King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: +2

Documentary from Picturehouse. Written by Ed Cunningham, II, and Seth Gordon. Directed by Seth Gordon.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In 2003, 35-year-old family man Steve Wiebe, after losing his job at Boeing, found solace in Donkey Kong. He began perfecting his game every night after his wife and kids went to bed, and not only surpassed Billy Mitchell (Gamer of the Century and Donkey Kong Champion), but ended up with a thought-to-be-impossible 1,000,000 points. In the months that followed, Steve and Billy engaged in a cross-country duel to see who could set the high score that would be included in the 2007 Guinness World Records book and become The King of Kong. Along the way, both men learned valuable lessons about what it means to be a father, a husband, and a true championdiscovering that you dont always need to win to be a winner.

PREVIEW REVIEW: So well conceived, I thought for a while, Are we being punked? But no, even though it has a mockumentary feel, its the real deal. Despite the title, which, as a colleague pointed out, is the best film title this year, this is not a Christopher Guest (Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show) comic satire, but an honest appraisal of a cult of obsessed people who take video game playing very seriously.

Searching for an outlet to nurture their energies or artistic nature or just a venue where they can succeed above all others, these geeky gamesman are tunnel visioned and a picture of obsessive-compulsives. While many people apply such efforts and time to activities that aid others, the people who spend their time in front of arcade machines tend to be less social, more in tune with their own desires. They appear to be selfish and self-centered. Even the good guy here, the man we root for, is so possessed by being the highest scorer that when his four-year-old boy calls from the top of the stairs, Daddy, come wipe my butt, daddy dearest refuses to budge.

Now, there will be those who defend this sport, and Ill admit that -- like anything done well -- it demands discipline and expertise. But what does it say when the most astute person in the room is a preteen girl who suggests to her father, who wants to enter the Guinness World Records, Some people ruin their lives to be in that book. Shes wise in her generation.

King of Kong is not mean spirited or belittling. It is, however, a taunting expos that masterfully reveals the makeup of these two advocates of the arcade. The biggest surprise of the summer; I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful concept.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Picturehouse

Crude Language: A couple of crude comments, but mostly the film seems tame for its rating.
Obscene Language: A couple of minor expletives, but I caught no harsh language.
Profanity: None
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: Very brief sexual reference and a scene with girls scantily dressed.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: None
Running Time: 84 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teens and Above

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