Monday, September 03, 2007

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.

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