Movie Review: The King of Kong: A Fist Full of Quarters
I just watched what I believe was the best film of 2007. I haven't seen No Country For Old Men (I heard it's just a rip-off of The Terminator) but I have a hard time believing it could possibly be better than The King of Kong. It's about a guy named Steve Weibe and his quest to break the world record for the highest score in the 1981 arcade classic, Donkey Kong. But it's more than that. It's hilarious, somewhat unsettling, occasionally sweet and always intriguing. It's a look inside of a bizarre subculture as an outsider attempts to dethrone their hero.
Steve Weibe is a likable "aw shucks" kind of guy. He's a musician, an artist and an athlete. When he got laid off from his job at Boeing, he decided to spend his free time to try and break the world record for Donkey Kong. The problem is that the record was currently held by one of the doucheist characters in cinema history: Billy Mitchel. Billy was a video game "prodigy" in the 1980s and in 1982, he scored 874,300 points on Donkey Kong to set the world record. The second highest score (something like 500,000. I forget exactly.) was set by Billy's sidekick/toady Brian Kuh. As the film begins, Billy's '82 record still stands and Billy is still remarkably cocky as a result. He's also a dead-ringer for Ben Stiller's character in Dodgeball. But he's way funnier than Ben Stiller and this movie is way funnier than Dodgeball.
Billy is also a "referee" for Twin Galaxies, the organization that governs "world records" for video games. This makes Weibe's quest all the more difficult. It's as much about politics as it is about hand-eye coordination. It really is a fantastic movie that I highly recommend.