6 user 3 critic

Special When Lit (2009)

What made more money than the entire American movie industry through the 50s and 60s? Pinball. Special When Lit rediscovers the lure of a lost pop icon. A product of the mechanical and ... See full summary »


Brett Sullivan

Watch Now

With Prime Video



Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

After murdering a young girl, Angela Baker assumes her identity and travels to Camp New Horizons, built on the grounds of the camp she terrorized the year before, and starts killing again.

Director: Michael A. Simpson
Stars: Pamela Springsteen, Tracy Griffith, Michael J. Pollard
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1998 pinball was dying, thanks to a saturated market and shrinking player base. Williams, the world's largest pinball manufacturer, planned to abandon the game in favor of the more ... See full summary »

Director: Greg Maletic
Stars: Duncan Brown, Larry DeMar, George Gomez
Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Die-hard gamers compete to break world records on classic arcade games.

Director: Seth Gordon
Stars: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell, Mark Alpiger
Blood Rage (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

As kids, Todd is institutionalized for a murder whilst his twin goes free. 10 years later, on Thanksgiving, Todd escapes and a killing spree begins in his neighborhood.

Director: John Grissmer
Stars: Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Julie Gordon


Credited cast:
Roger Sharpe Roger Sharpe ... Himself
Rick Stetta Rick Stetta ... Himself
Sam Harvey Sam Harvey ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tim Arnold Tim Arnold ... Himself
John Broughton John Broughton ... Himself
Steve Epstein Steve Epstein ... Himself
Josh Pingeek Kaplan Josh Pingeek Kaplan ... Himself
Pat Lawlor Pat Lawlor ... Himself
Lyman Sheats Lyman Sheats ... Himself
Gary Stern Gary Stern ... Himself


What made more money than the entire American movie industry through the 50s and 60s? Pinball. Special When Lit rediscovers the lure of a lost pop icon. A product of the mechanical and electrical age, the American invention swept the world and defined cool. Now it is relegated to a nostalgic footnote deserving a better fate. Joining the fans, collectors, designers and champion players from across the globe who share a world many of us didn't know still existed. Written by BSullivan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pinball | icon | flipper | See All (3) »


Rediscover a lost icon










Release Date:

17 April 2010 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Australia See more »


Box Office


$150,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Steam Motion and Sound See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Koi Morris can be seen briefly in Ecstacy of Order: The Tetris Masters, at the 5:00 mark, standing next to Ben Mullen. See more »


References Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Wannabe King of Kong unfortunately has to resort to cheap potshots
20 June 2010 | by jonsjunk-2See all my reviews

At times, Special When Lit seems to be looking for the answer to the question of whether or not pinball is dead. At other times during this slow-paced pseudo-documentary it seems its purpose was tacked on, and the film is simply a random slice of pinball life. My guess is that in early test screenings the general response was "It's kind of interesting and funny, but it doesn't really have a point."

They also felt they had to imitate King of Kong by finding people to make fun of, but where KoK ultimately has a soft spot for its protagonists and outcasts, too much of Special feels mean-spirited. It takes its shots - nay, it goes out of its way to take its shots - and then the film switches subjects entirely, looking for fresh meat.

Mostly, Special just plays like a eulogy to Pinball, and I don't know how many people would pay to watch a eulogy no matter how many flashing lights and fast edits. The interviews of industry notables are mostly confined to events that happened decades ago, reminiscing about "the good old days". But the film never truly challenges its subjects with how they might envision a better future. Maybe the answer is still a bleak one but Special doesn't try very hard.

Once you get passed the so-so interviews and cheap humor, the film has an interesting segment on competitive play that is probably the most even-handed in the film. It focuses on the yearly pinball championship held near Pittsburg and the action is addicting. Several top competitors are interviewed and provide an insight into how it's possible to play a game with skill and consistency that many consider a matter of luck.

Could pinball ever make a comeback? The film just seems interested in why that could never happen. Yet at the iPad's launch one of the top selling titles was a pinball game, and the same company sold three million units of similar pinball titles on the iPhone. It's not a failure of Special When Lit to see possibilities - one gets the feeling it just isn't interested in them.

5 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed