Word Wars
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The directorial debut of filmmakers Eric Chaikin and Julian Petrillo, Word Wars: Tiles and Tribulations on the Scrabble Circuit is a humorous documentary look at the culture surrounding the National Scrabble Tournament. Focusing on four players in particular, the film details the intense competitions that lead up to the finals in San Diego, where each of the competitors hopes to take home the 25,000-dollar prize. Premiering at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, Word Wars screened as part of the documentary competition. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Chaikin and Petrillo have crafted an empathetic and revealing portrait of four men whose obsession is both a little bit sad and more than a little bit recognizable."
‑ Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times
"Compellingly watchable."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Even with so much information lacking, Word Wars is still quite a treat."
‑ David Cornelius, eFilmCritic.com
"...if you're a fan of films that concentrate on lesser known ingredients of our society..."
‑ JoBlo, JoBlo's Movie Emporium
"A highly entertaining look at these bizarre personalities and an insight into their obsession with Scrabble."
‑ Marc Mohan, Oregonian
"There's a pronounced lack of emotional pay-off that likely will derail any attempts to position Word Wars as an aud-friendly crowd-pleaser with breakout potential comparable to Spellbound."
‑ Joe Leydon, Variety
"The film fairly skips along as it introduces us to this strange world."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"Mostly lighthearted, yet somewhat unnerving."
‑ , E! Online
"Think of it as the eccentric cousin to Spellbound..."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Lively documentary."
‑ Chris Hewitt (St. Paul), St. Paul Pioneer Press
"The picture offers a funny but frequently sad portrait of four world-class gamesters in serious need of the $25,000 in prize money."
‑ Kim Morgan, L.A. Weekly
"A surprisingly entertaining documentary that captures the triumph, the heartbreak and the consonants of the competitive Scrabble circuit."
‑ Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger
"You'll be on the edge of your seat to find out who wins, and how the losers take it."
‑ Shirley Sealy, Film Journal International
"The human element is kept endearingly rich a la detailed background info and flaring tempers that are the hallmark of the low-budget tournament circuit."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"A facile view of the Scrabble players' world, and ... rather condescending to [its] subjects."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
More reviews for Word Wars on Rotten Tomatoes