"the king of kong: a fistful of quarters"
you have to go see this movie. if you read nothing more of this post, just take that one statement to heart. you have to go see this movie.
in 1982, billy mitchell set a world record on the classic arcade game, donkey kong, that stood for more than 20 years. this accomplishment, along with a handful of other world records and a perfect score on pac-man (every single dot, every single ghost, not one life lost) was enough for mitchell to be branded the greatest classic arcade game player of the century. he's a veritable caricature of himself and an archetypal villain--instantly dislikable and obnoxiously arrogant, with a self-perception that comically overestimates his importance in the world.
steve weibe is a middle school science teacher from washington state with a knack for coming in second. despite the best of intentions, many ventures in steve's life have just not quite panned out, leaving him unfulfilled at best and completely heartbroken at worst. though a little sensitive and a lot obsessive-compulsive, steve is the archetypal hero--quietly confident and exceedingly gracious, with an aww-shucks demeanor that makes it so easy to root for him.
"the king of kong: a fistful of quarters" is the story of wiebe's attempt to finally achieve the success that had so long eluded him, by conquering donkey kong and vanquishing billy mitchell in the process. silly as that sounds, the film is packed full of twists, turns, surprises, follies, and humor--everything that makes a drama great. it's a classic tale of good vs. evil, hero vs. villain, and the actor who plays billy mitchell hits every note on key, so convincingly portraying him as a pompous, egotistical windbag who is deep down not just a jerk but also a coward. wait a minute...you mean that was actually him?!? outstanding!
a hollywood fiction writer could not write a better story with better characters than this and have it still believable. it was one of the most entertaining movies i have ever seen, and yeah, you have to go see this movie.
as with any great movie, the music played an important part in the film, with two scenes in particular played extremely well with the choice of songs--the cure's "pictures of you" during a look at steve's lack of success in the past, and leonard cohen's "everybody knows" during...well, you'll have to go see the movie.
the cure : "pictures of you"
from the lp disintegration (elektra, 1989)
leonard cohen : "everybody knows"
from the lp i'm your man (sony, 1988)
watch the trailer