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Special When Lit - A Pinball Documentary (NTSC DVD)

4.3 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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(Jan 01, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Special When Lit rediscovers the lure of a lost pop icon - pinball. This American invention made more money than Hollywood through the 50s and 60s. Its success swept the world making it the epitome of 'cool'. Today pinball is all but forgotten. This is the award winning story of the rise and fall of pinball as told by the fans, collectors, designers and champion players from across the globe. Engaging and infectious, Special When Lit will have you revisiting a time when social networking meant hanging in an arcade trying to beat the silver ball. So drop a coin in the slot, it's time to rediscover a lost icon...

Product Details

  • Actors: Roger Sharpe, Tim Arnold, Lyman Sheats Jr, Sam Harvey, John Broughton
  • Directors: Brett Sullivan
  • Producers: Brett Sullivan, Clayton Jacobsen
  • Format: NTSC, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004G6P5VI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,083 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gil Velez on June 13, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This documentary follows in the tradition of great arcade documentaries like King of Kong and Chasing Ghosts. I've watched all of the available pinball documentaries including Tilt and Pinball Passion to date but this one is leaps and bounds over the others with a focus on interesting characters in the hobby and dazzling graphical effects that bring playfields, schematics, and backglasses to life in this great film.

The interjection of the historical information about the hobby along with competition and collector focus pieces kept the DVD moving at a great pace. Some might take offense with the weird characters chosen to interview but it really does give some great insight into the obsession that comes with being a collector in this hobby!!

Fantastic job on this DVD. The only missing was extras and outtakes. I've had this DVD for 5 days and have already watcheed it 4 times. Phenomenal job guys!!

Gil
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Interesting take on the rise and fall of pinball that looks at the psychology, cultural significance, industry, and competitive pressures of the game. Some great interviews with former executives. players, companies collectors and fanboys. Sad to see yet another American icon fade into history. Recommended..
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Good documentary on a not so distant "bygone" era. A true baby boomer delight. Made me seek out and buy a new pinball machine for love of that era. From what I hear, pinball is making a comeback thanks to movies like this. Now I'm a fan of Steve Ritchie.
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I'm a lifetime pinball fan. This movie has got great info on the history of the game, highlights some of those small-town American eccentrics that make any subculture fun, and shows some really amazing pinball playing. Totally good.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Didn't hold my interest as much as some of the other good documentaries I've seen. These include: King of Kong, Step Into Liquid, Undefeated, Riding Giants. You can't go wrong with these!

Special When Lit did a good job of documenting fanatic pinball enthusiasts. It just didn't hold my attention like other good documentaries. And at $20 for the DVD, I expected more.
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I cannot recommend this movie less. As a burgeoning pinball fanatic, it did not teach me all that much about pinball that I didn't already know. This movie is less about educating people about pinball itself as an industry or as a historical entertainment source, but rather focuses on the culture of pinball fandom, highlighting collectors and competitive players. While that could be an interesting look, the people that this movie focuses are for the vast majority of it are rather strange at best and extremely ill mentally at worst. They could not have chosen worse people to represent the pinball hobbyist community. I myself was uncomfortable watching this and the other person I was watching this with, who was not a pinball fan but was interested in learning about it, was completely and utterly turned off from pinball and was so thoroughly disgusted that they did not want me to get involved in pinball as a whole!

If you want a good documentary, look up "Tilt" instead, I have seen it before and it is the better movie easily.
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This is a somewhat plodding documentary. If you are a serious Pinball enthusiast you will love this show. But if you are a serious Pinball enthusiast, you are probably already in this show to begin with.
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Format: DVD
I felt that this production was of a high quality and definitely fun to watch in its attempt to cover most aspects of Pinball (from an industry to the hobby.) Included throughout the film are many industry luminaries, a number of hobbyist, and the top tournament players (circa 2006.)

I'm certain that this movie was produced with entertainment in mind and is definitely not a historical "Ken Burns" type documentary. There are MANY other various productions that may fulfill your thirst for this type of knowledge (I.E. TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball.)

I can see EastCoastArcade's point that this film features primarily extreme examples of Pinball collectors as well as many of the hobby's usual suspects when it comes to "characters". However I do not think it vilifies the Pinball hobby, but rather focuses on a colorful cross-section in an attempt to make the full length feature engaging to a viewer who has no vested interest in Pinball.

If you're someone who does own "multiple" Pin-games but doesn't take yourself or the hobby too seriously, I think probably enjoy this film! On the other hand if you hold a supreme reverence for the hobby... then you might not fully enjoy it. Special When Lit (Blu-ray)
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