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Spellbound (2002)Spellbound (2002)

           A movie about a spelling bee?! Yes, and it is good if not great, which is why Spellbound was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002. Every year over 9 million kids compete in local spelling bees. I can remember mine forty years ago, can you? The winnowing process brings 249 regional winners to the National Spelling Bee finals for two days of competition at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC. that are televised live by ESPN. This documentary follows the family stories of eight children from drastically different backgrounds who made it to the 1999 finals. My favorite was Angela who came from a rural farm in Texas where her father is a laborer who entered the country as an illegal alien and who still does not speak English. Then there are the blue bloods with driven parents who hire private tutors for their kids in between horseback lessons, an introverted wunderkind Ted from Rolla, Missouri who does not study at all, and April whose father owned a run-down bar for forty-five years and whose mother is a ringer for Archie Bunker's wife Edith. Watch the film to see which one of these likable kids takes home the first prize of $10,000.

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