movie review: king of kong
if this little film manages to make it to your town, you must go. website here with trailer.
it's a documentary about the king kong world record high score holder (set in 1982 and since unchallenged), an egoist named billy mitchell, who has built his life around being the master of old-school arcade games. billy is manipulative but somewhere hiding behind his massive mullet and his trophy wife's fake 36EEE boobs (seriously, they're gigantic and take up half the screen in her shots), is a scared little boy, lashing out at the things that threaten him.
enter steve wiebe, a guy who turns to king kong when his life takes a few rough stumbles. steve is sweet, smart, and soooo lovely (i definitely fell in love with him a little bit by the time the movie was over).
the group of people in charge of evaluating and recording high scores (either made in public with witnesses or made at home with a vcr trained on the video game screen) are all in billy's pocket. when steve breaks billy's record, the "authority" refuses to accept his score and accuses him of using a tampered with arcade consul (after they go to his house and physically take it all apart).
what follows is steve's attempt to honestly take the title. his sincerity, talent on the game, and "good guyness" wins him some unlikely friends along the way.
it is one of the better movies i've seen in a while. geekery is on full display and it is riotous. the supporting characters are AMAZING. at certain points you think, "this looks like a christopher guest movie, these people cannot be real." but there they are, in all their glory. through it all you can't help but root steve on. he is the david to billy's goliath. also, did i mention i'm slightly in love with him? unfortunately for me, he's married to a cute woman with a couple adorable children. curses!!
i was lucky enough to go to an advance screening last night and talk afterwards with the directors/producers. AND also to watch steve play kong in person! at the dave and busters downstairs from the theater at a screening after party. such a fun time.
please please go see this. you'll love it, i promise. cities and release dates below:
New York (IFC Centre & AMC Empire)
Los Angeles (Landmark Nuart)
Seattle (Landmark Varsity)
Austin, TX (Alamo Drafthouse)
San Francisco (Landmark Lumiere)
Berkeley (Landmark Shattuck)
Chicago (Landmark Century Centre)
Minneapolis (Landmark Lagoon)
Washington, DC (Landmark E Street)
Boston (Landmark Kendall Square)
Portland, OR (Cinema 21)
San Diego (Landmark Ken)
Atlanta (Landmark Midtown)
Meredith, NH (Meredith 3)
St. Louis (Landmark Tivoli)