Movies => Good Movies => Topic started by: RapscallionJones on September 04, 2007, 08:06:49 AM

Title: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Post by: RapscallionJones on September 04, 2007, 08:06:49 AM
I'd been seeing a lot of hype for this movie but I didn't know much about it.  Ain't It Cool News hasn't been able to shut up about it and for a while their site was plastered with ads for it.  I don't typically trust AICN but there was something nagging at me to check it out and I'm glad that I did. 

Right now, King of Kong is getting the typical limited theatrical run that documentaries get, so it's best to check the website to see where it's playing near you and do everything you can to get there.  It's a great documentary about the most unlikely source of tension and drama that you can conceive of: Competitive Donkey Kong.

What seems like a goof at first is as foolish as it seems and the players that inhabit the Twin Galaxies world of competitive classic gaming are every bit the creepy, mildly autistic nerds that you might expect to have found in an early 80's arcade, hundreds of dollars invested in Centipede, a pair of headphones blasting Journey's 'Escape' into their ear canals.  However, when the alpha-nerd, Billy Mitchell's nigh-untouchable Donkey Kong high score is threatened by a new guy, an ordinary middle school science teacher, the gloves come off and new guy, Steve Wiebe is called upon again and again to prove his worth in the Donkey Kong arena.

Read the full review at Cinema Suicide

Quite frankly, this off-beat documentary is now one of my favorite movies of the year.

Title: Re: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Post by: Mr_Vindictive on September 04, 2007, 08:31:39 AM
I've been wanting to see this one for a few weeks now.  I'm a huge videogame fanatic and am fascinated with the gaming counter-culture.  I'm also a huge documentary fan, so this thing should be like peanut butter and chocolate for me.

Sadly I live in the middle of nowhere and will have to wait till the DVD gets released.

Great review on your site btw!

Title: Re: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Post by: RapscallionJones on September 04, 2007, 10:11:58 AM
Thanks, dude.

I cannot seem to stress this enough.  There is something so perfect about this documentary and it's so difficult to really explain why it's so effective.  As an underdog story, it's fantastic.  Steve Wiebe is such a great protagonist and Billy Mitchell is the perfect villain given the context.  It's also a hilarious comedy.  The apex of Wiebe's score submission tape is played during the movie and as he's about the turn the corner and smash Mitchell's high score, his son is heard yelling from another room, demanding that he come upstairs and wipe his butt for him.  Mitchell can also be heard saying some downright outrageous things.  His sense of self-satisfaction is so great and his sense of accomplishment in the video game world is so horribly misappropriated.  He honestly believes that topping the world in terms of Donkey Kong high scores is on the level of winning a Nobel prize.  At one point he claims that he's an object of controversy and likens his words of wisdom to the abortion debate.  You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Competitive classic gaming is such an insulated world where the participants seem completely oblivious to how low the stakes in their world actually are.  Of these gamers, Mitchell and Joust hall of famer, Steve Sanders, are the only ones who live any kind of ordinary lives (Sanders is an attorney).  Of the rest, Brian Kuh, retired at 30, lives marginally comfortable up in the New Hampshire lakes region where he can be close to Funspot (which is Mecca to classic gaming fans).

I can vouch for Funspot's awesomeness.  I live a couple hours away and my parents used to own a lakehouse in Meredith where Funspot was a twenty minute drive away.  It's a huge arcade, but more than that, it's a museum and every game, in it's original issue cabinet is meticulously cared for and preserved.  I need to keep an eye out for the next Twin Galaxies tournament and see if I can't get up to see some of these guys play.  I'd love to run into Billy Mitchell and see if he's as much a douche in person as he is in the movie.

Title: Re: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Post by: nada on September 07, 2007, 03:03:18 AM
This one was really well made ... like when they spliced together interviews of Billy and his wife. In his I think he's talking about how he doesn't respect people who don't compete in public, then in her interview his wife says that he's never broken a record in public.  Oh man that douche must have been p**sed when he saw that.