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photos by Lara Shipley

Scrabble on the Big Screen

May 18th, 2004 · No Comments

Caught Word Wars this weekend with the Sexy Economist™: It’s a documentary about the competitive Scrabble circuit which, like its spiritual cousin Spellbound, is much more interesting than it sounds. The film follows four stranger-than-fiction competitors: a Zen-spouting, Tai Chi practicing trifecta champ; a gangly, Maalox-quaffing nebbish from Brooklyn; a dope-smokin’ “pre-Mecca Malcolm” from Baltimore, and a stand-up comic with a penchant for gambling and smart drugs. The film’s actually much better than the game, of which I’ve never been a huge fan. Taboo, on the other hand…

The film also reminded me that someone really ought to make a documentary about the parliamentary debate circuit: plenty of weird characters, if it’s anything like it was when I was on, and you could surely cull some fascinating and funny bits from the speeches… if you shot enough hours. Parli’s a good candidate because, unlike policy, it’s more rhetorical and doesn’t require special training to understand the high-speed recitation of stats and evidence. And besides, we need something to supplant the execrable Listen to Me as the debate movie.

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