Monday, January 9, 2012

Word Wars

Apparently there is a chunk of the international populace that takes Scrabble very seriously. I don’t mean they’re into it, I mean they do it and nothing else. Word Wars follows a group of men who have forsaken all (or occasionally almost all) to be considered a member of the elite in tournament Scrabble. One of the profiled, a man who is referred to as GI Joel (no, not b/c he’s ex-military but b/c he has persistent gastrointestinal problems, get it, GI) who literally doesn’t leave his apartment except to attend Scrabble group meetings or competitions. Another of the group works nights as a security guard just so he can spend all day and night studying words and Scrabble strategy. These, and the others like them, are not considered weirdos or eccentrics but are revered as the true greats, being interviewed and asked to teach classes.

It is a very odd segment of the world population and this movie gives us a peak into that strange, compulsive world. Combining just the right elements of character study and competition, Word Wars makes this flick hard to shut off. It’s as though you just can’t stop watching, can’t stop yourself from wanting to see how it ends. Truth be told, there are no stakes here. These people have made a decision to dedicate their lives to a board game, clearly denoting an egocentricity and narrow mindedness that fuels a quest to do something that does little more than make a small amount of money and a large amount of self-satisfaction. That said, I can’t help but admit it’s fun to watch them do so for just under two hours and then to gladly move on with the rest of my life, free from the snare of that foul mistress known as Scrabble.


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