotes:

"... turn the word part of my brain off."
"Very bravely, I'm a pen guy."

and ...

"This is the puzzle that will rip your heart out." - Will Shortz, THE MAN, on a 25 minute competition puzzle.

Last thoughts ...

what's with Shawn Colvin anyway?


The New York Times is a Cult.

Seriously? I love the New York Times, man. It gave me a place to go when I was trapped in something called life as a kid. A place not to be trapped. Thank you NYT & WS.

C'mon. Try it.
   The New York Times is a Cult!!

                   --The Insomniac