It’s a testament to the spectacular awesomeness of the documentary, “King Of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters,” that almost two years people are still talking about the Seth Gordon-directed film. If you haven’t seen it you must. In you haven’t, in short, it’s a documentary about two adult men vying for the prestigious title of the best Donkey Kong Arcade player in the United States. Does it sound retarded? Are they kind of big losers? Yes and Yes, but trust us when we say this documentary is something you’ll never forget and you can’t write characters this good. The “villain” of the documentary is Billy Mitchell an oily, and conniving Donkey Kong champion who, with the help of sniveling sycophants, does his best to undermine his newest competition, an OCD-family guy math teacher named Steve Weibe (we wrote about the music of ‘King of Kong’ earlier this year, and did mention it in our Best of 2007 Films piece)
Ever since the documentary was released in February of 2007 at Sundance, the film has been seen as controversial by the nerds and the video game community has decried it, claiming Gordon manipulated the film to make Mitchell seem like a moustache-twirling nemesis. And Gordon has admitted to editing the film to serve its narrative purposes and dramatic arcs (there’s websites devoted to debunking the “facts” of the film and in fact there’s an entire documentary being made to do the very same), but in a recent interview with Spoutblog (he’s been promoting “Four Christmases”), the director says he cut out footage of Mitchell that would have made him seem like an even bigger jackass (btw, there’s a great FAQ page on the ‘King of Kong’ page if you want to explore more).
Gordon responds: “It is such a complicated conversation. The way we painted Billy and his actions is so much gentler that we could have, that it makes it hard for me to stomach the tiny little details that they are choosing to fight about, because his true actions were so ugly that we couldn’t use the complete truth, meaning we didn’t show him as dark as he really is.”
As for the guys making the documentary to refute the documentary? “I invite it like, ‘Do the best you can dude. Do whatever you want.’ But if we went to court and we brought all the evidence, I am sure they would regret that choice,” Gordon says.
This probably won’t mean that much to you if you haven’t seen the doc, but if you have you know that this story is ongoing and the feud/battle/controversy, whatever you want to call it will certainly outlive the ‘King of Kong.’ It almost calls for another documentary, but this response one sounds way too partisan and Mitchell has enough fawning parasites around him for it to be considered trustworthy. The film has taken on a life of its own and there’s a good reason why it’s become a cult classic.