Blog Master G

Word. And photos, too.

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Monday, June 16th, 2003 · No Comments

Friday night Jen, Jess, Ben, and I headed to the Embarcadero to see the excellent documentary Spellbound, which follows eight junior high kids from all across the country on their journey to the 72nd Annual (1999) Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The film was much like one of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries (This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind) with one important difference: It was real. Real kids, real ambition, and really tough words (many of which I’d never heard) comprise the emotional, hilarious, and compelling formula behind this film.

From the opening scene to the last, Spellbound is up close and personal. It gets inside the lives and minds of eight brilliant kids — black, white, Hispanic, Indian, rich, poor, hyper, confident, nervous — and hooks you in. I was rooting for Angela, from a small farm in Texas where her father’s reason for not speaking English is that the cows don’t, so why should he? When Angela misses a word at the nationals and is interviewed backstage, she’s not unhappy. Her attitude is exemplar as she explains that she already feels like a champion for having made it this far. Adults could learn quite a bit from these amazing kids.

Tags: movies