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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It was just because of its title that this 2007 Seth Gordon film, The
King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (isn't the title one of the great
ones?), gained my entire attention when it was listed in IMDb as a new
release. Since then and after reading more or less about it The King of
Kong became one of my most wanted films.
During last year's December I saw for the very first time the South Park 2007 episode More Crap and it became immediately one of my favourite South Park episodes of all time. Why I'm mentioning this? Well, and actually while seeing that episode back in December, without having seen yet Seth Gordon's 2007 film certainly, I never had in my mind The King of Kong (why would I?) so it was a total surprise to find out, by listening to the DVD commentary of the South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, that the main storyline of More Crap was based on The King of Kong (after hearing that fact I was like "damn, I really must check out that film"). The main storyline of More Crap is the classic story of the man that is a nobody "fighting" against the super star and everything that surround the star, in that case was Stan's dad Randy against Bono and certainly Randy was the Steve Wiebe and Bono the Billy Mitchell but Randy wasn't trying to achieve a video game world record but he was trying to enough said, check out that awesome episode!
Now, I have never played the classic Donkey Kong (the first Mario Bros video game ever) or in other words, thanks to this film I heard for the very first time about Billy Mitchell, Walter Day (and Twin Galaxies, the Gunnies bock of records ) and about everyone else in the film. But this, like others have pointed out, is not just for video games fans, at one point Wiebe says something like "I think it is not more about Donkey Kong", certainly is about getting the deserved recognition at something. But this is also for anyone since is just extremely entertaining, always great fun with the story of Twin Galaxies, the stuff about one of the hardest games ever, etc.
Since 1982, Billy Mitchell who is a hot-sauce company owner in
Hollywood Flordia, he's also a legendary video game wizard who has been
making great scores playing "Donkey Kong" over many years even with
"Centipede". However there is a 35 year old rival named Steve Wiebe is
a state champion in Seattle Washington and has made a good score over
the years on the classic "Donkey Kong" game. Steve is on his journey to
compete with Billy in a video game competition in Hollywood Flordia to
see who is the "King of Kong".
Exciting, funny and fascinating documentary-comedy feature that gives the viewers glimpses of retro video games from the 80's and video game culture. This unique and brilliant movie is one of 2007's best movies as i give kudos to Seth Green who directed this movie for making this special movie that shows what video game geek life is really like and has a nice moral to the story.
A must see!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow. This film took me a bit by surprise as I never realized people
cared so much about establishing and maintaining records for best
classic video game scores! In the scheme of things, this all seems
rather unimportant to the average viewer--it certainly was to me.
However, despite the seemingly mundane aspects of such a record, there
is quite a lot to this documentary.
Before discussing what the film asserts, I should point out that there is a lot of controversy about the fairness and accuracy of the film. The "bad guy" in the film (Billy Mitchell) contends that he's been terribly misrepresented as does Twin Galaxies, an organization that maintains and verifies records of these games. I have no idea who is totally right and totally wrong, though even if the documentary has a bias (which, I'm sure it does), the film is an amazing psychological study of two very strange men--Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell.
As for Wiebe, he's portrayed as an underdog--a family man who is a nice guy and who is fighting against the combined weight of Mitchell and Twin Galaxies. However, I was stunned how Wiebe "checked out" on his family--spending all his time playing the game even when he was out of work. Even though Wiebe later seemingly broke the world record for Donkey Kong (an event comparable to curing cancer or bringing world peace according to some), it sure seemed as if Mitchell and Twin Galaxies took it very, very personally. That's because once Wiebe videotaped himself breaking the record and was told by a Twin Galavies judge that it was verified, an unusual step occurred--friends of Mitchell (the old record holder and video game god) showed up on behalf of this organization to inspect Wiebe's machine--seemingly forcing themselves into the Wiebe household like the SS. I have no idea how forceful this really was (the film makes it seem pretty nasty), but the bottom line is now they didn't want to count the record because Wiebe was associated with a rogue gamer (????). However, this is a seemingly unprecedented step AND Mitchell's records that were on tape were accepted without question--and it seemed like the film implied that Mitchell and Twin Galaxies were working together.
The problem gets worse, as in response, Wiebe attends an annuals gamers event and tries to set the record in public so there would be no doubt. He succeeded, but the whole thing looked amazingly sleazy--with a Mitchell minion (Brian Kuh) watching every move Wiebe made AND talking to Mitchell across the country by phone throughout--all of which you actually get to see in the film as it's happening. The Twin Galaxies folks, too, talked to Mitchell during this record-breaking event--an odd relationship in that they extended this favor to Mitchell. Once Wiebe breaks the record in public, one of Mitchell's supporters brought out an old videotape that Mitchell made a long time ago but "forgot to send to Twin Galaxies" in which he surpasses Wiebe's new record. This seemed amazingly convenient and although the videotape was a bit fuzzy, Mitchell's new score was accepted without further review--the crowd was not allowed to watch it again and Mitchell's machine was not personally examined and taken apart. Talk about a stacked deck!!
Now to me, who is the greatest Donkey Kong player is unimportant. What's fascinating is to watch Mitchell, as he APPEARS to be a rather angry man who seems to run Twin Galaxies as well as use his "posse" to do his dirty work--this is so weird. Early in the film, he talks like a nice guy and wishes others luck in surpassing his records. His actions on the film say otherwise. If this is the true picture of Mitchell, then the documentary does a great job of exposing him as well as his ultra-tight relationship with Twin Galaxies. If it isn't, then I feel sorry for him--at least to a point. Some of his actions simply seem indefensible.
The film makers set out to make Wiebe the hero and underdog and in this sense, they were very successful. After reading through the internet (including the Twin web site), I STILL am not sure of the truth, though Mitchell did not acquit himself well in the film. If he's not a sore loser, the film sure painted him as one. A fascinating and compelling portrait--though I still think the whole record thing is pretty silly. After all, in the scheme of things, it all just doesn't seem that important and it is supposed to be a game!
PS--One of the funnier and more pathetic parts of the film really didn't have to do with either Mitchell or Wiebe. One guy is talking about his love for Centipede and desire to set a world record because he felt it would "get him chicks"--dream on!!
A film that will make you ask the question: "Are there really people
like this living out there in the world?"
"The King of Kong" chronicles the ongoing rivalry between two celebrities of the video gaming world: nice guy Steve Wiebe (pronounced WEE-bee) and jackass Billy Mitchell, world record holder for his Donkey Kong score. Our sympathies easily lie with Wiebe, who just wants to break into the gaming competition world but who has trouble being accepted by the insular world of nerds who populate it. Mitchell is portrayed as a sad, pathetic man who has a lot of trouble finding ties to match his shirts, and who didn't get the memo that feathered hair and black jeans were last seen in 1982. He acts like holding the world record in Donkey Kong defines him as a human being, and he refuses to face off against Wiebe in public.
The movie is absolutely hilarious. Part of me wants to feel bad for making fun of these guys, but the rest of me thinks that if they didn't want to be made fun of, they shouldn't have put themselves out there in the first place. And I have to admit that I admire them all in a way -- after all, they commit themselves to something that's important to them and whatever anyone thinks about it be damned.
One of my favorite characters is Mr. Awesome, who makes home videos of himself dressed up as Mr. Awesome giving lessons on how to go about scoring some "poon tang." You won't believe this movie wasn't made 25 years ago.
Movies like this make a fictional movie like "Waiting for Guffman" seem entirely plausible.
I've never played a video game, but I totally GOT this film. Often comedy films attempt to shows geeks, nerds, and outsiders, but here you will see them in their actual environment. Funny, pathetic, and hopeless, though wildly entertaining! I only wish I could follow up on these characters, as this story is clearly not over. EVERY obsessive father should see this, as well as anyone who thinks of themselves as "geek chic". Special props should be to the filmmakers for their editing and camera work.Heroes become villains, and the films largest moments are subtle. When you hear of reality TV folks complaining of how the editing made them look, you will reminded of how naked obsessed people become when exposed to daylight. Hurrah!
Who would have guessed that a documentary about gamers obsessed with
scoring a world record at Donkey Kong would not only be roaringly funny
but serve as a metaphor for the decline of Western civilization? Using
Billy Mitchell's need to stay champ and Steve Wiebe's need to beat him,
director Seth Gordon deftly manages to show how age, marriage,
fatherhood and so-called ethical thinking will not stop man's need to
go to war, no matter how stupid the reason.
King of Kong is a wonderful trip down memory lane, especially for us gamers who grew up in the '80s. If you ever played the old arcade games or video console, you simply must see this movie.
I have seen it over and over again :)
This film takes what many believe to be a simple enjoyment into a whole other realm of competition, deception, and overall brutality found in the cult of arcade gamer life. Although this is a documentary, director Seth Gordon creates an unraveling tale that could be found in today's blockbuster hits. Steve Wiebe is categorized as the typical underdog character that the audience, and Gordon himself, can't help but root for the entire way through. Conversely, Billy Mitchell is staged as the major villain, who seems to be more of a challenge than Donkey Kong itself. The film is captivating, utilizing dramatic editing and drawn-out scenes in order to not spare the audience from the heat these men are facing. The drama stirred up by these 40- something year old men is hilarious and no more mature than a group of hyperactive middle school girls. The candid moments for not only Steve and Billy, but for all those associated with the history being made, is nothing short of comic genius. The characters are developed, explored, and engaging, struggling with more than just a competition, but on a statement of what it means to be top dog. The film is molded around a seemingly simple plot, however, the people involved and the situations they face are complex and relatable to anyone who's ever wanted to be the very best.
This was a fascinating incursion into the world of gamers. There were
all kinds of interesting characters; some just plain bizarre.
What was most interesting as how people lined up to support their champion and discount any attempt to dethrone him. Any attempt was questioned, and modified as "getting a lucky break," rather than focusing on the skill of the player.
I still can't get over the dude who was running around yelling about the Kill Screen coming up. That was hilarious!
It was with great satisfaction that this David (Steve Wiebe) took on the establishment and beat the Goliath (Billy Mitchell). Congrats!
I just watched the King of Kong.
I had heard, fairly amazing things, not only from this website - but from friends. Perhaps it's just a matter of opinion, but, I simply cannot believe how painful, and boring, this entire film was. Sad, but true. So, just a brief warning - one should not necessarily believe the hype.
To put a little perspective into this, and to fill out some more lines in this brief warning-message directed to the high hopes of others... ...I've been playing video games since the age of five, and have spent the last few years reviewing movies and television programming as part of my job. I struggled to finish the film, hoping it would pick up in some manner the whole way through, and ended rather disappointed by the sheer lack of entertainment value that it offered :-(
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After seeing the movie - there is only one conclusion : Billy Mitchell
is a sad little man who is a plain fraud. To see how the myth is being
maintained by people who appear to be stuck in the 80s forever is
really sad. The 'role' of Twin Galaxies in this all is also a really
sicking one - its sad that see adult men behave so childish just to
keep something that hey created intact. Twin Gallaxies therefor is also
just a bunch of sad people who can't be trusted.. protecting Billy in
The fact that no-one has seen Billy "there-are-certain-people-i-dont-want-to-spend-too-much-time-on" Mitchell actually do it live.. with an audience proves enough right ?
Like the sad long haired (what normal healthy man blow dries his hair?) said himself - "you have to do it live with other people around you..." he just proves that he is only a memory from the past - nothing more and nothing less.
Oh just one other thing - Brian Kuh - damn you are one sad nerd. Your mother must be so proud of you.. in fact I guess she tells you that every morning when she wakes you up - because surely you must be virgin who still lives @ home ! Oh well a kill screen you will maybe never see - but losing your virginnity is also something you will never experience !
Steve - you know it already - but you are the man !!
Ren.Ondska from The Netherlands
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