Awards–Won the Best Documentary at the Westchester Film Festival, 2006
Won Best Feature Film at the Wisconsin Film Festival, 2006
Summary–Shows what goes on in Stevens Point, Wisconsin for one weekend every April, when they host the biggest trivia contest in the world.
My Thoughts–I loved this movie so much!!!! I think it is my favorite documentary that I have watched in all the many I have seen recently. This subject holds a special place in my heart because I recently started playing on a trivia team with my dad and sister. It is nothing like the contest in Stevens Point, there are only 50 teams instead of over 400, but we did come in first once. It was glorious!
The contest in Stevens Point takes place over 54 straight hours and is hosted by the local college radio station. Over 11,000 people take part every year. The questions are read over the radio and each team has the length of two songs to call in with the correct answer. Teams can use any method they choose to find the answer. Some use multiple computers, while others refuse to use the internet, preferring the old fashioned way of books and notes.
Watching this documentary was absolutely fascinating to me. First of all, these people are extremely hardcore. They don’t just do this one weekend a year, they train for it all the time. They take notes during every movie they see and even during commercials. They save wrappers from candy, cereals, and cookies. They do this because the questions are not general knowledge questions. They are crazy, obscure, pop culture references that are so specific that they are ridiculous.
One of my favorite scenes involved a question that was something like “in a movie, character x gives his wife a book after having kidney surgery. What is the name of the book he gives her.” The question actually had a few more details than that, but not many. One of the teams found the name of the movie and realized they had a copy of the movie out in their car. There is a very suspenseful scene where a woman runs out to her car, brings back the DVD, and as they are fast forwarding through the movie they are all screaming at the tv. They are yelling “Open it, you bitch!!” Because of course, she has to unwrap the present. They finally get the name of the book just as the second song ends. That is what makes trivia awesome.
The filmmakers spend a lot of time introducing several different teams that take part in the competition. Many of the teams have been doing this for over 25 years. There is Network, which is the team that has won 16 times and everyone wants to beat. There are the Cakers, who are basically the party team. Every time they are on screen they are downing more Guinness or going on a liquor run. There is Norm’s Stool, which play a very serious game and seem to be pissed off all the time. There are the ladies of Dyslexics of the World Untie, one of whom happens to be married to the man who makes the questions. Then there are the Knights of Neek, who look like one great big family with kids and grownups working together.
I loved seeing just how much the trivia contest was a part of people’s lives. It literally is a huge part of who these people are. Some of them take the contest very seriously, but most of the teams do it just to have fun. Many people point out that most of the people who do the contest no longer live in the area, but they come back every year for one weekend to see their friends and be a part of this amazing thing.
Final Verdict–If you enjoy trivia, or nerds, or things that are awesome, you have to check out this documentary!
P.S. The contest is actually taking place this weekend. Go to their official website to listen to the questions over the internet.