Monday, September 03, 2007

City Life: Overheard at Balboa Theatre/Superbad

Man in line after paying for movie ticket: "Hey, where's the restroom?"

Young, hip, weary ticket guy: "See those two signs there?" He gestures to his right.

Man in line: "Oh, you mean those huge signs that say 'Restrooms, men and women'?" He ambles off. Woman with him looks at me and giggles in embarrassment.

Young, hip, weary ticket guy (to me): "Yeah, we keep the restrooms at the end of a GIANT maze to confuse everyone." He artfully rolls his eyes.

The Balboa Theatre is an older movie theatre located in the Outer Richmond out by 35th Avenue. Some days might be sunny, but the nights always seem to have it shrouded in fog. I don't mind driving out there since it's just on the other side of GGP from my apartment. Parking can be a bit of a pain, but at least you can find it.

Superbad (2007)

Dir. Greg Mottola

Recommended. Superbad doesn't get its own separate entry. I liked it. It was stunningly crude in parts, particularly the language, but I have to admit getting a little thrill from it all. I laughed out loud many times, but I had seen "King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" less than a half hour earlier and that was a much funnier, better film.

I really enjoyed their mega-nerdy friend Fogall and his "journey" in the movie. Great soundtrack (good soul music).

A fun time.

Movie Musings: King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

Dir. Seth Gordon

This is a documentary about two men competing for the highest score in the arcade game classic, Donkey Kong.

Highly Recommended. This is a really good movie.

The world of video game competition is one that I'm completely unfamiliar with. This movie opens that world up, as small and nutty as it is, to someone like me who has never, ever given a thought to it.

And yet...this movie was really interesting. The gaming world has its own rules and obsessions. Sometimes you can't believe that these people are that into it, but they are. The rivalry between the two men, world champ Billy Mitchell and up-and-coming contender Steve Wiebe, makes for some riveting storytelling. Will underdog Steve beat Billy's record? Is Billy as shifty as he seems in the movie? Will Steve's wife give up on him? Will Billy show up and play in public? What's up with that videotape, anyway?

And this story is moving because we are following the trials and tribulations of the people involved. Steve's underdog status isn't just for the Donkey Kong high score, but also applies to most of his life.

Lastly, this movie is hilarious. From the bizarre comments and behavior by the gamers who are deadly serious about this business, to the situations both men find themselves in, to the blurted comments from the mouths of kids, this movie is laugh-out-loud funny.

Go see it or rent it. At the very least, you'll have something really interesting to tell your friends and family about.