Trifecta #02: Competitive Documentaries



You can’t go out and party every weekend, so on those nights you want to take it easy, has put together a bi-weekly column to help you with your movie selection. The Trifecta is a recommendation of three movies that set a mood, that showcase an actor or director, that acquaint the viewer with a geographic location, or maybe even have some obscure link like a Best Boy or Key Grip.

I seem to have a small passion for a great documentary. I believe they are underappreciated and misunderstood. I believe most people give documentaries a negative stereotype. All three of the documentaries here are a few of my personal favorites. I thought about writing a One You Might Have Missed article on each of these but realized that most everyone had missed them and might be turned off by what in their mind might be a boring topic. So rather than think you will be bored three times, you are going to only think you are being bored once. However, you will be sorely wrong my friends. These documentaries are for the competitive in nature. If you scream at the TV while watching your favorite sports team or tear up at the emotional pull of a movie like Rudy getting carried off the field than I have just the dose of documentary medicine for you. Remember these are real people with their real stories. No script here folks.

I’m gonna hit the ground running with children spelling words in SPELLBOUND. Not exciting? Wrong. Quite possibly the most nerve racking and exciting movie you’ve ever seen. The filmmakers follow 8 children as they study and prepare for the 1999 National Spelling Bee Competition. They all have different personalities and quirks with very different techniques and attitudes toward their goal. They all have different home life environments. When the competition finally begins you will find yourself rooting for each of them as if they were your own nerdy children (Being a “nerd” myself, this term is meant affectionately). I love them all!!! As the 8 slowly get knocked out one by one be sure to have a tissue for your tears or stiff drink to ease the tension. Will one of our children win? As you sit there lazily on the couch remember…they are better than you at spelling words and they haven’t even hit puberty.


“I think Ted’s got the advantage of parents, who think he’s great irregardless.” – Ted’s Mom, SPELLBOUND

After that roller coaster of tension I’m gonna get serious and cater to the major sports junkie with HOOP DREAMS. This film is highly regarded as one of the best documentaries of all time. The film follows two boys from inner city Chicago struggling with money, school, and family in pursuit to play professional basketball. We watch these boys grow through all of high school and their attempt to get into college. They aren’t competing with each other but with life. They want to play basketball and people want them to play basketball but it isn’t that simple.

Hoop Dreams

People always say to me, “When you get to the NBA, don’t forget about me.” Well, I should’ve said back, “if I don’t make it to the NBA, don’t you forget about me.” – William Gates, HOOP DREAMS

Finally, I’m gonna lighten the mood a bit and attract all those geeks sitting there with their headsets on playing Call Of Duty with THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFULL OF QUARTERS. Don’t fret, all you non-COD players, this follows an old beloved game of Donkey Kong and a classic case of good vs. evil. Simple everyday man Steve Wiebe is in pursuit of breaking the Donkey Kong record that has been held for nearly 25 years by Billy Mitchell. Pompous Billy no likey and does what he can with his pull in the gaming world politics to stop this from happening. Truly a story so wonderfully silly that one could not write it better.

King of Kong

“No matter what I say, it draws controversy. It’s sort of like the abortion issue.” – Billy Mitchell, THE KING OF KONG

“I wanted to be a hero. I wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted the glory, I wanted the fame. I wanted the pretty girls to come up and say, “Hi, I see that you’re good at Centipede.” – Walter Day, THE KING OF KONG

“Work is for people who can’t play video games.” – Jillian Wiebe, THE KING OF KONG

These are all touching and entertaining stories that will give you a new perspective of how you might view these worlds. They are all unaltered real life stories that should provide inspiration and understanding for everyone.

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