The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

If you grew up in the 80s or love a really well-manicured mullet, you'll totally love this movie. And if you don't fall in those categories.....you'll still love it!...cause it's hilarious, well-made, and even brings a small message home at the end. Casey and I saw the documentary, The King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters last weekend and have been urging all friends to check it out. Well worth your time and money.
The basic premise:
"Billy Mitchell, named ''Video Game Player of the Century'' in 1999, set a record score in Donkey Kong that many felt would never be broken. In 2003, Steve Wiebe, who recently lost his job, learned about Billy's record and set out to beat it. With Billy's previous record now shattered, both men embark on a cross-country battle for inclusion in the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records as the supreme king of Donkey Kong."

Now I'm not an Atari junkie or NES for that matter. Yes, I dabble in Mario Kart and Tetris. But you don't have a to be a video game geek to enjoy this. In fact, it's probably more intriguing if you're not because then you are more amazed at the intricacies of the gaming world. (Although, it's pretty much what you think: a bunch of 30-40 year old men sitting in arcades trying to break records. But believe me, there's so much more)
As the film starts, you think it's all pretty silly (and well, it is) but as time goes on, you become invested in the characters and find yourself rooting for some and really despising others. It's great fun! And the message left at the end is simple yet very poignant and one that many of us have seen in our own lives. You can actually be better than the incumbent but still not get a break, unless you're part of their "buddy" network.
If you only go see it for the "Kill Screen" shots that happen when you reach the end of the Donkey Kong game (only 3 people have ever reached one), it's worth it. We were lucky to land a screening with a Q&A with the Director and Producer at the end (the same creators of "New York Doll", another fabulous documentary). They offered great supplemental info and since I don't want to spoil any of the film's twists and turns, I'll continue to be vague and just sum it all up with: go see this film! (and we'll talk after)
It's showing in very limited theaters. But it's in Pasadena this weekend at the Laemmle Playhouse. If they continue to sell-out at the box office, they'll be able to open in wider release across the country. Our screening in Santa Monica was completely full. So let's hope the good word continues to spread. If it's not showing at a theater near you, keep watching for it. And if nothing else, jot it down on your "DVDs to rent" list for a few months down the road.
Don't get Chumpatized!

1 comment:

The Marielle (and Parents) Show said...

Hey Dana,

This is Mary Karlee from SM3. My husband & I were searching for Banana Briefcase films last night on youtube and it made us nostalgic for our friends. After watching clips of Run to Jay's I figured your family seemed like the blogging type and sure enough Google confirmed it. :)

You have a beautiful daughter! what a little cutie! So does 88 miles per hour reference Back to the Future? We have it in our DVD collection. And we love homemade pizza too. We'll be trying your jamaican jerk recipe, soon.

Marielle is our 10-month old daughter, hence our blog is called "the marielle (& parents) show."


So good to hear y'all are doing well (we live in Texas now).

Mary Karlee (& Ryan) Mullen