akeelah and the bee
scoboco couldn't wait to see this movie about an 11-year-old girl from south central los angeles who makes it to (and wins??!!???) the national spelling bee, so when they had "sneak previews" a couple of saturdays ago, we were all over it. the verdict: totally LOVED it. like, cheering in our seats loved it, along with the rest of the packed house that night.
yeah, turns out spelling bees are the PERFECT vehicle for ratcheting up movie-tension. there's the individual dealing with her own fears, strengths, limitations, quirks; there's direct competition, especially as the field of contestants narrow; there's luck, in that the word chosen to spell seems pretty random; and there's no time limit, so the "action" can be strectched out as long the director likes.
anyway, the three of us smiled and laughed (akeelah is an extremely appealing character), we squirmed in nervous excitement during the bees, we got all choked up at the end. and i thought laurence fishburne (as akeelah' reluctant coach/mentor... who, of course, learns a thing or two from his student) was terrific, as was angela basset, playing akeelah's strong-yet-fearful mom.
so now we've seen bees documentary (spellbound), musical (putnam county), and family-movie. next?