American Life (Toys, Games & Puzzles) Movies on DVD
Filmmakers Hunter Weeks and Josh Caldwell travel across the country to examine the American phenomenon of fantasy football. The pair focuses on their own Intergalactic Championship League with their friends and conducts interviews with current and former NFL players such as Desmond Clark and Shannon Sharpe, as well as the 1963 originators to illustrate the camaraderie and fanaticism of this curious subculture. 90 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo.
What makes poker so popular? What compels players to risk everything? What happened when the Department of Justice shut down some sites? This enlightening and surprisingly emotional documentary traces the game's origins and explores its resurgence in modern times, featuring interviews with expert players and stories about high-profile competitors who participate in big-money events, including Chris Moneymaker. 100 min. Soundtrack: English.
The weird, wild and wonderful world of bingo is examined in this endearing documentary that explores the cultural impact of the popular pastime. Along with a look at how the game appeals to everyone from drag queens to Catholic Church members, you'll travel throughout the U.S. and Europe and even visit a bingo-themed Caribbean cruise to encounter folks who never stop dreaming of winning. 88 min. Soundtrack: English.
When you hear the name Bobby Fischer, the game of chess may be the first thing that comes to mind. This probing documentary takes on not only Fischer's international renown as one of the greatest champions ever and his spectacular 1972 match with Russian icon Boris Spassky, but also the mysterious and infamous behavior that would tarnish his reputation and follow him to the grave. 93 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: Engl Digital stereo.
A bullied 14-year-old boy from a broken home copes with his daily struggles in part by participating in a medieval role-playing society, which affords him a heroic identity and a duty to fight dragons. This compassionate documentary offers a sensitive portrait of an alienated American child as he grapples with adolescence...and the occasional fire-breathing monster. 74 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English.
In the tradition of "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" comes this fascinating documentary that follows the Team 3D and Complexity Clan squads as they compete in Counterstrike videogaming tournaments. Travelling around the globe, each team attempts to prove their dominance--giving insight into the lives of professional gamers along the way. 70 min. Soundtrack: English.
Soviet programmer Alexey Pajitnov's tile puzzle videogame has fixated its fans since the '80s, and the mania has never been illustrated better than by this documentary chronicle of the 2010 world championship held to crown the planet's greatest player. No quarter asked and none given (but plenty are deposited) in this clever complement to "King of Kong." 93 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo.
What would Jesus bet? That's the question America's largest blackjack team is always asking itself--made up as it is by devout Christians who see not much conflict of interest in pursuing high-stakes gambling. This documentary profiles members of the well-funded group as they clash with casinos eager to retain their winnings and defend as holy activities that many outsiders might view as contrary to the teachings of Christ. 91 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English.
Geeks? Definitely. Losers? No way! This affectionate documentary profiles a group of participants active in the New England Role-Playing Organization, aka NERO--a game allowing adults to become fantasy world characters and act out their adventures at regular events throughout the country. This film follows the members of a Seattle-based chapter as they gather to ease pent-up tensions and deal better with real-life challenges. 80 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English.
Stickball, ringolevio, kick the can, hopscotch...in the days before Xbox, these and other games kept kids on the streets, alleys, and playgrounds of New York--and, often, across America--entertained. This nostalgic program looks back at the pre-technological pastimes of the early 20th century and their place in urban culture, as Ray Romano, Joe Pantoliano, Regis Philbin, Whoopi Goldberg, and others share their memories. Hector Elizondo narrates. 90 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 5.1; Subtitles: English (SDH).
Some folks like to get together with their buddies for a round of paintball, but consider the 5,000 strong who annually converge on a 700-acre tract in Oklahoma to restage the Normandy Invasion of 1944. They spend the year plotting their strategies, and Allied victory isn't guaranteed! This intriguing documentary provides insights on this singular endeavor and its participants. 97 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 5.1; deleted scenes.
Any Dungeons & Dragons fan worth their experience points knows a game depends upon its dungeon master, who creates the setting and sends the players on their missions. This funny and moving documentary travels coast to coast to visit three dedicated DMs--Gulf Coast resident Elizabeth, who also does live role-playing as a drow elf; divorced Army Reservist Richard; and would-be novelist Scott--and see how their fantasy lives offer escape and solace from the real world. 87 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English.
Billy Mitchell is a hot-sauce mogul from Hollywood, Florida, and the reigning Donkey Kong champion of the world. Steve Wiebe is a Seattle science teacher looking to take him down. This fun and fascinating documentary follows these two video warriors as they each try to guide little Mario to the top of the pink girders in the most grueling video game showdown since Tron squared off against the MCP. 90 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital stereo Surround; Subtitles: English, Spanish; audio commentary; interviews; featurettes; bonus short "A Really, Really Brief History of Donkey Kong"; theatrical trailer.
This follow-up to the acclaimed documentary "The Art of the Dollmaker" introduces you to the world's leading doll creators. As such artisans as Olga Roehl, Shelly Thornton, Gail Lackey, Nancy Wiley, and Jodi and Richard Creager discuss their inspiration and how they approach their craft, you'll learn that making beautiful and collectible dolls isn't child's play. 33 min. Soundtrack: English; featurette; photo gallery.
The wonderful world of designer vinyl toys is explored in this insightful documentary. Along with a look at how the high-end collectibles are created, the film presents interviews with such talented designers and artists as Brian Flynn, Erick Scarecrow, Frank Kozik, Kano, Jermaine Rogers, and Mark Nagata. If you think toys are just for kids, think again! 60 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English.
Go to your TV, go directly to your TV, and watch this charming documentary look at the perennially popular board game. As players of all ages gather in Las Vegas for the 2009 Monopoly world championship tournament, you'll learn how the game was originally developed to teach about the evils of land taxation, how it was used as an escape tool for WWII Allied POWs, and how various versions have sprung up around the world to make Monopoly a global phenomenon. Zachary Levi narrates. 88 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; extended scenes; outtakes; featurette; more.
The history, allure, and competition of the crossword puzzle are the subjects of this wry and endearing documentary. Focusing on New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz and the 28th Annual Crossword Puzzle Tournament held in Stamford, Connecticut, the film delves playfully into the eccentric subculture of devoted wordsmiths and features celebrity puzzle buffs including Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Jon Stewart, Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, and Indigo Girls. 85 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English; audio commentary; deleted scenes; featurette; interviews.