Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story Reviews
Under the Boardwalk is a surprisingly entertaining affair. I expected a sort of History Channel-esque type of documentary where we'd learn a lot about the history of the game, which this movie basically does, but it also inserts some entertainment value with the tournament play. We go through the basics, learning how the game is played. Then we talk to some people who have made Monopoly more then just part of their life. Some of them live for it. We see the game and how it started. We see the pop culture effect. People have tattoos and name their pets after characters from the game. But the most fun comes from watching the tournament and banter between players.
At times, Under the Boardwalk had the same feel of King of Kong in that the some of the people actually had disdain for some of the other contestants. One guy in particular hated a school teacher because he was thought to have cheated to make it to the U.S. Finals. It's kind of ridiculous to think that these people take the game so seriously, but everybody has their thing. Like people who are into chess or poker and play competitively; so do these players. They are in it to win like any other competition.
This little film isn't amazing, but it is informative and actually a decent amount of fun. I know a documentary on a board game doesn't sound like a great way to spend 88 minutes, but they make it a nice little experience. I love documentaries and will give pretty much any of them a chance, and it's always nice to see one come through that you didn't expect much from. Like Air Guitar Nation or King of Kong, it takes a subject that not too many people know about and show the competitive side of it. This one does quite make it to the level of those two, but it's still a pleasant surprise.
My favorite factoid: when the game was conceived in 1903, it was intended to be a tool of anti-capitalist radicals. Oh the irony. Now it's considered a celebration of the American capitalist system, and this documentary shows that capitalism is a truly universal system that can be understood by anyone anywhere.