Cast: (All starring as themselves): Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell, Walter Day, Steve Sanders, Nicole Wiebe, Barbara Mitchell
Director: Seth Gordon (Community [TV], The Office [TV], Horrible Bosses)
Plot: Without giving anything away, the film is a documentary about the two best Donkey Kong players on the planet. It follows their stories, one the underdog and one the overconfident "champ," as they come to an inevitable head-to-head battle to see who is really the best player. If you grew up in the era of the arcades, this film will resonate. If not, it is still worth the watch.
Why you should watch it: The documentary is one of my favorite genres in film. This particular one combines my love for old-school arcades and video games with my fondness for documentaries. I wrote an article for our friends at Heading For The Exits in which I explored an old school arcade, so this article sort of goes along with today's review. However, if you're not in the mood to read a very well-written and damn near Pulitzer-worthy article, you should instead spend some time watching King of Kong.
The film centers around the classic protagonist/antagonist relationship of two men - Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe. Mitchell is the self-proclaimed "World's Best Donkey Kong Player." He is the guy who never got that much attention in high school, maybe wasn't an athlete, didn't run with the right clique, or maybe was just overlooked. He channels this into his desire to be the best classic video gamer in the world. He turns into a dick. He's over-confident, arrogant, and you find yourself wondering how this guy can truly believe what he says about himself.
Wiebe, on the other hand, is the classic underdog. The perennial bridesmaid to everyone else's bride. He falls short of almost everything he does, regardless of his best intentions. However, he quietly makes a name for himself as a great Donkey Kong player. He is also a middle school science teacher, so he's a success in that respect. However, he always has this gnawing inside that he should be better, he should be the quiet winner. You will find yourself pulling for him.
I'm not saying where the film takes you, however you will find yourself unable to even pause it during the viewing. I love this film, and I strongly encourage you to watch it. Released in 2007, it was dwarfed by the more hyped Anvil: The Story of Anvil as a documentary, but I feel this documentary is better - and I really and thoroughly enjoyed Anvil.
The trailer should get you pumped up to watch it.