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Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game (2022) - IMDbReview

Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game (Biography, Comedy, Drama) [Based on True Events] (2022)


Director: Austin Bragg, Meredith Bragg

Writer: Austin Bragg, Meredith Bragg

Stars: Mike Faist, Dennis Boutsikaris, Crystal Reed, Christopher Convery

With a fascination for Pinball, writing an article and a book about it, a young man tries to convince New York City officials to overturn a gambling ban concerning pinball machines.

Based on the actual events throughout the 1970s, Pinball was banned by several states. The Bragg brothers Austin and Meredith provide a quasi-documentary-style comedy-drama about Roger Sharpe and his love for Pinball. Being shown across American film festivals, initially ‘’Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game’’ was eventually released for wider audiences on March 17, 2023. It has been produced by MPI Original Films and Choice Films while being distributed by Vertical Entertainment.

An enormous fanatic of Pinball, Roger Sharpe (Mike Faist, Dennis Boutsikaris), writing for GQ Magazine, worked to have the New York ban lifted in the 1970s. Demonstrating that instead of a game of chance, it takes skill and thus so not fairly judged as gambling. Afterwards, overturning the law against it.

Pinball - The man who saved the gameWithin a comedic biography, the Bragg brothers encapsulate Roger Sharpe’s chronicle of how the gambling ban in New York was reversed. Returning the arcade game to arcades, bars and any other venue that saw the popularity of these machines.

HIFF Review: “Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game” Takes an Admirable Shot  but Never Quite Sinks It | Film Festival Today''Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game'' reveals how pinball machines were banned and destroyed by many US states. It also covers the legal battle between Faist's Sharpe and the Amusement and Music Operators Association against the City Council, while showcasing Sharpe's personal life.

Often topics such as those seen in this film can seem too complicated, getting lost in legalities and the history behind it. Here, it’s kept light—using Boutsikaris as an older version of Faist’s Roger Sharpe narrating ample parts. The humour stems from these moments where the narration puts a spin on the straightforwardness, to the dismay of the faux-interviewer or director. Faist isn’t just there as a poster boy either, though, despite needing time to grow into his role, not convincing immediately with his awkwardness, certainly compared to the impish Boutsikaris. Surprising, too, were parts by Reed and Batt; while Reed comes across much like I’m familiar with, despite supposedly having Pinball as the focus, relationship drama took the cake—not forgetting Bryan Batt’s queer quips either, maybe somewhat exaggerated but it works.

Truly, this is a film not to miss. Once you’re used to the documentary angle, it captivates easily with its comedic behaviour. The weight is equally distributed between actors, most not as familiar to general audiences… The Braggs comprehend the strong points and manage to keep their script lively with plenty of surprises for those unfamiliar with how New York City lifted the ban on Pinball.


Boutsikaris: The Man Who Saved the Movie