"Scrabylon" is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed documentary on the cutthroat world of tournament Scrabble®. Featuring the most fierce anagrammers, rack balancers, and bingo experts in competitive Scrabble®, "Scrabylo... more »n" delves deep into this sometimes wacky, sometimes odd, always compelling subculture. Shot primarily during the World Scrabble® Championships in Las Vegas, "Scrabylon" features players from around the globe and gives an up-close look at why people get so obsessed with that seemingly benign game played at countless kitchen tables. "Scrabylon" spotlights "GI (gastrointestinal) Joel" Sherman, the world's only professional Scrabble® player - so named for his various stomach ailments; Jim Geary, a quick-witted professional gambler and all-around gamesman; Matt Graham, a stand-up comic from New York City; Chris Cree, a funny Texan who once won $256,000 gambling in Las Vegas during a Scrabble® tournament; Joe Edley, the Zen Scrabble master and only 3-time National Scrabble® Champ; Brian Cappelletto, an options trader and the first Scrabble® prodigy; Robin Pollock Daniel, a trained psychologist and the highest-rated woman on the Scrabble scene plus many other eccentric characters. The glue between all these players is John D. Williams, Jr., the Executive Director of the National Scrabble® Association, who describes in great detail the quirks, strategies and personalities of this fascinating group of individuals. DVD includes deleted scenes and director's commentary. DVD is region-free (region 0). For more information about the movie, please visit the official website at www.scrabylon.com.« less
""Scrabylon" takes a look at the world of competitive Scrabble players and what a world it is. It's a great companion piece to the book "Word Freak" (the book's author, Stefan Fatsis, gives a brief history of the game, and the director of the National Scrabble Association is featured prominently).
It starts out with some good background info about the game and then introduces some of the top players. Petersen intercuts between the World Championships and several players from around the world (Canada, Thailand, Malta) as they describe their obsession with words, letters, studying and trying to psyche out other players (a cabbie visualizes how certain letters look like objects while another finds an ice scraper on the street and makes a tile rack out of it). It's quite a humanizing portrait of the players and the Scrabble community as a whole. All of the players come across an intelligent and compelling, if a bit unique.
Most "living room" Scrabble players will be surprised to learn that competive players consider it a "math" game as opposed to a "word" game. This is illustrated by former Scrabble prodigy Brian Cappelletto, who is interviewed at his job on the floor of a stock exchange. His co-workers try to stump him in a casual game of anagrams, but he wipes them out quickly. Although the players have considerably different occupations (professional gambler, stay-at-home mom, social worker, teacher, fork-lift salesman), they are all math wizards.
Overall, "Scrabylon" is a fun and quirky bit of Americana and very enjoyable."
Word freaks united!
Boggman! | Laguna Hills, CA | 09/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If your a word game addict such as myself, then "Scrabylon" is an interesting view into the competetive world of Scrabble players and tournaments.
It mostly consists of interviews with the top rated players in the nation....and their thougts and strategies on the game.
It also gives a nice look into the tournament scene, and provides a little background on the history of the game.
Not a whole lot here to make a movie about - but it is a nice look at an interesting subculture
Recommended for word freaks only!!"
funny girl | New York | 08/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Late in Scrabylon, "GI Joel" Sherman explains that if he didn't play Scrabble, he'd probably spend most his time sleeping. This is pretty much all you need to know about Scrabble tournament players and their world. They are obsessive and just a little odd. But this movie's strength is that, while it's very funny and charming, it's never condescending to the players. It's quite eye-opening to see how advanced these players are compared to your Mom, friend, co-worker, etc.. Scrabble skills notwithstanding, most viewers will find Scrabylon to be a smart look at a world in which very few will get to personally experience."
Excellent portrayal of a subculture
Yo Yo | Chicago, USA | 05/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most viewers will enjoy this funny little documentary, regardless of their knowledge of U-less Q words. It gives a great overview of the subculture, both in history and the unique members of the subculture. Scrabble champ GI Joel Sherman, an unlikely Scrabble mom, and a guy who drinks vinegar straight from the bottle are highlights. Like the players, Scrabylon has huge amounts of personality and laughs.
The deleted scenes go into a little more detail of how the game is played and the director's commentary provides insight into how the movie was made.
Check it out and bust out the Scrabble set in your closet."
What sort of people become obsessed with Scrabble - and why?
K. Corn | Indianapolis,, IN United States | 03/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is as much a portrait of the people who become obsessed by Scrabble and by words themselves. They vary from stand up comics to professional psychologists to option traders - and all of them approach Scrabble wtih seriousness and great passion.
Make no mistake - Scrabble players can make some money and Chris Cree actually won an additional $250,000 plus gambling in Las Vegas during a tournament.
Even if you aren't crazy about word games, you'll find thes people fascinating and you may learn something about game strategy along the way."