Josh Waitzkin is just a typical American boy interested in baseball when one day he challenges his father at chess and wins. Showing unusual precocity at the outdoor matches at Washington Square in New York City, he quickly makes friends with a hustler named Vinnie who teaches him speed chess. Josh's parents hire a renowned chess coach, Bruce, who teaches Josh the usefulness of measured planning. Along the way Josh becomes tired of Bruce's system and chess in general and purposely throws a match, leaving the prospects of winning a national championship in serious jeopardy.Written by
Rick Gregory <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Near the beginning of the movie, when Josh's mom picks him up from school, the shorter, brown-haired woman she is seen talking with briefly is the mother of the real Josh Waitzkin. See more »
Ben Kingsley portrays Bruce Pandolfini as speaking with an Irish accent. Pandolfini is a New Yorker of Italian and Jewish heritage, and has no such accent. See more »
[about Bobby Fischer]
In the days before the event, the whole world wondered if he would show up. Plane after plane waited on the runway, while he napped, took walks, and ate sandwiches. Henry Kissinger called and asked him to go for his country's honor. Soon after arriving, he offended the Icelanders by calling their country inadequate because it had no bowling alleys. He complained about the TV cameras, about the lighting, about the table and chairs, and the contrast of the ...
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The original film ends with a title card stating that Josh still plays chess
along with several other activities, indicating that he has a well-rounded life. When the film was broadcast on NBC in 1996, this title card was updated: it now stated that Josh was working to become a grandmaster, and that he now considered Jack Kerouac, not Bobby Fischer, to be his primary influence.
This is such a great film! And there is more than one reason why I believe this.
First of all, Ben Kingsley is one of my favorite actors. And this movie(along with "Sneakers", "Death and the Maiden", "Twelfth Night", and "Sexy Beast"), really helps me believe that. And I believe that this is one of his best characters, and best films.
As far as Max Pomeranc's acting is concerned...wonderful. Even today I can't think of a kid who's had a better performance. Truly good acting. And sadly for his short lived career, I'd have to say he was in his prime there.
The creativity in this film is awesome! My favorite scene is when Bruce(Kingsley) is teaching Josh(Pomerac) the dynamics of chess, and when the camera flips back and forth between the chess pieces, each time building up the conversation, and going up the ladder of significant pieces. Powerful scene, with powerful lessons.
I also enjoy that if you don't have much of an interest in chess, that it still keeps you capitvated. I wasn't as interested in chess until I saw this movie. And I'm even more interested in film (I thought that I couldn't be more interested).
And finally...the score. I love James Horner. And this is one of the reasons why. Along with "Sneakers", "Braveheart", and many other Horner scores, I find it makes the movie that much better.
Truly a movie to remember always.
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