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A classic video-arcade game becomes the means of an epic struggle in this funny, surprisingly poignant video documentary (2007). Steve Wiebe, an unassuming Seattle schoolteacher with a hard-luck history, set out to beat the world record in Donkey Kong claimed by "gamer of the century" Billy Mitchell. However, Mitchell also helped found the governing body that ratifies people's scores, and when Wiebe travels to Florida for a showdown with the smug record holder, he finds the cards (or the video screens, perhaps) stacked against him. The tone is highly reminiscent of the spelling-bee documentary Spellbound (2002), another story of fierce competition in a field of no actual importance; director Seth Gordon gets close enough to his subjects to feel their piercing need for recognition but keeps enough distance to register the situation's absurdity. PG-13, 84 min.


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