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The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
"The King of Kong" (original title)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 27,575 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 98 user | 151 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

Die-hard gamers compete to break world records on classic arcade games.

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Title: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

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About rivals battling for supremacy in vidgame 'Donkey Kong.'

Director: Seth Gordon
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself - Donkey Kong Challenger
Mark Alpiger ...
Himself
Adam Wood ...
Himself
Walter Day ...
Himself - World's Video Game Referee
...
Himself - Author: Master's Guide to Donkey Kong
Steven Krogman ...
Himself
Robert Mruczek ...
Himself - Head Referee, Twin Galaxies
Doris Self ...
Herself - Q*bert Contender
Todd Rogers ...
Himself
Brian Kuh ...
Himself - Donkey Kong Expert
Zack Hample ...
Himself
...
Himself
Barbara Mitchell ...
Herself
Jon Farley ...
Himself
Nicole Wiebe ...
Herself - Steve's Wife
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Storyline

In the early 1980s, legendary Billy Mitchell set a Donkey Kong record that stood for almost 25 years. This documentary follows the assault on the record by Steve Wiebe, an earnest teacher from Washington who took up the game while unemployed. The top scores are monitored by a cadre of players and fans associated with Walter Day, an Iowan who runs Funspot, an annual tournament. Wiebe breaks Mitchell's record in public at Funspot, and Mitchell promptly mails a controversial video tape of himself setting a new record. So Wiebe travels to Florida hoping Mitchell will face him for the 2007 Guinness World Records. Will the mind-game-playing Mitchell engage; who will end up holding the record? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Don't get chumpatized. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a brief sexual reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 February 2008 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$51,493 (USA) (17 August 2007)

Gross:

$674,925 (USA) (19 October 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve Wiebe regained the title on September 20, 2010 with 1,064,500 points. See more »

Goofs

The Donkey Kong cabinet that Steve Wiebe installs in his garage is a combo Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr. cabinet, however the markings on the cabinet are those of a stand-alone Donkey Kong Jr. cabinet. Wiebe specially purchases and installs the "brains" (PCB) of the combo game into his Donkey Kong Jr. cabinet in the course of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Walter Day: This rivalry is among the greatest: the Yankees and Red Sox... Hekyll and Jekyll.
See more »

Connections

Features Ms. Pac-Man (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Saved
Written and Performed by Steve Wiebe
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User Reviews

 
a truly exciting, funny, and inspiring 'sports' movie about the players of the toughest game in the world
9 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If it weren't for the sincerity of it all- or maybe because of it- King of Kong could be conceived of as a mockumentary. But there's no joking with these guys, which sometimes makes it a lot of fun to watch the competition between Billy Mitchell and Steve Weebie (right way to say the name?), where sycophants and idiosyncrasies fly on the former's self-spun empire/network and on the latter just your average suburban housewife and kids going somewhat begrudgingly along the ride. It's a saga though not just about them, but about the world of gaming, of the mind-set that pervades everyone from lawyers to 'Roy Awesome' to little old ladies competing at Qubert, and the nature of competition itself. Not since Rocky- and maybe even better in its exuberance and humility- has one seen a tale of the underdog and the king played out in odds that should seem somewhat silly.

But what's so amazing is how first-time director Seth Gordon plunges the viewer into this world, and it's immediately recognizable to anyone over 18 and under, well, 55 to 100- anyone who's ever gone to play one of the "old-school" arcade games like Donkey Kong or Pacman/Mrs. Pacman or even Pong. We see how the players have to not just go into the games haphazardly by luck; like football, there's game-plans and strategies, and like that sport there are also some obstacles that are apart of the nature of the design of the sport. There's a whole incredible facet one takes for granted, for example, about the technology of the machines, which despite being eclipsed many times over by new systems can still be tampered with, as is the case with Steve's first machine that reaches the top score, and then discredited because of a chip possibly (or not) being replaced or implanted in to give leverage at a non-gamer store.

Yet the more slippery side-stepping for players is what's even more intriguing. Characterization can be a tricky thing for the documentary director to deal with, but in King of Kong it becomes something of a controversy left by the wayside as Billy surpasses Steve's score with a game he played recorded on videotape- while Steve set his score by an official Twin Galaxies referee (Walter Day, to be exact, who's a character in and of himself)- with more than a few skips right were the score should register. Saying it skims the line of reality and mockumentary comes with the territory- after a while watching Mitchell is like watching someone who's improvising as he goes along, hiding behind his perfectionist guise as a world-class champ and purveyor of fine hot sauces with his fake-buxom wife and lackeys watching every move Steve makes.

Aside from it being compelling storytelling as one sees the transformation of Steve from failed baseball pitcher and drummer to a Donkey Kong (and Donkey Kong Junior) champ, making all-time high scores while his kids cry about their poor behinds, it's one of the best kinds of sport-genre features in years. Many times one sees this played out, and it's been parodied in the likes of Dodgeball ("Nobody makes me bleed my own blood" came to mind once or twice looking at Mitchell, and his smart but biased cronies are like classic supporting characters), and the clichés and conventions get the better of the narrative. This time there's no pressure to push it into what's expected: we genuinely care what happens in this battle of the joystick, as Steve sheds genuine tears playing his ass off at all accounts of live events whilst Billy sulks away in his living room hearing the updates on his phone.

As far as triumph-of-the-human-spirit stories go, King of Kong is hilarious entertainment, sometimes for all the strangest (Day's would-be musical career) and silliest reasons (what's so special about the Guiness book of records, Steve's daughter asks), but engrossing as documentaries should get- one of the best of the year in fact.


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