Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Rivalry for All Ages

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Release: August 17, 2007
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 19 minutes

Matinee <> Full Price

Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed. Ash vs. the Deadites. Freddy vs. Jason. Harry Potter vs. Voldemort. Now there is Billy vs Steve. Maybe this pair isn't as recognizable as the aforementioned iconic film clashes but it soon will be. Billy Mitchell is a classic video game record setter from the 80's, and one-time master of such games as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and ,reportedly, Missile Command. Enter Steve Wiebe (pronounced Wee-bee) a high school science teacher and perpetual also-ran. After a rough stint in his life, Steve weathered the storm by retreating into the glaring red and blue hues of a Donkey Kong arcade machine. His passion led to obsession and now he is poised to square off against the indomitable Billy for the title "King of Kong."

So maybe there isn't really an official "King of Kong" title, but this documentary is an epic clash between two masters which begins by delving into the history and lives of Billy and Steve. Candid interviews with friends and relatives reveal how these gamers became the men they are. But the title isn't all about Billy and Steve. Walter Day, founder of the gaming record keeping organization Twin Galaxies, shares the spotlight. Throughout, Walter is the level head of the fanatical gaming community, providing the balanced view of these mens' conflict.

For men immersed in the electronic world, their stories are both emotionally stirring and fanatically engrossing. Interviews with both the contenders and the pretenders are simultaneously dumbfounding and comical. Audiences can witness some relationships strengthen and others fade within mere minutes of one another. Everyone has a dream and it's genuinely heartbreaking and satisfying to watch those dreams be both realized and crushed.

Dirty Undies
Honestly if you want to see any of these folks in the buff, you need help. Although the stares and words of the contenders may cut like daggers, things never quite come to blows or bloodshed.

The Money Shot
"The King of Kong" is an emotionally charged tale. Akin to the frustrating levels of the Donkey Kong game itself, you can feel the spite, ire, resentment, and disappointment with each passing minute. I strongly encourage everyone to see this inspiring and funny film, if for no other reason than to learn what it means to be chumpatized.

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