(Topic ID: 2489)

Special When Lit Impressions


By Gusphan

9 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 40 posts
  • 23 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by emkay
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 9 years ago

    I was able to finally watch this documentary last night (rented on Itunes for $2.99). What a great piece of work, easily a 9/10. The quality and presentation was top notch.

    Some criticisms I did have:

    1. Way too much time spent on the over the top eccentric personalities in the pinball world. I understand that to talk about pinball these days, you're going to have include some of the characters that come along with it. But really, some of the people they interviewed...I seriously questioned if they were mentally ill. Way too much camera time for them.

    The problem with that is, focusing on the eccentric personalities in pinball today, and not your relate-able average person, doesn't help to revive pinball or make it more accessible. The message seems to be that pinball now is only for the freaks and geeks out there.

    2. The movie does an excellent job of the the history of pinball, but glazes over why pinball went in to decline. I felt only a few minutes were spent trying to explain it, and it went something like this: 1. Pinball became very popular in the late 70's early 80's. 2.Arcade machines became popular and people couldn't get enough of them. 3. People got enough of them. 4. Pinball became popular again in 92-93 (why?? movie doesn't say). 4. Pinball hit decline because of video games (again, why did it re-surge in 92-93 when games were the rage, but declined when video games were the rage?). This explanation flew by in a matter of a few minutes (oh, and they briefly mentioned increased difficulty in understanding rules of some machines).

    Anyways, off the soap box. Awesome documentary, worth the purchase. Will watch again and again!

    #2 9 years ago

    I just watched it!!! excellent.

    That flood at Papa and all those wrecked machines, my jaw dropped,

    and some of those pinball collections....WOW, I'm now de-classing my love for pinball from an obsession to just a hobby, those guys are totally pinball crazy. The next time my wife says I go on about pinball too much I shall show her these guys and tell her she should be gratefull, haha.

    Anyways if you're into the silverball this docu-film is a must see.

    #3 9 years ago

    itunes now has "Special when lit" and "Tilt" available for rent or to buy. I am downloading now and gonna shoot them to my apple tv later. Love itunes.

    #4 9 years ago

    Still waiting to see that movie -

    #5 9 years ago

    I'll give it a 5/10, definitely not buying this on Bluray. Way too much time spent on the eccentrics in the hobby. I understand they were trying to make for an interesting movie, but come on. I really felt bad for that old dude in his hoarder house setup. Time could have been better spent talking to Lyman regarding rules/programming. More with steve richie and his history in the industry.

    The fact the annoying guy with the terrible dvdr's got as much time as he did, I don't understand their decision making other than try to alienate people from getting interested in the hobby.

    Tilt! was a much MUCH better documentary.

    #6 9 years ago

    Novarcade - agree, 5/10 for me as well.

    They went for the freaks and nerds angle too hard and make no mistake it was entirely deliberate.

    I interviewed Neil Shatz for Pinball news. The full interview is here:

    http://pinballnews.com/learn/interviews/neil.html

    But here's what he had to say about SWL:

    PBN: You were featured in the Special When Lit documentary that has been making the rounds of the independent film circuit. Any comments on how you were portrayed?

    Neil: I did not have my glasses on at the start of the interview. The interview staff told me that they would prefer I go get my glasses from my hotel room before they start the interview . . .

    #7 9 years ago

    I just watched it. It was ok. I feel the same as you guys. It did make feel that some people really bash stern on their "Cheaper" pins lately. I feel we should celebrate them for even being around anymore after watching that. Cars, houses, and most things aren't made the way they used to either. They are still making fun pins. Makes me wanna buy another stern to spread the love.

    #8 9 years ago

    It's disheartening to hear so many negative comments. The Blu-ray is on its way to my house, and I was really looking forward to watching it. Based on a majority of the reviews so far, it appears that the filmmakers did not make the ultimate pinball documentary that I and many others were hoping for.

    #9 9 years ago

    Now that I think more about it, absolutely terrible movie. The 2 hall of fame designers got barely a word in edge wise. More than half the movie was spent on the nut jobs, plenty of awkward moments. Felt more like an episode or hoarders, or doctor phil. Glad they decided to interview less than 1% of the typical pinball owner, vs the other 99% of pinball owners who are raising families/holding down normal employment etc...

    The only saving grace was Roger Sharpe.

    They barely talked about the fall of pinball in arcades, no mention of pin 2k. In fact I think it was the last 10 minutes of the movie. It's like they focused on the crazies, and then realized at the last moment "maybe we should cover some history real quick"

    #10 9 years ago

    I agree that they took way too much time on the waaaaaayy far out there pinball fanatics and did interview many of us who just love to play vs. obsession. To own a few and play them is not the same as some of the people the interviewed. The one guy was a pinball hoarder who could use some help.

    #11 9 years ago

    gweempose, for the record, I was really enjoying the documentary while watching it. It was the kind where I wish it didn't end, so try not to let these opinions ruin it for you.

    With that said, I still stand by my original criticisms and what NoVArcade has added to it was right on.

    Roger Sharpe WAS awesome in it. The man comes across as more than just a historian, he reminds me of a well spoken philosopher. Worth it alone for his parts.

    #12 9 years ago

    Roger Sharpe was interviewed for Tilt! and they talk to him for like a 1/2 hour in the extras. He covers the same material and more.

    2 months later
    #13 9 years ago

    I love it!! Our friend Ron is featured in it. He's an awesome guy (with the most amazing arcade ever) and his coolness is captured perfectly.
    Some of the people are eccentric, but I think you have to be eccentric to collect 100's of machines. I don't know, I think I like the weirdness of the film. Those guys are very true to themselves and their hobby (*addiction). If everyone just stood around acting cool, the movie would have been boring.
    I make everybody watch SWL the first time they come over here, and even non-pinball people love it. Especially the intro animation! I could watch that all day

    #14 9 years ago

    I didn't think it was a very good doc... I mean, I'm sitting here right now and I can't even think of how I would tell someone what this movie was about. Quirky pinball players? Maybe... A pinball tournament? Maybe... It simply lacks a story arc of any sort. And the few times when you think it's about to get there it pretty much dumps that angle for another short vignette focusing on some other eccentric player or collector. It's also painfully obvious that it was made years ago now. Still, I enjoyed seeing some of the classic footage and interviews. And watching Rick Stetta wriggle around behind a pinball machine is always hilarious.

    #15 9 years ago

    The one guy was a pinball hoarder who could use some help.

    I did help Sam... I got him an XL shirt to replace the Schmedium he was wearing on camera!

    You can't take the Doc too seriously. I grew up with several kids that are like Koi. Socially awkward or even hyperintroverted, even in adult life. Most of society views me as "abby-normal" anyway, just because I've worn plaid pants/shants practically every day since the 8th grade. The movie was entertaining (popcorn movie); that is all I wanted or expected from it. "Tilt" is the better film if you need a PIN2K sprinkled with history fix. But to me, they have not nailed a true pinball documentary on film yet...
    And no, "Pinball Summer" does not count- Even though it IS hilarious!

    #16 9 years ago

    But to me, they have not nailed a true pinball documentary on film yet...

    I agree. There is a great story to be told, but nobody has done it yet. My wife's cousin is a very prominent documentary filmmaker. Perhaps I'll mention it to him next time I see him.

    Speaking of Koi, I got a chance to hang out with him and chat for a while at Expo. We even played a couple games of Avatar together. A very nice guy indeed.

    #17 9 years ago

    Terrible documentary as far as cohesive plot and what its purpose was. A proper documentary is supposed to educate and provide evidence for its thesis. This one was all over the board, but it did cover a lot of ground that other pinball docs don't. And it was all cool, that's the important part. As a pinball junkie, you will watch it over and over again. As a film junkie, you will watch it once and whine about it. If its purpose was supposed to broaden the knowledge of the hobby, then it failed. If its purpose was to entertain and broaden the knowledge of the people already in the hobby, it passed with flying colors. For a great doc to really capture the beauty and essence of this lost icon, where's Werner Herzog at. He makes about three hundred documentaries a year about obscure things, and they are always fascinating.

    #18 9 years ago

    I rating 9/10. The excentric personalities it what makes the movie have a human element over just the machines. Sure these guys look and sound absolutely crazy. But they love pinball, it is something they relate to, and we can actually relate to them even if they have taken it to the extreme. Everywhere in life you find extremists. At least these ones are harmless. Overall It is a fantastic movie ,and I actually wish they had spent more time talking to these guys and finding out what makes them choose pinball over everything else in life. Just like the "King of kong" it really isn't about the games but the people who play them. I would love to see a documentary about what goes on and the politics of professional pinball players. There are some really interesting personalities there, It would be cool to see what makes them tick, and how they interact with eachother. Because it seems that some are seriously lacking in social skills. Could make for some funny, awkward and entertaining moments.

    Overall great Movie.

    #19 9 years ago

    I'm going to watch this weekend (hopefully if I have time). Sounds great after reading all the posts.

    G

    #20 9 years ago

    Just like the "King of kong" it really isn't about the games but the people who play them.

    True, but TKOK had a compelling story arc with clearly defined heroes and villians. Like SWL, it showcased a lot of fascinating personalities, but they were simply the backdrop to the main story of Wiebe vs. Mitchell. In my opinion, SWL isn't in the same league as TKOK, and this is coming from someone who much prefers pinball to classic video games.

    SWL = 4/10
    TKOK = 10/10

    #21 9 years ago

    I would love to see a documentary about what goes on and the politics of professional pinball players. There are some really interesting personalities there, It would be cool to see what makes them tick, and how they interact with eachother. Because it seems that some are seriously lacking in social skills. Could make for some funny, awkward and entertaining moments.

    No offense to you, of course, but the questions you pose above exemplify why I don't care for this film.

    The picture they paint of competitors as basically awkward weirdos is pretty far off the mark, but given your lack of familiarity with the competitive scene, you're coming away with the idea that the depiction may be plausible. That's normal and human, so I don't blame you or anyone else. It's the film's fault.

    Not only did they cherry pick players but then they set out to make them look as bad as they could. Compare Neil's depiction in SWL with this:

    As I mentioned, when I interviewed Neil for pinball news, he said the production crew of SWL asked him to go get his glasses from his hotel room before they started filming. I think that makes it pretty clear what their goal was.

    Beyond that, it's just not a very well-made film. There's no real story or point. It meanders. The "is pinball dying" segment near the end feels extremely tacked on, ala "Jeez, how are we going to end this thing?"

    In King of Kong, which you can't help but compare it to, there are a lot of eccentric characters but Steve Weibe, at the center of the film, is a sympathetic sort of everyman we can all relate to on some level. That's why that film is such a hit, because the message is ultimately positive (among a lot of other things it did better as well - story, editing, pacing, etc)

    #22 9 years ago

    The picture they paint of competitors as basically awkward weirdos is pretty far off the mark, but given your lack of familiarity with the competitive scene, you're coming away with the idea that the depiction may be plausible. That's normal and human, so I don't blame you or anyone else. It's the film's fault.

    I'm not saying all competive players are like how some are portrayed in the film, but if the film showed more of this aspect it sure would make for an interesting watch to see how the "crazy" fanatics interact with each other, and the "normal" outside world. Because I'm sure pinball has them, every subculture of society has its eccentrics. People wat to see this aspect.

    I know not everyone is nerdy, crazy or introverted, But that aspect of pinball makes for a great, interesting and funny documentary. If it was Normal everyday people it would be boring. No one want to see a bunch of regular "Joe's" sit around and play pinball. Now you want to keep interest, and make cash, create tension and drama add a touch of crazy and you have a hit TV show or movie.

    Sorry to say, but it is the "crazies" that are going to create new interest in pinball. It is the "you gotta see this!" factor that will create an interest in pinball again. More interest than just us collectors and players.

    King of Kong did it, Pinball needs a film like it. This film started to deliver but didn't go into the same detail. If it did, it could have been a compelling humourious and heartwarming story about people who are extremely passionate about pinball. But overall it is still an awesome film.

    #23 9 years ago

    A follow up/sequel (whatever) to TKOK is coming out.

    #24 9 years ago

    A follow up/sequel (whatever) to TKOK is coming out.

    Can't wait. I originally saw TKOK when it was slowly making the rounds at the arthouse theaters. This was way before all the hype and the cult following. My sister-in-law told me that there was a documentary on Donkey Kong playing, and asked me if I wanted to go. I knew nothing about it, and wasn't expecting much. I walked out of the theater that night thinking I had just seen one of the most fascinating documentaries ever put on film.

    1 week later
    #25 9 years ago

    Clearly suffers from loads! of raw materiale cut down to a lot less than what would have been optimal for a well balanced documentary giving everybody and every topic the proper time.

    But, fully enjoyable and lovely to see all that footage in high quality.

    All I can say is: Bring on that directors cut, or lengthy interviews on their own.

    BTW. The stats on the PAPA tournament covered, are incorrect. It seems to be some sort of mix between the qualifing standings and final results.

    4 years later
    #26 4 years ago

    Wow feel the good guys lol, Special When Lit I think is the second best documentary out there for pinball and definitely give it a 9/10! For me its Pinball Passion at the #1 spot ALL THE WAY!!! 10/10!!! vlcsnap-5330-04-23-04h14m29s653.png

    #27 4 years ago

    Definitely check out pinball passion. Good film.

    I'm still waiting for the best pinball documentary to be made.

    I did enjoy special when lit over all. Although it is not a great film it is about pinball. Tilt is well done but only focus is pinball 2000.

    #28 4 years ago

    Special When Lit and Tilt are my two favorite pinball films.

    #29 4 years ago

    Special when lit is what got me back into pinball.
    Used to play a lot back in the late 1970's when EM's were phased out to SS pins.

    #30 4 years ago

    Still waiting for "Bang Back" the Rick Stetta Documentary!!!

    1 month later
    #32 4 years ago

    This is the documentary that got me back to pinball about 3 years ago. Since watching this doc, I have been to expos, joined leagues, met new friends, and able to own a pinball machine. Must have watched this doc a handful of times.

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from gmkalos:

    Here is my little stash of reposted documentaries mostly about pinball but all about amusements! Please join friends

    Any chance of a post here for those of us who are Facebook-challenged?

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from emkay:

    Any chance of a post here for those of us who are Facebook-challenged?

    Set up an acCOuNt there with a fake name. Use a burner email address for CONfirmation purposes. Really easy.

    #35 4 years ago

    I would love to see a follow up to this movie, I think this 3 part documentary about "THE STORM" was done afterwards!

    #36 4 years ago

    SWL was a good snapshot of what the hobby looked like a few years ago.

    You can't expect a documentary intended for the general public to 100% satisfy the hardcore pinhead.

    Ask your wife if SWL isn't EXACTLY what she sees when she goes to an expo.....geeky, stinky, people.

    #37 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    SWL was a good snapshot of what the hobby looked like a few years ago.
    You can't expect a documentary intended for the general public to 100% satisfy the hardcore pinhead.
    Ask your wife if SWL isn't EXACTLY what she sees when she goes to an expo.....geeky, stinky, people.

    Hey, watch it Vid, I may take offense....

    #38 4 years ago

    My fav is the synthetic-organic-chemist ...16 MILLION!!! lol I cant wait to go to Pinfest this year!!!!

    #39 4 years ago

    When I went to Silverball museum I was instantly greeted by this red hair autistic girl who was patting me on the back after draining the ball at 13 million + on Simpsons, then she turned to me and gave me the biggest smile with a mouth full of kit-kat candy lol It was great totally cheered me right up

    CIMG0089_(resized).jpg

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from gmkalos:

    Special When Lit I think is the second best documentary out there for pinball and definitely give it a 9/10! For me its Pinball Passion at the #1 spot ALL THE WAY!!! 10/10!!! vlcsnap-5330-04-23-04h14m29s653.png

    Wait what? The screen grab you used was from Special When Lit, which seemed like a much bigger-budget update to Pinball Passion.

    I just tonight watched both all the way through and Pinball Passion was amateur, it needs to be retired. Non-widescreen, outdated, sound mix was AWFUL, material completely covered in much more detail in Tilt and SWL. No, 0/10 would not recommend.

    Special When Lit, although a wee bit dated only to nerds like us who come home from work and check a pinball forum every day, is a well-made documentary with much more polish all around, and I'm not referring to the Polish joke that made me laugh and confused my Polish wife.

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