July 29, 2006

Crossword fiends in the movies

And I'm not talking about Wordplay (for a change). The poorly reviewed new M. Night Shyamalan movie, Lady in the Water, includes as a supporting character a crossword fanatic portrayed by Jeffrey Wright. According to Roger Ebert's website editor Jim Emerson's review, in one scene, Wright's character tries to extrapolate clues from a folded newspaper, prompting one of the tenants to exclaim: "Wow! He's hearing the voice of god from a crossword puzzle!"

Words used in various movie reviews to describe this character include fiend, fanatic, whiz, enthusiast, expert, addict, lover, wordsmith, maven, devotee, fan, wizard, buff, sleuth, puzzle master, aficionado, and a plain ol' solver—a man obsessed with crossword puzzles, a man with a penchant, aptitude, and fondness for crosswords. In this article, a critic says, Jeffrey Wright, a brilliant actor, plays a guy who just stepped out of "Wordplay" with his ability to work crosswords but nothing else. (Wordplay as pop-culture referent!)

What were the odds that two movies this summer would feature people who enjoy crosswords at an obsessive level? Ah, the glamor.

One of the upcoming movies in my Netflix queue is Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which I saw last summer but my husband didn't. I no longer remember whether it was Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt who was working a crossword in the movie; I think it was Brad Pitt, maybe using a pen? Must watch DVD to study crossword scene more closely...