- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 21 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: April 5, 2005
- Originally Released: 2004
- Label: Starz / Anchor Bay
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Additional Release Material:
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Los Angeles Times - 11/05/2004
"[W]itty and intelligent....Chaikin and Petrillo have crafted an empathetic and revealing portrait..."
The documentary WORD WARS, inspired by the book WORD FREAK by NPR reporter Stefan Fatsis, provides a compelling peek into the lives of four Scrabble competitors as they make their way to the 2001 national tournament and a chance at winning $25,000. Known to many as a pleasing pastime, the board game's linguistic challenge and possible monetary payoff draw scores of hopefuls to National Scrabble Association tournaments each year. In their four eccentric subjects, directors Eric Chaiken and Julian Petrillo show the awe-inspiring level of skill and single-mindedness necessary to making a living on the tournament circuit.
A focus on character evokes similar films such as the acclaimed SPELLBOUND, which delves into the lives of youngsters competing in the national spelling bee, and WORD WARS has no shortage of character quirks to explore. Despite their differences, tai chi devotee Joe Edley (three-time tournament champion), stand-up comedian Matt Graham, gastrointestinally challenged Joel Sherman, and pot-smoking philanderer Marlon Hill all share an obsessive drive to win, along with unquestionably superior logic skills. While offering a humorous look at its participants, WORD WARS provides interesting comments on the cult of competition and preserving individuality in a conformity obsessed world.
- Theatrical Release: June 11, 2004 (NY)