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Quint falls for THE KING OF KONG at SXSW!!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a look at the first two films (of at least 5 planned before I sleep) I saw today at SXSW, one of them already a frontrunner for the best of the fest. KING OF KONG At Sundance I saw a video game documentary called CHASING GHOSTS which was about the world of video game champions, using a 1982 photoshoot for Life Magazine as a jumping off point. I really liked it (click here to read my coverage of that film), but I'm so glad I saw it before THE KING OF KONG, which was playing concurrently with GHOSTS in Park City, GHOSTS at Sundance and KONG at Slamdance. CHASING GHOSTS really does an amazing job of setting up THE KING OF KONG and seeing it first is beneficial to both flicks because THE KING OF KONG is a much better documentary and I have a feeling if I saw it first I wouldn't have liked CHASING GHOSTS nearly as much as I did. KONG is kind of a Rocky story about a normal guy, down to earth... kind... who decides to try to break the world record score for DONKEY KONG, the record set in 1982 by a guy named Billy Mitchell. This guy is a joke and, as the documentary unfurls, he also proves to be a giant douche bag. Manicured beard, crazy mullet, but the kind you'd find in upper-scale suburbs, not the do-it-at-home trailer park mullet. Not to mention he has an ego the size of Saturn. That's not to say he doesn't have talent. He's an assclown, but he knows how to drive the funny little car. The real success of the film is that it focuses on two people, the challenger Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell. It really does feel like a bizarro Rocky story. You find yourself rooting for Steve because he is such a normal, ego-less guy and he's fighting Billy Mitchell, who is very much an Apollo Creed. Talented, but so full of himself and full of flash and glitz that you just want to see him taken down. Although, I will say Billy doesn't have the competitive spirit that Creed had. In fact, he's portrayed as a petty coward throughout the documentary, contradicting himself when it suits him, etc. They managed to make a film that has that nostalgia for us geeks, but doesn't solely play to us. It could be any competition... boxing, poker, chess, checkers, hurdle, pole-vault... it doesn't matter that it's a video game competition. It's accessible to anybody. The director, producers and Steve himself were at the screening. I didn't realize it, but Steve was sitting behind me during the screening... so he probably heard me whisper "douche-bag" to myself each time Billy Mitchell did something to fuck him over in the documentary. To give you an idea of how the audience was affected by Wiebe as a person, when he was introduced by director Seth Gordon he not only got applause, but a standing ovation from the full crowd. Gordon also announced that on top of Picturehouse releasing THE KING OF KONG this August, he's also made a deal to remake it as a narrative feature. I'm going on record now saying that Nathan Fillion needs to play Steve Wiebe... and I'm not a Serenity/Firefly nut, but this guy looks just like Fillion and Fillion has that humble, everyman quality, especially in WAITRESS. THE KING OF KONG is one of those rare documentaries that is both totally engaging and completely entertaining. Seek this out when Picturehouse throws it on screens August 17th. WHEN A MAN FALLS IN THE FOREST This review will be super long. Dylan Baker is great. Timothy Hutton was pretty decent. Sharon Stone didn't wear make-up and cried about being old. Baker plays a kind of Milton-type character, withdrawn, anti-social. He's a night janitor at the business where Hutton works. Hutton's marriage with Stone is falling apart, he likes to take sleeping pills and sleep through his life. Sleep is a common thread with the parallel stories of these two men. Baker listens to instructional tapes to master lucid dreaming, which leads to some really fun dream sequences. Seeing Dylan Baker play quirky weird is worth seeing this movie, which isn't poorly made, but just ultimately kind of bland. You've seen it before. Even though I made fun of Stone above, she does a good job, too. Nothing is really bad, but it's a solid C, a 2.5 out of 5. Worth watching if you have nothing else to watch or really really really love Sharon Stone, Dylan Baker (like me), Timothy Hutton or Pruitt Taylor Vance. Okay, got a couple more movies coming up today. Looks like I'll hit my 6 movie target! Fingers crossed!!! -Quint

Readers Talkback
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  • March 10, 2007, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Awesome, you're that whisper reaction guy...

    by kintar0

    what a thing to admit to. If you were sitting in front of me, or worse, behind me, I'd have told you to shut the fuck up. Fucking people can't just shut up for 90 minutes.

  • March 10, 2007, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Donkey Kong, eh?

    by MelvintheMopBoy

    Yeah, well, Jonathon McDorfus would've had the all time highscore on Pac Man if Eugene hadn't have disturbed him at a crucial moment.

  • March 10, 2007, 6:54 p.m. CST

    The pie factory always kicked my ass.

    by RedwingsHoolihan

    ....and why did they need industrial machinery to make pies?

  • March 10, 2007, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Quint, did you ever consider that...

    by Immortal_Fish

    ...docudramas are presented in such fashion to sway opinion, not represent fact? Granted, perhaps Mitchell is indeed a dick and Wiebe the do-gooder. Only, perhaps, less so in the world we live in that is in utter devoid of edits and narration?

  • March 10, 2007, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Until the DVD comes out...

    by jimmy rabbitte

    I'll just have to re-rent Trekkies to get my fill of geek-u-mentaries.

  • March 10, 2007, 7:40 p.m. CST

    is Immrotal really Silly Bitchell?

    by Ohiofile

    Saw KONG at Slamdance. Quint's right, it could have been anything-Donkey Kong, boxing, or whatever, it's a great documentary.

  • March 10, 2007, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Thanks Quint!!

    by AllPowerfulWizardOfOz

    So glad to hear this got a mention or otherwise I would not have heard of it at all. This sounds like my type of movie. Can't wait. Hopefully you guys will mention this when it hits DVD.

  • March 10, 2007, 8:45 p.m. CST

    little donkey..little donkey...

    by sHapesHiftinLizard

    This sounds great, gonna be keepin my eyes peeled for any showings of this at the GFT in glasgow this year, kinda thing they'd show no sweat, hopefully the adap. will be top quality too. Happy! Happy! Joystick! Joystick!

  • March 10, 2007, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Playing Donkey Kong well is a "talent"

    by IndustryKiller!

    Ummm....ok. Not to mention this jackass did it back in 1982, so the "what have you done lately to brag about" rule is in full effect. WHy doesn't someone just kick the shit out of this Billy Mitchell guy or hulimiate him somehow? He's clearly just an insecure man child if he's still high off playing videogames well in the early eighties.

  • March 10, 2007, 9:02 p.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

  • March 10, 2007, 9:40 p.m. CST

    soundtrack by BUCKNER & GARCIA

    by Sir Loin

    ...that would rock. "Do the Donkey Kong!"

  • March 10, 2007, 9:50 p.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

  • March 10, 2007, 10:18 p.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

    Boy, I miss arcade videogames.

  • March 10, 2007, 11:06 p.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

  • March 10, 2007, 11:10 p.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

  • March 10, 2007, 11:15 p.m. CST

    TOO ZAXXON ! !

    by Pound Sand

  • March 10, 2007, 11:19 p.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

  • March 10, 2007, 11:35 p.m. CST

    When does GHOSTS and KONG hit DVD?

    by ELGordo

    I really want to see this flicks but something tells me they will never reach my shores here in Iceland. I need a DVD, fuck a trailer would be nice for now.

  • March 10, 2007, 11:39 p.m. CST

    That should have been of course "These flicks".

    by ELGordo

    Curse you pink and blue sweet ass cocktail.

  • March 11, 2007, 12:01 a.m. CST

    those videogame docs sound great

    by Rupee88

    I've got to make a note of them and track then down. Thanks for bringing them to our attention.

  • March 11, 2007, 12:11 a.m. CST

    Yeah QUINT!

    by Beastmanseventy

    Did you ever for once consider that a docudrama dramatizes fact, just like history books and suchlike? Did you ever consider that knowing all of the facts is completely impossible even in a documentary that never once plays up the slightest bit of bias? Huh? Didja didja didja? BOY ARE YOU DUMB FOR GETTING EMOTIONALLY INVOLVED IN A MOVIE THAT IS EMOTIONALLY ENGAGING.

  • March 11, 2007, 12:50 a.m. CST


    by Billy Ho

    Easily my favorite film of the fest so far. Very entertaining and moving to boot. Like it much better than Doug Pray's new doc, which is saying a lot. I wonder if people use terms like "douchebag" (and "ass hole", which I heard after The Ten)during Q & As at other festivals...

  • March 11, 2007, 1:24 a.m. CST

    Nathan Fillian for Steve... and...

    by Kraken

    Fred Savage for Billy Mitchell. Oh yeah. THE POWER GLOVE!

  • March 11, 2007, 1:37 a.m. CST

    For everyone that's seen KING OF KONG...

    by Kraken

    It doesn't look like much has changed attitude wise with the wonderful people over at Twin Galaxies... they still haven't put Steve's latest score up yet -

  • March 11, 2007, 3:20 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    Trust me. I don't talk during movies. I've nearly gotten into fights at theaters when telling people to shut the fuck up. It's my #1 pet peeve. I did whisper "douche-bag" during the film... when something big happens and the audience reacted. I could barely hear myself over the reaction, so I doubt anyone else did.

  • March 11, 2007, 8 a.m. CST

    Tell me this doesn't make you want

    by renderboy

    to watch this right now: -mitchell2000.jpg And this is Billy Mitchell from, like, 7 years ago, not from the 1980's! Sheesh...

  • March 11, 2007, 8:26 a.m. CST

    bad link

    by Kraken

    here's the tinyurl to the forum over there -

  • March 12, 2007, 5:59 a.m. CST

    I love it when I'm deleted...

    by Mister Man

    for slamming SXSW, the most overrated event in the universe.

  • March 12, 2007, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Mister Man rocks, oh and these flix sound cool

    by Doctor_Sin

    I want to see them. I loved playing DK back in the day.

  • March 12, 2007, 10:38 a.m. CST


    by TheBaxter

  • March 12, 2007, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Has anything looked more abysmal...

    by Mister Man

    than "The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning"????? WHO rents that crap?? Yeah, I know, all of the studios are jumping on the bandwagon for DTV. UGH.

  • March 12, 2007, 4 p.m. CST

    So "It's on...

    by Childe Roland Donkey Kong," then? How is it possible no one else has typed that in this talkback yet? And if video gaming is really a talent to brag about, when is masturbation going to be an olympic event?