The King of Kong - a fistfull of quarters

I just caught it tonight and totally, completely loved it. If you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s a documentary about a guy that sets out to beat the world record high score for Donkey Kong, and what can only be described as the Nerd Illuminati that do their best to keep it from him.

I can’t articulate how great it was - it’s completely hilarious and incredibly touching. It’s also very frustrating at parts - the guy’s such a capital-n Nice Guy that sometimes the powers that be walk all over him, especially the reigning champ, who comes across like a true asshole with few redeeming qualities.

I won’t give away the ending, but I totally loved the entirety of the film.

Youtube Trailer for the curious

I had already started a thread about this, but I must say I really enjoyed it a lot. Especially Mr. Awesome- that was by far one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in a movie.

I just saw this today. It definitely plays like a mockumentary at times. I could see Billy Mitchell as a Ben Stiller character. The film is a fascinating ethnography of particular geek sub culture. It’s the story of a nice guy, family man, possibly mildly autistic science teacher who sets out to break the world Donkey Kong record and ends up running afoul of the nerd cabal which authenticates the records. It’s hilarious. These guys are too dorky to be sinister or scary but the audience still becomes extremely frustrated by the way Steve Wiebe (that’s “Wee-bee,” not “weeb”) obligingly jumps through every hoop they put in front of him while Mitchell consistently refuses to face off with him mano a mano and is allowed to submit a shady videotape, totally contradicting the standard he himself demands for a record to be witnessed publicly. I understand that Mitchell is now claiming he’s not really as big a douche as he appears to be in the movie but I’m not sure I believe that.

A lot of the surrounding personalities are all interesting, weird and funny in their own right. You can’t write characters like these. I love how they all see Mitchell as this legendary, awesome celebrity within their own dorky little subculture. He’s like the Elvis of arcade game nerds but outside of that very small world, he’s just this kind of intense, conceited little dweeb with a bad mullet.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Steve is at the officially sanctioned arcade closing in on not only the record but also the rarely witnessed Donkey Kong “kill screen,” and all the nerds in the joint start excitedly crowding around behind him. It’s funny but it’s also strangely rousing. We really want to see him succeed, not just for his own sake but for the nerds to whom this is on a par with watching someone break a homerun record in baseball.
Another great scene is the videotape of Steve having the game of his life while his young son yells “Wipe my butt! Stop playing Donkey Kong” in the background.

This one is highly recommended if you get the chance.

Saw this last night and really enjoyed it. Wiebe is an incredibly likeable guy, and Mitchell comes off as a grade-A tool: all hat and no cattle, talking big but not having the stones to back it up, and living off the past. The fact that he has a posse is a joke. Wiebe never will have one, because his behavior doesn’t feed or encourage the idea. A fun film (that really took me back; I always felt lucky if I made it to level 3 on DK).

Sorry to un-zombify, but it’s out now on DVD.

This is a totally entertaining movie, and as message board folks, I think we can read between the lines and get that they probably had this insular little subculture where they were going to hold on to that small small thing that made their life meaningful.

I don’t know if it’s sad or funny or what, but the one thing that can give these uber-geeks a sense of self-esteem (being good at video games) is taken from them by a well-adjusted former jock with a normal family.

I wouldn’t have believed going in that the man and his wife would wind up crying over Donkey Kong while coming across as completely justified in doing so, but there you go.

What a total tool Billy Mitchell comes across as. . .cowardly, petty, childish. . .and for a while it holds up because he’s “in” with the twin galaxies people, but through sheer determination, Wiebe breaks down that barrier. I can’t believe the couple times the nerds talk about how Bily Mitchell gets the girls. . .and he’s with that trashy girl who probably keeps ledgers at the hot sauce shipping plant.

Not the tightest, slickest doc I’ve ever seen, but a very human one. Weird, funny, very good.

What an asshole he is. A bigger ego than most rock stars. That stunt of sending in the video tape in an effort to one-up Wiebe all while avoiding actually playing him one-on-one was pathetic.

Mitchell used to show up pretty often in the game history documentaries G4 used to make. He was a complete tool in those as well. Once, he even surrounded himself with classic 80s arcade games (like Centipede, Defender and a few others) and actually proclaimed to do something “that would change the world.”

What an ass hole.

I haven’t seen King of Kong yet, but it’s at the top of my must see pile.

Is a movie channel currently showing this?

Not that I know of. I think it just came out on DVD.

An ego about being the best at something so meaningless (sorry to to big gamers out there).

And, it’s hilarious(*) that probably the first jock who ever decided to enter the world of competitive video gaming came in and kicked his ass through the spirit of fair competition.

(*) Hilarious only because Mitchell was such a petty ass. Not hilarious like I was rooting for the bully, and not the dork in Three O’Clock High.

The jock came across as a pretty pleasant person, who, despite his obsession with DK, seemed to have a sense proportion about the record. Mitchell’s whole identity seemed to be tied to the record and felt it made him important.

Interesting how even Mitchell’s biggest crony (the lawyer friend) was warming up to Wiebe by the end.

I just watched the DVD myself and can’t recommend it enough to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

The commentaries are pretty hilarious, too. The one with the guy from iam64bit (or whatever) has two gaming nerds ripping on Billy Mitchell for most of the time. And Mitchell totally deserves it. What a jerk-o-rama. His friend, Steve Sanders, is ten times the man Mitchell is.

One of the cut scenes has Sanders lamenting that because of this movie, Mitchell’s only going to be remembered for being a jerk, and the filmmakers ask him to tell a nice story about Billy. So Steve tells a nice story about a kid dying of cancer and his wish to the Make-a-Wish foundation is to meet Billy Mitchell. So Mitchell goes down, meets the kid, what a great guy, yadda.

Except that the whole reason Mitchell went is because the kid wanted to meet The Great Billy Mitchell, Gamer Extraordinaire™. It was just another way to feed his 20-year expired ego. Rrrr, that guy makes me mad.

I say we all boycott his stupid hot sauce.

Exactly! Talk about yer cult o’ personality. If they make a “real” movie of it, B. J. Novak should get a shot at playing Billy.

I loved it. And of all the funny moments in this funny film, the funniest is the Life Magazine photo shoot, where Mitchell has a hickey on his neck. Perfect.]

This movie is right up there with *Trekkies *and Project Grizzly.


Now, I’m going to have to rent it again to see the extras (which I never watch).

Oh. . .and the HICKEY.

Just saw it a couple of days ago and loved it.

I have a soft spot in my heart for those gamers. To see those guys have such devotion for their incredibly niche hobby makes me smile. They genuinely love these games and there’s a sense of community that you don’t see often.

Yeah, they might go way beyond the limits of good sense, but it’s not much different than, for example, football fans and their fantasy football. But it’s more acceptable, for whatever reason, to point and laugh at the retro gamers.

Mitchell is such a god damn D-bag. His girlfriend or wife or whatever is exactly what I’d expect a douche like he would have. Butt ugly but with big fake cans. I don’t think I’ve ever rooted for someone as hard as I was for Weibe. All of Mitchell’s little minions were pathetic too.

Uh, no, I’ll point and laugh at fantasy football gamers too.

I’ve heard many great things about this movie. I just added it to my Netflix queue tonight, as a matter of fact.

Although I haven’t read it all the way through, there is an interview with Billy Mitchell in The A.V. Club this week.

Did show up in person for the interview or did he send a videotape?