District Judge Vic Fleming of Little Rock has a small part, former President Bill Clinton has a big part, and lots of other famous faces appear in “Wordplay,” the documentary dedicated to crossword puzzle lovers, which opens Friday at Market Street Cinema.
Showtimes are 2:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The first three showtimes remain the same (there is no 9:15 late show) Sunday through Thursday.
Fleming will be at Market Street after the 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. showings on Friday for a question-and-answer session.
The film centers on 28th Annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Stamford, Conn., and what it takes to be a crossword champion. The tournament is hosted by Will Shortz, the New York Times crossword puzzle editor, and the film includes visits with some of the many fans of the Times’ crosswords, including Clinton, Bob Dole, Daily Show host Jon Stewart, baseball pitcher Mike Mussina, documentarist Ken Burns and alt-folk group the Indigo Girls.
Roger Ebert, the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times, gives the documentary high marks (three stars out of four, with his readers giving it three-and-a-half stars) and says it’s “made with a lot of style and visual ingenuity.” He especially appreciates director Patrick Creadon’s use of graphics to highlight problem areas in the crossword grids.
Ebert says, “In one especially ingenious montage, [Creadon] has all of his celebrities working on the same puzzle in interlocking shots. During the final championship round, with three contenders working on giant crosswords on a stage, he makes their progress easy to follow; I can imagine another film in which it would have been incomprehensible.” The renowned reviewer says the buildup to the crossword championship is intense.
Admission at Market Street is $6 for afternoon showings and $7.50 at night.
Market Street will be opening “The Heart of the Game,” a documentary that follows a Seattle high school girls basketball team, next week, and free tickets are being given away through various Little Rock radio stations for a screening Monday, July 17.
Free tickets are available through KKPT-FM, 94.1, KABZ-FM, 103.7, The Edge 100.3, on KARN’s daily “The Dave Elswick Show,” on KMJX-FM, Magic 105 and KOOK-FM, 104.7, with each station giving away 25 tickets.
The film officially opens on July 21 at Market Street.
“We want to fill the theater on Monday,” Market Street owner Matt Smith said. “It’s one of those word-of-mouth pictures, and we want people to see the film and tell their buddies about it, because it’s a good movie, man.
“You know how it is about documentaries. Either they click like “An Inconvenient Truth” and everybody wants to see it, or they don’t click and you’re sitting in there by yourself. People need to see this film.”
The documentary shows a Roosevelt High team guided by an eccentric coach, and one player is determined to overcome a suspension to play the game she loves.