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Movie Night: Real-Life Competition

So many movies, so little time. Thankfully, BuzzSugar is here to help you sort through them all! Each week, I'll choose a theme for a Movie Night and feature three must-see movies in keeping with that theme. This week's theme: competition documentaries.

It's hard to go wrong with a good true-life competition tale. Whether following the high-level Scrabble circuit (Word Wars) or professional bowlers (A League of Ordinary Gentlemen), these stories have extreme drama, anticipation, triumph, and failure built right in. So spend an evening living through the agony and the ecstasy with my three picks for the best competition documentaries.

Mad Hot Ballroom
In 2005's Mad Hot Ballroom, New York City fifth-graders are led into the strange world of ballroom dancing. As they learn how to swing, tango, and act like little ladies and gentlemen, you can just feel the adolescent hormones rage. (Remember what it was like to partner-dance when you were 12?) It's so adorable to watch the kids practicing in front of their mirrors that, by the time the competition rolls around, you'll want everyone to win.

Two more, so

In this mesmerizing documentary, devil-may-care quadriplegic athletes hurtle — in specially fortified wheelchairs — through the cutthroat, full-contact sport of quad rugby. As the film follows the U.S. national team to the 2004 Paralympic Games, we're treated to killer game footage and unflinching insight into what it's like to be paralyzed. Plus, had Mark Zupan, the film's main "character," been any more charming, I might have quit my job to become a quad-rugby groupie.

This ain't your average kiddie spelling bee. Spellbound takes us into the inner workings of the National Spelling Bee, as seen through the eyes of eight young competitors. Leading up to the competition, we're given intimate insights into their bizarre study habits, diverse home lives, surprising motivations, and setbacks. The dedication and hopefulness these kids exhibit is so inspiring, they'll all be winners in your eyes.

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