Tag Archives: The King of Kong

Countdown: Docs for Non-Doc Lovers

It’s Doc Week here in Columbus, that bi-annual festival that caters to the documentary lover in us all. But what of those who don’t care for docs? They’re missing so much! Well, in the interest of sharing the doc love, we’ve put together a list of documentaries bound to entertain even those folks with zero interest in the genre.


5. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

Seth Gordon’s doc on old school video game competitions managed to be the best underdog sports comedy of the year. Wisely, the film doesn’t mock its subjects, which would have created a distance between the participants and the audience. The competition is so fierce and yet disarmingly funny. Full of geekdom, mystery, humanity and the quest to maintain one’s own legend, King of Kong is a miraculous little slice of competitive life.

4. Stories We Tell (2012)

Sarah Polley uses an absolutely fascinating and intensely personal investigation to make some universal points about how we frame our own stories when sharing them with others, whether it’s the way we recount a personal tale or the way a filmmaker manipulates the audience to create the desired tone. Her points are all the more powerful because she chooses to open up such a private story to make them.

3. Man On Wire (2008)

Philippe Petit tight rope walked from one World Trade Center to the other. It became known as the artistic crime of the century, and James Marsh’s Oscar-winning documentary offers endlessly fascinating tidbits about how he pulled it off. The doc is maddeningly suspenseful, and the sight of this exquisite, joyous lunacy literally attached to the site of such profound tragedy somehow makes it all that much more magical.

2. Murderball (2005)

It’s full contact wheelchair rugby for quadriplegics, and you would get your ass kicked. Murderball is a film that shows no mercy because mercy wouldn’t be accepted anyway, as it follows athletes vying for a spot in Paralympic Games. The competition is intense, the action breathtaking, the story sometimes wickedly funny, and the human experience of it all serves as the doc’s escalated heartbeat. Murderball may very well be the best sports documentary ever made.

1. The Imposter (2012)

Not the best doc on the list, but without question the one that will leave you astounded. A young French drifter claims to be the missing son of a grieving Texas family. Director Bart Layton keeps his film exactly one step ahead of you, and the twists are absolutely impossible to see coming. It’s a jaw dropping true crime story that will leave you amazed.

Weekend Countdown: Best Underseen Sports Flicks

Jackie Robinson’s history-making story hits big screens this weekend with the lovely if superficial 42. It’s a crowd pleaser sure to be seen by millions. But in case you’re in the mood for a great flick you and most everyone else missed, we present the five best underseen sports films.

5. The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters (2007): “I wanted the glory, I wanted the fame. I wanted the pretty girls to come up and say, ‘Hi, I see that you’re good at Centipede.’” With dreams this big at stake, you cannot look away.

4. Goon (2011): Rude, crude, bawdy and flat-out fun, this Canadian film about minor league hockey surprises on every level, delivering a hilarious and fascinating underdog tale.

3. Sugar (2008): Filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson) offer an insightful tale about Dominicans chasing their dreams of playing Major League baseball and, in the process, deliver a quietly powerful take on immigration.

2. Undefeated (2011): No, not Sarah Palin’s unintentional comedy. This Oscar-winning doc treads familiar ground, but the intimacy and honesty that emerges from the story of an inner-city football squad make it irresistible.

1. Murderball (2005): Best sports doc ever. Paraplegic rugby teams competing in the Paralympic Games are not interested in your pity. “We’re not going for a hug. We’re going for a fucking gold medal. “



For Your Queue: It’s like when you had Pac Man Fever, but without the rash

An animated feature with incredibly broad appeal releases to DVD this week, and if you missed Wreck-It Ralph in theaters, now’s a chance to make amends. This video game fantasy has its roots in a tale of misfit friendship that promises to keep every audience member engaged. Vocal talent John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer are perfect in this vivid adventure. Meanwhile, director Rich Moore throws enough color and action at the screen to fascinate the very young, and more than enough video game odes to appeal to the newest generation of parents (and any thirtysomething not yet in that category). This is sly, engaging storytelling at its best.

For a more serious take on video games, don’t miss The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters , director Seth Gordon’s 2007 documentary on the quest to hold the world record high score in Donkey Kong. Gordon (Identity Thief, Horrible Bosses) lets the characters and events speak for themselves and, as the best docs often do, the film unveils a world you may not have known existed. In many ways, The King of Kong is a perfect microcosm of American culture. The fact it’s also funny and truly fascinating makes it nearly impossible to resist.