I recall seeing Searching for Bobby Fischer in the theater when it came out in 1993. I also recall enjoying it, but if you asked me for any details about the film I would have been hard pressed to give you more than: chess, a kid savant, and Bobby Fischer wasn’t the focus of the story. When I saw that Netflix was streaming the movie I decided to refresh my memory and see if it was as good as I vaguely remembered.
The story, straight from the synopsis:
After watching speed chess in Washington Square Park, 7-year-old Josh Waitzken (Max Pomeranc) gets hooked on the game. Josh’s father (solidly played by Joe Mantegna) learns that his son is a chess whiz and decides to hire an implacable chess master (Ben Kingsley) to coach the boy. When Josh is entered into high-stress competitions, what was once a pleasant hobby turns into a source of anxiety and indignation, forcing dad to reassess his decision.
Random thoughts as I watched the story progress:
- I don’t know how to play chess
- Ben Kingsley has hair and an Irish accent?
- Soundtracks can be soooo manipulative
- Do that many people play chess in the big city?
- Max Pomeranc looks like Elijah Wood
- Before he was Frodo, Elijah Wood was in the movie North – AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
- When in doubt, show Josh’s puppy dog eyes
- Laurence Fishburne here vs. Laurence Fishburne in the movie 21 – same person?
- I really do enjoy typical sports movie narratives and the Karate Kid, teacher/student type relationships
- Why is this movie failing to capitalize on those narratives and that relationship?
- Why is everyone so deadly serious in this movie?
- I wonder if Bobby Fischer watched this
- Did Robin Williams get some of his ideas for his role in Good Will Hunting from Ben Kingsley in this flick? Hmmm…
- I still don’t know how to play chess
- We like to think there are two kinds of “sports parents” in this world – those who go overboard and those who could care less
- Do the kids ever get in arguments with each other in these chess tournaments?
- I kind of like the two polarizing teachers element – Ben Kingsley the traditionalist vs. Laurence Fishburne the streetwise
- Is this movie responsible for motivating the mind boggling “we don’t keep score” movement in youth sports these days? Hmmm…
- Why doesn’t Netflix allow me to use half stars in my ratings?
- I like Rudy. I like sappy (sometimes). I still like this movie overall.