Sunday, August 24, 2008

King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters

Alright, so after hearing the buzz for the past few months, including a feature on "Bad Radio Reports," and getting stiffed by a friend who Netflix'd it and then returned it before I called him to borrow it, I finally got around to seeing King Of Kong this afternoon.

For those of you maybe unaware, the film follows Steve Wiebe a science teacher from Redmond, WA as he decides to try and attain the world record score for Donkey Kong, completely unaware of the politics of competitive gaming, and unaware of what a douchebag Billy Mitchell is (the guy pictured above, and that picture doesn't begin to express his asshattery).

Billy Mitchell and his nerd minions (as though I've got room to talk, but shit, I'm the Fonz compared to these guys) take this very, very seriously and will stop at nothing to stop this new guy, whom seems totally normal with a family and two kids, from breaking Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong record which has stood since 1982.

I don't want to say too much, I don't want to spoil it-it's too awesome. Grizzly Man and Timothy Treadwell was a good documentary, but this one is great. The cast of characters and their motives are just so insane. The lenghts they go to both getting and stopping the record, the rolling eyes of Wiebe's wife as she puts up with it all, and the self-importance and low grade fame Mitchell and his people assign themselves is priceless. The director does a great job projecting Mitchell as the antagonist.

It's good stuff, not terribly deep but a fascinating and lighthearted documentary most anyone who's every played Donkey Kong or Pac Man could enjoy.

EDIT 08/25: As it turns out the Grizzly Man Returneth as The Grizzly Man Diaries, another documentary using Timothy Treadwell's grizzly bear footage, will air on Animal Planet beginning August 29. Awesome.

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