Special When Lit
With quality production values, and a subject chalk-full of nostalgia, (not to mention flashing lights, bells and whistles), today’s movie, Special When Lithas all the potential to be a great documentary. But it isn’t. The film which covers the rise and decline of the pinball industry provides a lot of good information, and introduces the viewer to some interesting characters, but the narrative structure is weak to the point of non-exsistance.
This movie wants to be the next King of Kong, but while that movie had a neat cohesive narrative thread, following two rival players, and using their story as the basis for further exploring the world of competitive arcade gaming, Special When Lit has nothing to hold it together. The film starts out covering the tumultuous rise, peak and beginnings of the decline of the pinball industry, then it suddenly shifts gears for forty minutes, providing haphazard coverage of the current professional pinball competition, then slams back into the further decline and future of the industry. There is really nothing to hold it together. Maybe some narration would have helped provide some tonal consistency, or maybe the film could have devoted more focus throughout the film to one or two of the interview subjects, but it doesn’t do these things, and as a result is a non-compelling, boring series of almost unconnected vignettes. It’s not worth watching.