3 Films For Those Also Obsessed With Wordle

    Following in the footsteps of past word puzzle games, such as Scrabble and crosswords, Wordle is the newest internet craze that gives players six chances to guess a new five letter daily. 

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s newest Wordle puzzle? Then Full Frame has you covered with these three films that celebrate words, their form, and the passionate players of classic word games.

    Wordplay (dir. Patrick Creadon)

    Full Frame 2006

    What do Bill Clinton, Ken Burns, Bob Dole, Jon Stewart, and the Indigo Girls have in common? A wildly obsessive dedication to The New York Times Crossword Puzzle. And they’re not alone – they are joined by over 50 million Americans whose Sundays, often weekdays, too, are not complete without the challenge of finding all the words that fit. What makes them especially addicted to The Times’s version is the wit and intelligence of its master—Will Shortz—who clearly understands that this challenge must be fun or why do it? This delightful film explores the joyful obsession and the respect that all puzzle solvers have for Shortz and the tradition, which is dramatically realized in the American Crossword Puzzle competition, started by Shortz. Though there are allusions to other documentaries using competition as a dramatic arch, this is depiction is really more about the humanity and intelligence of the players as they wrestle with the mighty grid.

    Word Wars (dirs. Julian Petrillo, Eric Chaikin)

    Full Frame 2004

    Like a brutally honest sports film, Word Wars documents the ordeals suffered by those dedicated to one-on-one competition. Knowing that their game requires the stamina to compete in as many as eight matches in a single day, these warriors commit to rigid training regimens (learning all the “Q” words) and triumph over physical setbacks (gastrointestinal reflux). Welcome to the world of professional Scrabble tournaments, where the nerves are raw, the stakes are high, and the average score is even higher. Word Wars is a riveting portrayal of cutthroat intellectual competition and a celebration of life lived on the edge…of your seat.

    Helvetica (dir. Gary Hustwit)

    Full Frame 2007 / Full Frame 2017

    This vibrant investigation of our visual culture charts the global impact of the iconic typeface. Featuring interviews with designers and scholars, Helvetica moves across the United States and Europe to examine the way the font is used and the creative choices involved in its use in written communication. Expertly composed objects and cityscapes are entertainingly woven together with the commentary of his subjects to create an essay far more dynamic than the seeming sum of its parts. Helvetica is more than just a joyous exploration of a font: it encourages us to consider the myriad ways that type and design impact our lives.