Thursday, May 26, 2011

Special When Lit Pinball Documentary

Hulu currently has the pinball documentary "Special When Lit" free to watch. I have started watching the documentary and figured I'd give my 2 cents on what I have seen so far.

Basically the documentary tries to cover some of the different facets of pinball. You have the brief history summary about the birth, illegalization, re-legalization (is that a word?), and ultimately the decline of pinball. Some more data is included like the invention of the flippers. You also have some great interview segments with some key people in the creation of pinball (like the guy responsible for introducing the 2 flippers on the bottom playfield) and some of the key designers(Steve Ritchie, Pat Lawlor, and some people over at Stern). After the brief bistory covering we start jumping around to different pinball topics. The problem with this jump is there is not enough to truly whet ones apetite for the history of pinball. We get a great taste, but then we're ushered into seeing some clips and segments with some pretty hardcore collectors followed by some information on the competitive sector including footage and interviewd of competitive pinball players. Then to make things "interesting" we get some footage of pingeek and how he records pinball machines with a hand held camcorder and sells the recorded dvds. Some of this footage, once again places gamers in a negative light. We get a taste of "normal" people who enjoy pinball and some truly ecentric individuals who just happen to fall into that lovely category of uber geek. No disrespect to these individuals by any means. I am just curious why the film makers spend so much time on of the film on these people. So far the film comes across as spreading itself out too thin. The only main focus point of the film is pinball. That's it. Seems to be too broad of a scope for the film makers to handle.

Overall the film is enjoyable, but can drag on at times. The vague topic of pinball as a theme for the film causes the movie to be disjointed as well as jumping from sub topic go sub topic. Personally "Tilt" was a much more effective and enjoyable movie. The filmmakers for "Tilt" had a focused topic and stuck with it. This causes "Tilt" to stand out as a much better documentary.

So head on over to and check out "Special When Lit" while it is availible and form your own opinion.

-2600 out!

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