THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS
Intense Rivalries Over Classic Video Games
Release Date: August 17, 2007
Starring: Billy Mitchell, Steve Wiebe,
Walter Day, Brian Kuh, Steve
Sanders, Robert Mruczek, and
Roy ‘Mr. Awesome’ Shildt
Audience: Older children to adults
Runtime: 83 minutes
Distributor: Picturehouse Films
Director: Seth Gordon
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Ed Cunningham
Address Comments To:Bob Berney, President
(A division of New Line Cinema)
597 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 303-1700
Fax: (212) 421-1163
Since the early 1980s, Billy Mitchell has been the king of classic arcade games. Hailed by some as the video game player of the century, Billy’s Donkey Kong record of 874,300 points has stood for over 25 years. That is, of course, until Steve Wiebe enters the picture, a life-long challenger who, according to his wife and his closest friends, always seems to come up short of being number one in anything. A failed baseball player and a failed professional musician, Steve is a man driven to climb to the top in some field. When Steve learns that the Donkey Kong world record high score has not been beaten for over 25 years, Steve gets an arcade machine for his garage and dedicates himself to becoming number one at the classic game.
Steve’s first attempt at breaking the record is deemed by the Twin Galaxies international scorekeepers association to be fraudulent because of a possible hacked game computer board. So, he decides to travel to the national gaming week at Fun Spot Arcade in New Jersey and attempt his new record in a public venue. Next, Steve travels to Hollywood, Florida to compete in a head-to-head challenge against Billy Mitchell at an international gaming competition. However, Billy refuses to show.
Battling not only his own self-image, Steve must stand as the outsider against a group of people who have protected Billy’s legacy for nearly three decades. No one at Twin Galaxies wants to see Steve beat Billy’s record. However, with tireless dedication and drive, Steve, a life-long second-place man, finally beats Billy’s record to become the world-record holder and the reigning King of Kong.
Surprisingly enjoyable, THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS is a delightful documentary that a lot of people, including some older children and teenagers, may enjoy, especially those who get nostalgic seeing classic arcade games. The movie contains very few objectionable contents, some foul language, some brief references to things like transcendental meditation, some cigarette use, and miscellaneous immorality such as lying. Those elements, though, do not outweigh the enjoyment factor of this documentary.
The saddest element of the documentary may be – tongue-in-cheek – the moment that viewers realize they have become emotionally fully engaged in the epic struggle of grown men with mullets fiercely competing like gladiators on an arcade game that is several decades old. One judge even goes so far as to say that this is one of the greatest rivalries of modern civilization. Rather than spending their lives in more worthwhile causes, these men dedicate their days and nights to achieving world-record status on a game that has no eternal consequence. The movie does have some redemptive elements, however, including one man directly quoting the Book of Proverbs.
THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS is a fun 83 minutes for audience members who enjoy documentaries, especially those who grew up in the 70s and 80s and who will be able to fondly remember the days of pizza parlors and joysticks.
Surprisingly enjoyable, THE KING OF KONG is a delightful documentary that a lot of people, including some older children and teens, may enjoy, especially those who get nostalgic seeing classic arcade games. The movie contains brief foul language, smoking and a reference to transcendental meditation, but there are also positive references to God and the Book of Proverbs. Of course, these men dedicate their days and nights to achieving world-record status on a game that has no eternal consequence. That said, the movie is fun to watch.