Tonight was a very good night.
No, I didn’t have a candlelit dinner with Kristen Bell at Chez Panisse, followed by a stroll on the shore of San Francisco’s moonlit bay… as she whispered secret plotlines of this upcoming season of Heroes into my ear.
I didn’t say it was a perfect night.
And I feel like I just saw Rocky for the first time.
In short, it’s documentary about the, ahem… raging controversy over the true title-holder of the Guinness world record for the highest score attained in Donkey Kong.Yeah. Donkey Kong. And that’s why people won’t go see this movie.
Which is tragic, because you know what this movie is really about? The very-American struggle for fairness, and how elusive fairness can be in the real world. It’s about heart and resolve. It’s about competition, and all the fascinating things that it drives people to do.
And yes, it’s about video gaming nerds at their very video-gaming-nerdiest… which will either make you laugh or cringe. Either way, you’re going to have a reaction. (Nerds have that way about them.) In fact, one of the wonderful things about the documentary’s story is that almost every “character” has a distinct personality and essence that you can hang your hat on. You can’t help but get invested in the film, which leads–in turns–to elation and heartache.
It’s got all the classic elements of an engrossing fight of good versus evil. The good guy is the underdog who has suffered disappointments a disheartening number of times in his life, but he still faces the world with the purest of intentions and a quiet, humble resolve.
And the bad guy is… well… a Son. Of. A. Bitch. Billy Mitchell joins a pantheon of antagonists from storied events of sports and competition history who can immediately polarize audiences against them with outrageous (and outrageously undeserved) levels of ego. Think: Mike Tyson, Donald Trump, Dick Cheney. The phrase, “The guy you love to hate,” was invented for guys like Billy Mitchell. It’s a satisfying, justified blast to hate on this dude.
I promise you this much: Give this movie a chance, and you will discover a surprising capacity in yourself for really giving a shit about the outcome of a game of Donkey Kong.
Is that not enough for you? At the very least, you’ll laugh your ass off… I did mention the super-nerds, yes?
King of Kong hits limited release today. Do yourself a favor and see it this weekend. Unless, of course, you were planning to see the Mr. Bean movie. In that case, I can’t help you and P.S., I apologize for all the polysyllabic words in this entry with which you must have struggled.