by Transmute Jun
The 80s are a hot retro decade. Recent programs (Stranger Things, Young Sheldon) and films (Ready Player One, Wonder Woman 1984) capitalize on the popularity of this time period. And one of the most well-known items from the 1980s is the Rubik’s Cube. While it was released in 1975, the Rubik’s Cube’s popularity surged in the 80s, taking its place in the ranks of pop culture icons. And as it did, the people who could solve this puzzle, and solve it fast (known as cubers), found themselves the center of attention.
As the internet became more widely used in the 90s, cubers began posting videos of themselves online and gaining followers. Speed cubing competitions grew in popularity, and with them, the rise of world champions. Feliks Zemdegs, one of the first such champions, is a main subject of Netflix‘s The Speed Cubers documentary. The film focuses on Feliks’ relationship with the cuber who rose up to challenge him, Max Park. Yet rather than focusing on the competition between the two, The Speed Cubers turns the idea of rivalry on its head, instead showcasing the friendship, warmth and camaraderie that exists in the world of speedcubing. Feliks actually becomes something of a role model for Max, whose struggles with autism had caused him to be otherwise socially isolated. Rather than cheering for a competitor, this documentary has viewers cheering for good sportsmanship, friendship and respect, things that we could all use more of in our daily lives.
In a world where news reports are currently full of hate and anger, it is refreshing to see an environment of friendship, fun and good sportsmanship. The Speed Cubers (currently streaming on Netflix) will be a bright spot on anyone’s watchlist.
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