Check Out the Trailer for This Palindrome Documentary

Are Mac ‘n’ Oliver ever evil on camera? The Palindromists looks at an idiosyncratic group's world championships, starring S.F. author and word nerd Jon Agee.

Wow, Otto. San Francisco wordplay enthusiast Jon Agee wrote a book on palindromes called Go Hang a Salami! I’m a Lasagna Hog!, and he’s also a main character in a charmingly nerd-tastic documentary on the subject. The Palindromists: A Documentary About the World Palindrome Championship has wrapped up filming, but it’s in the early stages of a fundraising campaign to finish the task. 

With an appearance by none other than “Weird Al” Yankovic, it looks a little like Wordplay, the 2006 film about The New York Times‘ crossword editor, Will Shortz — only with a little more of that real-life-Christopher-Guest-mockumentary magic. God! A red nugget! A fat egg under a dog!

They’re a little too amused by silly phrases like “sex yak,” but who knew palindrome enthusiasts were so vicious, holding up “HUH” signs — like a gladiator getting a thumb’s down — at palindromes they find weak or uninspired? The run-up to the championship shows the moments of brilliant discovery, finding reversible phrases and sentences like “Gerda’s Boston IQ is not so bad, Reg.” And we meet people who say their search for palindromes has become a sickness, as well as a bassoonist for the Utah Symphony who claims she now sees everything backward. To win the glory, they have 90 minutes to construct a palindrome with three unspecified “constraints.” That’s even though “a palindrome with a gun to your head” is far from easy.

With 23 days left in their fundraising campaign, the filmmakers still need about $10,000 to finish post-production work. Check this novel project out miss out, and always remember: “Reviled did I live,” said I, “as evil I did deliver!”

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