Thursday, June 8, 2006

movie night

So last night was movie night for the me and m. We subscribe to one of our local public radio stations. With our subscription, we get to attend (mostly) monthly screenings of yet to be released films under an event called Matt’s Movies. For free!

Matt Holzman is great. He is smart and articulate and he finds really good movies that he shares with his friends- the audience members who attend Matt’s Movies. Through him we have seen many awesome films in advance of the opening dates. We can pretty much guarantee that if Matt showcases a movie, it’s gonna be good. Real good. Case in point, we have seen the following at a Matt’s Movies screening: Capote, The Constant Gardener, The Squid and The Whale (actually, I think we rented this one on DVD, but it comes highly recommended by MH), In This World, Touching the Void, Whale Rider, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Brick, Syriana and many, many more. Often there are Q&A sessions with the director or writers and sometimes the actors of the film being screened.

Last night’s film was no exception. Wordplay was entertaining with an intriguing cast of characters (both famous and not) and just enough suspense to keep me interested, but not get sick. (Side note: I find that watching movies high in suspense makes me a little nauseated. I get so worked up over the suspense and tension and really, it takes so very little. Let’s remember that “high in suspense” is all relative here.) The tension was milder than that in Spellbound and Wordplay was a lot like Spellbound but with more celebrity faces and you know…crossword puzzles instead of a spelling bee.

Interesting facts I learned from this movie:

  • Former President Bill Clinton is a crossword puzzle fan and has been known to do 3-5 puzzles in a day. In one instance (while still at the White House) he completed the New York Times puzzle in about 6 minutes while being interviewed by the NYT puzzle master and simultaneously taking a phone call for which one of his aides deemed important enough to interrupt the interview.
  • There was one marriage proposal crossword puzzle in the NYT made by request from a New Yorker whose girlfriend was a NYT crossword puzzle fan. The now happily married couple send the NYT puzzle master a gift every January.
  • There is a preponderance of competition-level crossword puzzle players who are left handed.
  • On the morning of the 1996 presidential elections results, the NYT crossword puzzle had a results prediction clue where the answer could have been either C-L-I-N-T-O-N or B-O-B-D-O-L-E. Either answer would have completed a correct crossword puzzle. It was the first time in 16 years that presidential candidates had the same number of letters in their names. The first example was the 1980 presidential election between Carter and Reagan. Unfortunately, the puzzle maker did not submit this clever puzzle idea in time to publish it for the morning of those election results.

I believe the release date in the US for this film is June 23. Jenn: the Indigo Girls are featured in this movie and I believe you are back in the country by then. My pals overseas: I don’t know if this little gem will make it’s way to you. There are some things that just won’t translate well into other languages, but the stories are engaging all the same.

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