Thursday, February 11, 2010

So far this blog has reviewed the work of two established movie reviewers. To try something a bit different, we will for the moment turn our attention to a lesser-known individual, Netflix member kevdmac, and his review of the documentary The King of Kong that I found posted on the Netflix website. A user of the site since 2002, kevdmac, or Kev, as well will refer to him, has rated dozens of movies. Is he the next Roger Ebert or just some clod sitting at home writing bad reviews?

MOVIE IN QUESTION: The King of Kong, 2007

AUTHOR OF REVIEW BEING REVIEWED: kevdmac, Netflix member review page

Some background for those who haven’t seen this film: It is a documentary following unemployed family man Steve Wiebe in his attempt to break the world points record in Donkey Kong, currently held by arcade gaming legend Billy Mitchell. OK.

The first sentence of Kev’s brief 151-word review reads as follows: “This started out as a silly a bit fun while examining the lives of these folks embarked on setting donkey kong high scores.” Now, while I realize that Netflix member reviews need to be evaluated on a different level than those of highly-renowned critics, I think that the ability to write a somewhat comprehensible opening sentence is a must for any review, regardless of its source.

Kev goes on to discuss how he became depressed at seeing how seriously the people in the film were taking a simple arcade game. This is something that I can identify with, having become very depressed myself after reading this review. Are our school systems really that bad?

As an example of the overly-serious nature of the players, Kev sites the following: “When a player's very young child asks him to wipe his butt in the middle of trying to set a high score I was laughing along until I realized that this guy ended up ignoring his child with a dirty butt just to play a video game that could have been easily restarted.”

This is without question the highlight of the review. Kev has, perhaps unintentionally, opened the door for us to think about our own priorities in life, and provided some sound advice: Wipe your child’s butt first, play video games later.

Unfortunately, the review only goes downhill from there, falling completely off the cliff by the time he describes his decision to turn off the movie: “It was very sad and I gave up watching this after that and a few minutes of back and forth allegations of tampering.”

It’s really difficult to comment on this, mainly because I don’t have any idea what Kev is trying to say here. In all likelihood alcohol, horse tranquilizers, or some other distraction played a serious role in the making of this review.

In addition to its poor grammar and nonsensical statements, this review would argue that the documentary is unwatchable: “Neither the people involved nor the premise behind this documentary were interesting enough to make this worth watching.”

I strongly disagree with this contention, having myself become increasingly captivated by Steve Wiebe’s quest as he goes for the record. As far as “uninteresting” people are concerned, gaming icon Billy Mitchell proves to be so conniving, manipulative, and cowardly that by the end of the movie you’ll want to jump through the screen and punch him in the face, along with his limp-dicked protege Brian Kuh.

So there it is. I would suggest the kevdmac not attempt to make a career out of writing movie reviews until he cleans up his act.


It might be best to stick with the professionals for a while.

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