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TheOtherRainMan's Movie Reviews (5)

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King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters 
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Awesome
4/4 stars

Seinfeld versus Newman. Rosie O' Donnell versus Donald Trump. Kathy Griffin versus The View. All of these are famous well known rivalries. Yes, you may be thinking to your self, "I know that, so what?". Well, through superb filmmaking by director Seth Gordon brings a new memorable rivalry to the table; hot sauce mogul and Video Game champ Billy Mitchell versus Boeing employee turned middle school science teacher, always in second Steve Wiebe.

"The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" tells the story of the rivalry between Mitchell and Steve for the world record in the classic Donkey Kong. Mitchell, the poster child/referee for the video game high score agency, Twin Galaxies, is considered by most the greatest classic gamer of the 20th century. He is also strongly believes at self promotion, makes everything work better on his end, and considers his gaming feats to be his greatest accomplishment, next to his family.

Wiebe, on the other hand, is a stay-at-home dad. Recently laid off from Boeing, he is currently going to night school to get a teacher's degree and bought a Donkey Kong machine to keep himself entertained. Many people, including Weibe's wife, Nicole, state that Wiebe has never gone after anything huge despite his proficiency in numerous subject areas.

The story starts when Wiebe breaks Mitchell's record for Donkey Kong. He sends it to Twin Galaxies via videotape, for evidence and verification. They originally accept it, until Mitchell sends banker-turned-pro-gamer/acoylote Brian Kuh to investigate the machine. Kuh discovers that part of the game machine was supplied by Roy "Mr. Awesome" Shildt. Shildt, unbeknown to Wiebe, has been placed underfire by Mitchell ever since his score on Missile Command. Based upon that, Wiebe's score is removed from the list and replaced with Mitchell's score.

On recommendation of Mitchell that he break the record in a prominent public location, he heads off to Funspot Arcade in Laconia, NH. What follows is Wiebe trying to challege Mitchell to a public competition.

"King of Kong" at first seems (to the non-gamer) unattractive. The production values at times are poor, and some may not buy into the quirkiness.

The film though really shines once it gets rolling. Director Seth Gordon manages to perfectly craft a story that is engrossing even to non-gamers without being over-arresting. It's funny, but at no-one's expense. It's informative without turning into an information piece. It's surprisingly suspenseful without becoming a thriller.

In a way, "King of Kong" is an update of those famous school-yard showdowns, only updated with 80's gaming and grown men.

Granted, the film doesn't give all the facts. (For instance, Tim Sczerby held the record of 879,200 points before Wiebe took the record) In most documentaries, cutting facts is often looked down upon. In "King of Kong" though, the "literary license" though makes the film much clearer and much, much more entertaining.

Overall, "King of Kong" is perfection. In a world of serious Iraqi war docs, this one stands out. In a way, it can be compared to the success of 2006's entertaining, but at times slow "Wordplay". It didn't try to preach a message or change the way the people think. It showed the publicly-known, but little seen world of Crosswords. "King of Kong" does what Wordplay did, but only much, much more entertaining.

Rating: A+
Star Rating: **** out of ****

PROS
+ Well-Direction by Seth Gordon
+ Funny
+ Engrossing and Entertaining
+ Surprisingly Informative

CONS
*Some may turned off by poor production values

Recommendation: See this. Need I say more?


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