Jay has been bugging me lately to watch his new favorite documentary. But almost weekly Jay says, “You need to watch my new favorite documentary,” so I’m always a little hesitant to commit myself to his newest favorite documentary, knowing that next week it will be a newer favorite documentary.
But this last one was different. He mentioned it almost every day for weeks. And when that didn’t work and I still didn’t rent it, he rented it for me and forced it into my hands. The documentary is The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It’s about a guy who tries to beat the record score in Donkey Kong.
I know…I thought the same thing. Please, Jay, find better things to do with your life.
But, oh-my-god, if it wasn’t one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. Amazing! The reason it was so amazing wasn’t the impressive editing, which is what I think makes Michael Moore’s movies so great, but because the characters (or real people, actually) were so fascinating. They were weird, quirky, offbeat, and way over-the-top. They made the characters from Napoleon Dynamite look like characters in a wax museum! The guy who held the Donkey Kong record for years was almost too hard to believe. How could someone be that conceited? That rude? That jerky? And have a hair cut that bad!?!?
I think if the movie had been a work of fiction, no one would have felt it was authentic. The characters would’ve come off as one-dimensional and pat. Which is something to keep in mind as a writer…that even though real-life people are sometimes quirky and over-the-top, their fictional counterparts have to have much more depth to be believable.
But since it was "real", the characters were completely fascinating. So much so, that my husband watched it twice. Which means Jay’s newest favorite documentary was that good.
So everyone, please go rush out and rent The King of Kong. But do it quick, because next week, Jay may have another new favorite documentary. My guess? It’ll be about the man with the world’s longest fingernails. Or maybe those guys who gulp hot dogs?