Category Archives: 30 Day Movie Challenge

Day 30 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

Your Favorite Movie of All Time – 30 Day Movie Challenge

Whether intentional or not, The Shawshank Redemption is a film about hope, and the redemption that can occur even in the most dark and degrading corners of our world. This engrossing film stands as one of the most entertaining, thought-provoking dramas of this century. It takes us to a disturbing setting, uses raw language, doesn’t present us with ideal role models, and there are numerous brutal, occasionally fatal, beatings. But we are not cast into this dark place to incite our own lust or rage. The film clearly shows us that these things are harmful or wrong. Because to tell a story of redemption; you have to sink to the depths before you can rise to the pinnacle. When the darkness is hellish, the light shines ever more brightly. Simply put, this film couldn’t have been made without these elements.

Our hero, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), is wrongly accused of killing his wife and receives two life sentences. Steadily and quietly in prison, he wards off the bitterness against that injustice and the further hardships he suffers by doing good for others, even those that despise him. When the film’s narrator Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) first sees Andy arrive, he wagers that the tall-but-quiet ex-banker is a guy who won’t last long. Red loses the bet, but as he gets to know Andy, he begins to respect him and the two become friends and help each other survive the long and dark days of incarceration.

The prison warden (Bob Gunton) is a hypocritical “Christian” who uses the Lord, the Bible, and the people for his own scheming, murdering purposes. We are meant early on to see through this painted on veneer as shown by his “welcoming” the prisoners to Shawshank, “I believe in two things: discipline and the Bible. Here you’ll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord; your ass belongs to me.” This is not the cheap-shot characterization that many believers have come to expect from Hollywood. If you are turned off by the warden, it is because you are meant to be. Just remember who it was that had our sinless savior crucified; it was the conservative religious coalition of the day carrying out a sinister plot in order to maintain its own political power.

In fact, there are many similarities between the heroes of The Shawshank Redemption and the Gospel. The central characters are both wrongly accused. One receives two life sentences and the other is crucified. Neither are respected by their contemporaries, Andy is s a banker and Jesus is a Nazarene? While Andy is certainly flawed, the good work he does while in prison actually serves a ruthless political end that ends up holding him captive. Jesus was ridiculed and executed by the same people He came to free.

The characters are believable, the actors sink into their respective roles perfectly, and light up a brilliantly executed script. But it is the cinematography (crafted by the Coen Brothers’ go to guy, Roger Deakins) that provides the all important look of the film. Thick walls, imposing fences, and confined spaces remind us of the oppression. The guards relentless marching and the heavy bars slamming open and slamming shut reinforce it. Dull, chipped walls in every room surround the dulled, chipped lives of utterly hopeless men. But director Frank Darabont isn’t content to linger in the darkness. Hope is scattered throughout, from an Italian opera broadcast over loudspeakers to a senate appropriation for library books. From a cold beer after a days work to the thought of a “place of no memory.” From High school equivalency exams to a harmonica. From Alexander Dumas to Rita Hayworth.

*—–SPOILER ALERT—–*

Hope triumphs gloriously in the end. It only takes 19 years. But when Andy escapes the hard way, he makes it possible for his friend to go an easier way. Andy escapes the bonds of prison like Jesus escaped the bonds of death. Andy disappeared with an invitation for Red to join him much like Jesus told us that he was going to prepare a place for us. There are so many pictures of Christian hope in this movie that they couldn’t help but put the central message of the gospel in the title.

What is your favorite movie of all time? What do you think of Shawshank? Am I going overboard with the Christian allegory? Leave me a comment below. Also, with the 30 Day Challenge coming to an end, I am here at work for an overnight twelve hour shift. That gave me plenty of time to stamp out my last challenge and hopefully to fill in some of the gaps that were left when life or technology got in the way. I’ll let you know on Twitter or Facebook if I update any of my older posts. Follow me there to keep up with me as I continue my journey through the ever-changing IMDB Top 250.

Day 29 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

A Movie From Your Childhood – 30 Day Movie Challenge

I could pretend that I had great taste in film even as a toddler, but that’s no fun. I do remember watching movies like Jurassic Park as a kid, but one that I come back to over and over again is Disney’s Robin Hood. For some reason, this treat tends to get the cold shoulder from animation purists whenever it comes up in conversation. For the life of me, I just don’t understand the hostility to this cozy, endearing adventure/comedy.

Released while the studio was still recovering from Walt’s death, this was one of the first Disney productions that didn’t benefit from his personal touch. The studio was still jittery when it came to artistic direction now that their greatest supporter was gone. It’s unusual to Disney films because it stays very tight on its characters. This leaves the plot winding a bit aimlessly at times, so there’s not a big payoff in the end, but the care with which the characters are handled grows on the viewer as the film strolls along.

Looking back, as an adult and a film snob, I can see that the picture is notorious for its corner-cutting animation, it simply doesn’t have the sparkling hand-drawn detail of earlier Disney masterpieces, or the glitzy sheen of the latter ones. It’s certainly one of the more crudely-drawn productions of the company. But even when you stack up the complaints lobbed at this incarnation of the Robin Hood tale, they really don’t matter, because in the end we get a richly entertaining good time, and I’m glad to say that this film is just as captivating to my children as it was to me.

What movies do you remember fondly from your childhood? What do you think about Robin Hood? Let me know in a comment below or on Twitter or Facebook.

Day 28 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

Favorite Movie From Your Favorite Director – 30 Day Movie Challenge

While my first instinct when going for my favorite director is to answer with Hitchcock, I don’t want to tread familiar territory. I already discussed my love for North By Northwest which is my favorite Hitchcock Film, although Rear Window could easily slide in there, but alas, I already discussed it too. So instead of pouring more deserving adoration on a director that everybody knows, I will extol the works of a lesser known director that I adore.

 

Sidney Lumet directed such an impressive string of movies that I am surprised that his name isn’t as familiar as Scorsese or Hitchcock or Spielberg. I think the reason behind this is the variety and style of his movies, There is no such thing as a Lumet type movie. He was diverse in his style, genre, and topics and yet he brought such a passion for the art and coaxed from his actors some of the best performances I’ve ever seen. This list speaks for itself: 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Fail-Safe, The Hill, and who can forget The Wiz. But his greatest film (that’s right, even better than 12 Angry Men which I love) is Network.

When I watch Network, I shake my head in wonder and think, “Lumet was not only an artistic genius but a fortune-teller!” He saw the future of television and its influence on popular culture and society. I wonder if Lumet and the rest of the players involved fully grasped how truly prophetic this movie would be. Network was intended, for all purposes, as a satire but in hindsight it was actually an oracle; a crystal ball super imposed on the big screen.

Peter Finch (who won a posthumous Oscar for Best Actor) plays Howard Beale, the nightly news anchor at UBS. A one time big shot journalist, his ratings have been in decline for some time now. Beale announces on air that he’s being forced to retire in two weeks due to low ratings and that he will commit suicide live on the air before then. Naturally, a media frenzy ensues with network heads demanding Beale be fired immediately but up and coming network executive Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway) only notices the sharp increase in ratings. The beautiful, ambitious and amoral Diana is the future of television. Everything and Everyone is reduced to ratings. Howard Beale’s breakdown as well as a bank robbery by a quasi marxist terrorist group simply serves as inspiration for her unending quest for ratings. The ideas cooking in Diana’s head are what we now know as “reality tv”.

Frank Hackett’s (Robert Duvall) character is also the future of television. He could not care less about the news division or even the quality of the network for that matter. He is a CCA (The Communication Corporation of America) man. This is the company that has purchased UBS and as far as Hackett is concerned UBS exists to serve the interests of CCA and it’s shareholders. And to that end he approves of Diana’s programming schemes once he sees the ratings skyrocket. Mind you, this film was made in 1976, years before all the cable “news” networks even existed and way before we had people willing to give up their privacy and what little dignity they have left on national television just to be recognized and become reality show “celebrities”.

The performances are all powerful and magnificent even the brief on screen time by Max Schumacher’s wife is gut wrenching. Beatrice Straight won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in what is arguably the shortest time on screen for any winner previously or since. Faye Dunaway also won for Best Lead Actress as did Paddy Chayefsky for Best Screenplay. I think it’s a testament to a real actor’s talent when they can make the audience forget the movie star who’s interpreting a role and focus on the character. As I watch Network, I don’t see the movie star Faye Dunaway. I only see Diana Christensen. The same is true for Holden, Duvall and Finch. This is what masterful acting and movie making is. The film’s best known scene is known for a line that is repeated over and over again, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

So, What do you think of Lumet’s body of work? Do you have a favorite Director? Perhaps Steven Soderbergh, Spike Jonze, or Darren Aronofsky? I’d love to hear your comments on Network or hear your pick for this challenge. Leave me a comment below or on Twitter or Facebook

Day 27 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

A Movie You Wish You’d Seen In Theaters – 30 Day Movie Challenge

Feeling as though I was born after my time, there are so many movies that I wish I could have seen in the theaters. Too bad I can’t get on the website to post tonight. I’m posting this from my iPod, but the style never gets right on here.

Off the top of my head, I think of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars. But I think I would go with Fight Club. I love David Fincher’s visual style. And the hard hitting visuals blend perfectly with the philosophy that the film leaves you pondering.

Day 26 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

A Movie You Love But Everyone Else Seems To Hate – 30 Day Movie Challenge

I’m not sure why most critics didn’t enjoy this film. I wonder if it had anything to do with the dark tone or the fact that there is a giant blue penis on display for half the film. But I love the alternate reality and the bleak landscape. Imagine an America where ordinary people have donned masks and alter-egos to take the law into their own hands. That sounds like the opening exposition of every superhero story. Now imagine that in this world, because of the threat of Communism, Richard Nixon has not been impeached. Rather, he is serving his fifth consecutive term in the White House. That could be the most implausible thing about the whole film. Caped superheroes, sure. A flame throwing owl aircraft, no problem. A glowing blue demi-god, why not. But the idea that Nixon won that many elections, that takes a suspension of reality. But in a world where America won the Vietnam war (albeit with the help of a superhuman) a lot of things could be different.

Nixon has outlawed vigilante justice telling the heroes to put away their masks and rejoin society. What use is a caped crusader when you wield the power of a god. At one point, a newscaster says, “the superman does exist, and he is American.” So all the watchmen are either in hiding, trying to live a normal life, or have resorted to criminal actions to continue their masked marauding. Dr. Manhattan is the only one with superpowers in the literal sense, and he lives outside ordinary time and space and has control over the forces of the universe. It is dark and philosophical and I just really enjoyed it.

In most superhero movies, you’d just be waiting for everyone to snap out of it, climb into the spandex, and save the day almost guaranteeing a sequel. But there’s so much dread and baggage surrounding this group of justice seekers that it isn’t clear who the hero is, if there even is one. So what do you think? Did you like Watchmen? Am I way off? Please leave me a comment in the section below or on Twitter or Facebook.

Day 25 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

The Most Hilarious Movie You’ve Ever Seen

I didn’t expect a period price about 1970s TV news anchors to be funny. I remember seeing the previews back when Austin Powers was in his heyday thinking, “This is a cheap knockoff. Somebody trying to make money by getting in on a popular idea.” I didn’t even see Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy until relatively recently. But it immediately became one of my favorite and most quoted movies. It’s impossible not to laugh at this massive skit that is a perfect blend of left-field jokes and uncomfortable sexist humor. I was certainly not a Will Ferrell from the comedies he produced before Anchorman. I was so unimpressed by the Saturday Night Live skit based films that he did, like Night at the Roxbury, that Old School, Elf, and this film all flew under my radar. It wasn’t until I saw Stranger Than Fiction that Will Ferrell really got my attention and I began to look back through his filmography. And found that he has remarkable comedic timing and a way of fluctuating between over the top and deadpan deliveries that really translates well to the screen.

But his crowning achievement is the creation of this fictional San Diego legend. You see, in the Seventies, men read the news. And the movie tells us that in San Diego, no one read it better than Ron Burgundy. In fact, he reads so well off the teleprompter that he’ll read anything (and I mean that). Burgundy rules the local news arena with the help of his crack news team. All men of course, but when the network forces the station manager (Fred Willard) to hire a female reporter, the sexy Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), the men fall into a panic. And the world that they have come to know and love will never be the same.

Anchorman is a wealth of wickedly stupid humor, the type that’s so dumb it could only ever be thought up by someone intimidatingly smart. That smart duet is Ferrell himself with his co-writer/director Adam McKay, who has teamed up with Ferrell three times since (Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys). Ron Burgundy is hopelessly juvenile, terminally inappropriate, and so completely unpredictable that he’s also ridiculously funny. I will wager that this is the only film in which you will find someone shooting flames from the end of a jazz flute. But Anchorman is always willing to take things a few steps farther than you’d expect. The result is comedy which produces unstoppable belly laughs simply from the shock of where Ferrell takes the joke next.

Possibly even more hilarious than Ferrell is his capable news crew. Steve Carrell as Brick Tamland repeatedly doubles me over with insane comments that seem to just come from out of the blue. He shouts, “LOUD NOISES!” when everyone else is in the station manager's office complaining about the addition of Corningstone to the news team. Paul Rudd’s reporter on the scene Brian Fantana is worth seeing just for his musk collection. Even Christina Applegate gets in a few good shots, because she is willing to dish out just as much as her fellow cast mates can throw at her. David Koechner is the weak point as the cowboy hat wearing sportscaster Champ Kind as he just made me uncomfortable. My biggest wish for this film would have been to see John C. Reilly in that spot.

I get the feeling that half of this script was improvised on the spot, and that isn’t a bad thing. I wonder if once they got rolling on set, they just couldn’t stop. The talent pool on this cast was so deep, I can totally believe that at some point they simply abandoned the printed page after realizing they were coming up with better stuff just giving each other the giggles. And with cameos from people like Tim Robbins, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Vince Vaughn the comedy chemistry and laugh factor is wrenched up even higher.

The movie suffers somewhat from what seems like a hastily thrown together finale, in which everything a little too neatly works out in the end. Anchorman is a movie that grows on you and only seems to get better the more I watch it and think about it. Whether he’s taking Veronica to the “gun show,” fighting bears, singing a song from the Starland Vocal Band, throwing burritos at bikers, or weeping over the loss of his beloved Baxter, Ron Burgundy is the perfect outlet for Will Ferrell’s unique brand of comedy. Anchorman 2 is a sequel that I hope they can iron out the details on and get produced, because the world needs more Ron Burgundy.

Do you like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy as much as I do? What movie makes you bust a gut? Two Vince Vaughn comedies were close seconds for me (Dodgeball and Wedding Crashers), as well as any number of modern classics from Mel Brooks. What movies do you think is insanely funny? I’d love to head abor ir,

Day 24 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

An Awesome Movie Idea That Still Hasn’t Been Done Yet

I’m a little wary of this question. It seems like the person that started this challenge may be sitting in an office in Hollywood waiting for all of us film geeks to get to day 24. Then when we post our great ideas he steals the ideas for his own and presents them to his boss. Perhaps I’m just paranoid, but I’m not sure if I want to put my great idea on the internet for everyone to see. Perhaps if I post it here with a time-stamp and a copyright at the bottom of the page that will be sufficient to prove that it was my idea before any one else. Well, I’ll live on the edge and throw caution to the wind and tell you all, but you have to promise to at least give me free screenings to your movies that will make millions after you steal my idea. It really is a simple concept and all the technology to make it happen already exists. In a sentence, I’m talking about audience interactive plot control or Choose Your Own Adventure.

You see, growing up, some of my favorite books to read were the Choose Your Own Adventure books. These were cool little books that stopped the action ever 30 or so pages and had the reader make a decision about the plot based on how they wanted a character to respond to a certain situation. Then it would stop again, and again. But each stop changed the story in a significant way and therefore there were several different endings and outcomes to that story. I think this would translate well to film. In the mid 1980s, Clue was released containing three different endings. The DVD even allows viewers to select a specific one, play all three or randomly select one, but that murder mystery could hardly be dubbed a choose your own adventure. There would have to be a much larger plan here. The flowchart below shows the breakdown of one of the books from 1979. I also wouldn’t expect something this complex. Click on the outline to explore it with more detail.

There are already a few campy low budget YouTube versions of this idea and Choose Your Own Adventure even did an animated direct to DVD version of one of the books with 11 different endings. But I am talking about a full scale Hollywood production with live action that you control. The same way that theaters have 3D glasses now they could have choose your own adventure remotes. At certain points the movie would pause and present the choice to the audience and they would have a few seconds to make their selection on their remotes. Then results would be tallied live on screen and once time was up, the film would continue heading down the course that the audience had chosen. This would make the viewing experience interactive and the film could be different every time you went to the theater. Then with the invention of Blu-Ray technology there is plenty of room on a disc to include all the possible choices and endings so the entire story could be explored in your home.

I am thinking of a simple tree effect on the decision flowchart. With an opening and character establishment in the first 30 minutes. Then have then have a series of three choices spaced by roughly 30 minutes of uninterrupted film. That would leave us with 8 possible endings based upon the decisions made previously. I am currently writing an outline of a possible screenplay using this model.

So do you have any great ideas that you’ve been waiting to see? It doesn’t have to be a new technology, it could be a story that you have been waiting to be adapted or a sequel that is just hanging out there waiting to rake in the money. What do you think of my idea? Would you go to a choose your own adventure movie? Please don’t steal my idea, or at the very least, leave me a comment if you do. You can comment in the area below or on Twitter or Facebook.

Day 23 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

Favorite Animated Film

Being a dad, it seems like I watch more animated movies than any other type. And since I am a film snob, I can’t stand to endlessly re-watch sub-par movies the way that I see so many parents do. Just because Cars is my kids’ favorite Pixar movie, that doesn’t mean that I am going to put it on every time they ask to watch a movie. Although they would be happy with that, I would go insane. And even if it was a good movie, it would lose some of its magic after seeing it twice a week for 3 years. I am constantly looking for good animated films to share with my family. That passion, along with my general love for film, led me to the breathtaking and impressive canon of Japanese hand-drawn animation director Hayao Miyazaki.

Now 70 years old, he is often referred to as the Japanese Walt Disney. He has directed ten feature length animated films as well as several shorts and Japanese television shows and personally hand drawn tens of thousands of frames. I know that most Americans don’t think to highly of “Japanimation,” as it has been called. I can’t say that I blame them. Run of the mill “Japanimation” is irritating, overly violent, raunchy, indulgent, and devoid of good storytelling. But that description could be used to describe most modern American fare.

But Miyazaki is a glowing exception. His animation has an attention to detail that rivals the exacting standards of a company like Pixar. His intense yet delicate shading of colors would make his works of art more at home in a fine art gallery than in the Sunday comics. Miyazaki also has a great sense of humor, a gift for poetic storytelling, and a taste for adventure. His beautiful children’s movie, My Neighbor Totoro, is a charming and deeply affecting look at how a child’s imagination helps her endure a time of private fear and sadness. His most recent work, Ponyo, is a beautiful story of the transforming power of love. Princess Mononoke, is a powerful, sprawling epic about the need for humankind to respect and live in harmony with the environment. And that is a message that people of all faiths should proclaim.

I almost chose Princess Mononoke, but decided to go with what is widely considered to be Miyazaki’s masterpiece. Spirited Away combines the weighty mythologizing of Mononoke with the playful spirit of My Neighbor Totoro, but then goes in new directions as well. It is funny to me that Walt Disney Studios has helped bring Miyazaki’s features to American cinemas, because Miyazaki’s work tends to reveal that most Disney films are simplistic and predictable.

Spirited Away is a coming of age story of a little girl named Chihiro, who gets lost in a wonderland of spirits and witches, and her quest to find a way to break the curse that has transformed her parents so they can return home. Her only friend in this world is a mysterious boy named Haku who helps her to survive. Eventually we come to hope that Chihiro, her parents, and Haku will all eventually break away from the harsh tyranny of the powerful and dictatorial witch Yubaba.

The secret to their freedom lies in discovering their true identities. Yubaba gains her power and control over her subjects by stealing their identities, much like Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Yubaba can hold her own with the most memorable wicked witches of all time. She’s wider than she is tall, her head makes up half her body, she has snake-like shoots of white hair bound up in a bun, and her massive nose bulges out before her like a weapon. She snarls and cackles her way through the film. One of the things I love about Miyazaki is that he never sets up a simplistic face-off between good and evil. He knows we all have good and evil within us, and thus his “villains” have moments of kindness, and his heroes do things they regret.

If the film sounds complicated, it’s because it is. This film runs just over two hours, but with its fast pace and a plethora of subplots Spirited Away feels like Miyazaki decided to challenge George Lucas at his own game of exotic adventure and whimsy. There are enough bizarre creatures here to make the cantina in Star Wars look boring. The depth and fertility of Miyazaki’s imagination leaves me stunned at every turn.

Some will say that this film is too complex for children, and too scary. For small children, possibly. They could get lost in the intricate plot, and the monsters might scare them. I personally showed it to my kids starting at age 5 and up. But I think kids should be challenged to think through what they’re watching, and this is a story that provides great opportunities for discussion with grownups. Spirited Away is at times frightening, but it emphasizes the importance of an individual’s virtue, and affirms that the smallest of characters can make a big difference. It offers powerful displays of sacrificial love. And it, as I mentioned before, portrays “villains” who are redeemable and can be transformed by compassion and kindness.

Many Christians will probably berate me for my love of this film calling it occultic. But Miyazaki comes from a culture that is steeped in Shinto mythology and beliefs about the spirits of nature and of the dead. So of course, his story reflects such traditions and beliefs. But he is not “preaching” these ideas any more than Jiminy Cricket is preaching astrology when he croons about wishing upon a star. He is treating them as myth, as fantasy, and using them to illustrate lessons and morals that open-minded Christians will find quite similar to their own. The film makes no mention of “God” or any benevolent force which rules the world, but it does affirm the importance of personal virtues like: selflessness, sacrificial love, humility, friendship, compassion, and courage. People of any faith can read these characters as symbolic, and the story reflects powerful truths.

One spirit in particular, No Face, appears at first to be gentle and friendly. But he becomes more and more mysterious, shifting between gentleness and violent destructive behavior. Eventually, we come to understand that he is a lonely spirit who seeks approval. When he is around greed and evil, he responds with greed and evil. But when he is offered friendship and unconditional love, he seems to try a better path. Chihiro has patience with him and her kindness reminds me of how Christ patiently endures with me in my own tendency to become self-absorbed. He waits patiently, always offering love, forgiveness, and direction to a better way. No Face is amazed at Chihiro’s virtue. And I came to hope that he would abandon his violence and follow Chihiro to a better life. This is just one of many such parables within a vast tapestry of interconnected stories.

All in all, this is an absolute must-see. And the bigger the screen the better. The colors are incredible, from shots of a magical train that skims across the sea, to fantastical gardens and intricately painted murals. Well, I’ve said my piece. What is your favorite Animated movie? Do you love Miyazaki’s work as much as I do, or do you have another opinion. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.

Day 22 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

Your Favorite Documentary

It’s the mark of a great documentary that it can make you care about something you had no interest in otherwise. That is the reason I loved this documentary, because the fight between Billy Mitchell the jerk and underdog Steve Wiebe is something utterly captivating, and a story that’s continued even though the movie came out in 2007. That’s right, the two are still competing, and the saga continues. Sure, it might not seem like a big deal to us, but to these guys, it’s everything.

The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters begins by tracing the history of competitive video gaming, which the film argues began in 1982 when Mitchell racked up the world record score on Donkey Kong (over 800,000 points). Mitchell’s record stood, undisturbed, until 2005. That’s when Steve Wiebe, who had recently been laid off, decided to accept the challenge to compete with Mitchell’s high score. The most amazing part of the film is the fact that Wiebe’s wife and kids let him engage in what is a very trivial competition.

You couldn’t find two more diametrically opposed rivals if he tried. Mitchell, currently a restauranteur who still wears his hair and dresses like it’s the 1980s, is a major jerk of a human being. The fact that he has such a huge ego about being the biggest fish in the puddle of competitive classic videogaming is laughable. But he is one of the best villains I have seen on the screen in a long time. Wiebe, on the other hand, is a guy you can’t help but pull for. We cheer when he bests Mitchell’s score by over 200,000. Then we feel his setbacks when the score is invalidated.

It is a real improbable success. It’s a documentary, about Donkey Kong of all things, that is as compelling and involving as any summer blockbuster. I can’t recommend it highly enough. A documentary that moves you is rare enough, but one that makes you stand up and cheer is truly unique. It is one of the best documentaries movies I’ve ever seen. Don’t take my word for it, check it out.

There were several others in the running especially Man On Wire and The Thin Blue Line, but as far as entertainment value, I couldn’t ask for a better film. What about you? Do you have a favorite documentary? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.