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The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
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In the cutthroat world of Donkey Kong, only one can rule! A middle-school science teacher and a hot sauce mogul vie for the Guinness World Record on the arcade classic, Donkey Kong. Steve and Billy engage in a cross-country duel to see who could set the high score and become the King of Kong! Along the way, both men learn valuable lessons about what it means to be a father, a husband, and a true champion - discovering that you don't always need to win to be a winner. "A hilarious and moving study of the obsessive competition between the all-time scoring leader on Donkey Kong, an odd Floridian, and a father of two who gets sucked into a world of mind-blowing passive-aggressiveness." Boston Globe]]>
Top Customer Reviews
The first time you see Billy Mitchell on screen, standing in front of a copy machine wearing a button up shirt and tie, hair unfashionably long and blunt cut, with facial hair right out of the 70s, your first thought is "loser." Some of this comes from the popular image of people who are hard-core game players as not having real lives. It comes a surprise, therefore, to find out that not only is Mitchell a world champion video gamer, he is an exceptionally successful business person who is married and has children. Nevertheless, this doesn't stop him from coming across as a world-class jerk. While this is no doubt due somewhat to editing, no one put words into Mitchell's mouth and after a while you'll want to roll your eyes at his pompous pontificating. Still, he's the rock star of video gamers and the world-record holder in Donkey Kong, and even if you think that people who spend that much time going after such a seemingly useless world record need to get a life, you can't argue with the fact that Billy Mitchell certainly seems to have one, even if you'd never want to be part of it.
Steve Wiebe, on the other hand, is one of those guys you'd love to have as your best friend. Just as no amount of editing could make Billy Mitchell into the jerk he obviously is, no amount of editing in a picture this long could make Steve Wiebe out to be such a good guy if he weren't genuinely good natured.Read more ›
I didn't realize that the interest in retro arcade games is still so intense, as I haven't seen hide nor hair of one of these machines since the 1980s. Director Seth Gordon has fashioned a story from a competition that takes place in front of video game screens by focusing on the characters and the controversy. He digs into Steve Wiebe's past to find motivation, accurate or not, for his obsessive pursuit of the Donkey Kong title. Billy Mitchell is portrayed as a egomaniac who tries to manipulate Twin Galaxies' acceptance of challengers' scores. His fear of defeat after 20 years on top is understandable, even if his actions are not admirable. I have no interest in video games, but "The King of Kong" is a character drama that is at once compelling and curious.Read more ›
Steve Wiebe is almost painfully average. He's a middle-class school teacher who'd been an above average athlete and he plays a couple of musical instruments. He has a good-looking wife and could be a poster boy for suburban America. He also has an almost preternatural ability to play Donkey Kong, and therein lies the trouble.
In order to have his record-breaking score recognized, Steve has to break through and enter into a world of people who probably weren't two-sport athletes and certainly couldn't mingle well at an office Christmas party. In getting his score validated, too, he will be bringing down their king.
Billy Mitchell is the undisputed monarch of these gamers. I'd first read about him in a 2006 article in the now-defunct Oxford American magazine. In that article, the author, David Ramsey, tried to convey Mitchell's cockiness but still be respectful. After this film, I have a new degree of respect for Mr. Ramsey's restraint.
Mitchell is, rightfully, recognized as Gamer of the Century. He's sort of law and order in this world in that he is uniquely qualified to challenge all high score claims. Mitchell is also a successful business man and he's married to a woman who you will not admit is hot in front of your wife, but men get it. Mitchell's success in business and marriage, though, does not tarnish or diminish his status among the gamers. In fact, they likely cheer him on. You expect your hero to do well in all endeavors.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great! wonderfully entertaining, the drama between Steve and Billy makes for a classic underdog story that is very real and human. Read morePublished 27 days ago by David Shoemaker
This is such a great documentary. It deletes into an obscure little corner of the world and introduces you to people too weird to make up.Published 27 days ago by Kurtis Backs
I haven't played Donkey Kong since the 1980's, but I heard about this documentary on Reddit and ordered it. The King of Kong is the best documentary I've seen in years. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JD